This is how I imagine the conversation went in The Walking Dead‘s boardroom a few weeks ago:
Guy 1: Okay, so what we’ll do is have this huge, shocking ending that will make the audience guess as to whether Glenn is alive or dead.
Guy 2: Good idea. And then we reveal what happened in the next episode, right?
Guy 1: Screw that! We’re going to show a 90-minute episode about how Morgan became a neutered wimp!
Guy 2: Genius!
I don’t care how much flack I get for this review. Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead was boring as a professional golf tournament. It wasn’t the worst episode of the series, but there was absolutely no need for it to be dragged out to an hour-and-a-half, especially when it focused on only two characters (two-and-a-half if you count Tabitha the Goat). I actually fell asleep mid-episode! I just caught the second half about an hour ago, and I’m happy that I didn’t miss anything big. “Here’s Not Here” was a waste of time with very little appeal. (spoilers ahead!)
This entire episode was essentially a prequel to Season 5, right before we saw Morgan arriving at the Terminus sign. Fans have been curious about what Morgan has been up to since we last saw him in “Clear”. We’ve also been wondering about where he learned those sick Donatello-esque moves with his walking stick. One of the few good things about this episode was that we got some sort of explanation, but with that came another explanation that we could’ve done without: why is Morgan so anti-killing?
After his second encounter with Rick a few seasons ago, Morgan began wandering out in the woods, doing whatever he could to stay alive. He kills a man and his son after he finds out they’ve been following him, but he seems to be regretful of his actions, possibly because he was reminded of his own son who was killed a few seasons ago and essentially triggered Morgan’s descent into madness.
Morgan stumbles across a cabin with a goat tethered to a post in the yard. He’s about to take the goat when the cabin’s resident knocks him out. Morgan wakes up in a cage and finds himself as the prisoner of a man named Eastman. Eastman is a kind, quiet hermit who believes that “all life is precious”. He’s also a vegetarian with a knack for Aikido. I don’t know why, but he strongly reminded me of Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid. There’s actually a scene where he’s teaching Morgan some moves and it’s almost exactly like the training scenes from the movie. Maybe if the episode had played “You’re the Best” in the background, I would’ve enjoyed it more.
Anyway, Morgan and Eastman begin to warm up to each other and become fast friends. With this blossoming friendship, they exchange more information about their past lives before the apocalypse. It’s revealed that Eastman was a psychologist who was tasked with profiling a psychopath named Crighton Dallas Wilton, who went on to kill Eastman’s entire family in cold blood. Eastman explains how he built the cage in his cabin because he intended to starve Wilton to death as revenge. After hearing this little story, I actually thought that Eastman was really Wilton, and that he assumed the real psychologist’s identity after the apocalypse. But this theory is shot down once we learn later on in the episode that Eastman DID go through with the plan to starve Wilton to death, and that he buried the criminal outside his cabin.
Around this time is when I fell asleep. The last thing I saw was Eastman getting bit by a walker because Morgan had to be a hesitant idiot. When I checked back on the episode this morning, I saw that Eastman eventually died and Morgan continued on his journey, now with a newfound respect for all living things. We find out that he’s been narrating the entire episode to a captured Wolf in Alexandria. The Wolf explains how he HAS to kill Morgan if he ever escapes because it’s part of his “code”. So Morgan shuts him up by executing him, right? Nope. He lets him live. I’m really, really, really tired of this. I hope that Morgan’s anti-killing ways get him murdered. There is absolutely no room for this in the new world of walkers. At the very least, Rick better exile him from Alexandria. He’s going to get the entire town killed.
Although John Carroll Lynch did a great job as Eastman, I was annoyed by the character. Who is he to preach a no-killing rule when he starved a man to death for killing his family? Also, what was his stance on walkers? He considers all life as precious, but do walkers not count?
Oh, and he took away Morgan’s spear and gave him a less lethal walking stick with a blunt end. Yeah, he wants to prevent Morgan from killing, but what about when he has to fend off walkers? What’s going to work better, a dulled walking stick or a spear? I can’t tell if I was angrier at Morgan or at Eastman for teaching him to be this way.
“Here’s Not Here” should’ve been only an hour long, and it should’ve been placed earlier in the season, maybe BEFORE last week’s episode. The Walking Dead likes to include these occasional background episodes to help develop characters, but they do it rather poorly. By next episode, we better find out what happened to Glenn, and it better not be at the tail-end of another tedious, 90-minute background special.
Final Grade: C –
+ We got to see where Morgan learned those sick moves.
+ John Carroll Lynch gave a pretty good performance.
– This didn’t have to be 90 minutes.
– Boring as hell.
– Eastman could’ve been a bit clearer about his “all life is precious” mantra. He’s still killing walkers, isn’t he? Does he not consider them as living beings?
– Steven Yeun‘s name is missing from the opening credits; is The Walking Dead trolling us or is he really gone for good?
What did you think about “Here’s Not Here”? Were you as bored as I was? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!