(The following recap is written by Funkhouser features writer Brad Morris.)
Sometimes The Walking Dead can be brutal. Seasons can drag on with episode after episode of talking and filler that brings us to the brink of boredom. Someone being introduced to the show can never catch on because of the many plot lines that are being threaded throughout a particular season. One must go back to the very beginning and catch all the way up before understanding the full impact of a persons actions. If the casual viewer tuned in last night they saw an episode that was tense, but may have dismissed it as just another show. Fortunately for us that have watched from the very beginning, last night was filled with not just good storytelling, but emotions that have lingered since the series beginning. So let’s explore the characters that made this episode better than it should have been at this point in the season.
I could fill a small book with just the dealings of Morgan. We must give credit to the show’s writers, especially Scott M Gimple, for the direction of Morgan’s journey on the show. While his comic book counter part had the same roots, Morgan has been transformed by the writers and Lennie James acting abilities. The emotions Lennie portrayed were on full display in “Bury Me Here”.
Morgan was lost in his mind after the death of his son Duane. First he protected his town, as seen in “Clear”, and then he wandered into the wilderness. When he was captured by the Cheesemaker, Morgan was healed in body, soul, and mind. Upon finding Rick in Alexandria, Morgan had stuck to his new code of no killing. His philosophy of “if you injure your opponent, you injure yourself” was always placed on a slippery slope. He’s only killed 2 people since he started this practice, one out of necessity to save Carol. The other was last night out of pure rage.
When Morgan realizes that Richard is to blame for Benjamin’s death, his old demons of blaming himself for Duane’s death resurface. The rage within him is seen with a great sequence of flashbacks to “Clear”, his son, and Benjamin. I fully expected him to completely lose his mind again. However, upon killing Richard with his bare hands, Morgan is able to provide a smoke screen to the Saviors that all is well with their agreement, which gives the Kingdom safety for a bit longer. Morgan has entered a new crisis of character, and Carol gives him the same guidance that she needed. So he has taken her place at the house near the Kingdom, so that Morgan can “Go, or not go”. And at the end of the episode, Morgan has decided to stay at the house to sort through his issues. But the whole ordeal has definitely changed the mind of…
King Ezekiel says more with his face this episode than anything he’s done on the show so far. He wants to keep his people safe, plain and simple. The deal he has with the Saviors is unique because it never comes to his gates. All dealings and offerings are in a location away from the Kingdom.
Seeing Benjamin killed hurts Ezekiel to his core. He watched Ben’s father die, he’s seen Ben die, and now he must care for his younger brother. And while Richard may have been complicit in Ben’s death, it was a Savior that pulled the trigger. Having spoken with Rick, talking to Daryl, and becoming close with Carol, it appears Ezekiel has seen that the need to raise arms with his brethren to defend his people and make the world a better place has finally come to pass. The look he gives Carol at the end shows he is resigned to the fact that they must fight the Saviors.
Welcome to Richard’s last appearance on these recaps. The pain of losing his family and not doing anything to prevent it, placed him on the path to protect the Kingdom. His plan to make the Saviors fight was very well planned, as he fully expected to die at the exchange. But the best laid plans always seem to go off script. I guess you could say his plan worked in the end, as he died and Ezekiel has decided to fight. But the cost was too high with the death of Benjamin.
Carol is one smart cookie. Even smarter than the ones she bakes. The restless dreams she has make her realize that something terrible has happened between Negan and Rick. When Morgan tells her of Abraham and Glenn’s death, and that everything Alexandria does now is for Negan , she snaps back into “Attack Carol”. The sly way she takes out several walkers with a road sign was fantastic, and it’ll be interesting to see how she can help Ezekiel in preparing for the war to come. I’ve missed Carol being a bad ass character and I’m happy to see the fire within her burn bright again.
We could also talk about poor Benjamin, but he was always a character set up on the chess board to be knocked down at the correct time. However it is the first instance in quite awhile that I was looking forward to more from him, so the show has returned a little bit back too the saying of “no one is safe”. I’m glad for that return.
Let’s be clear about one thing. The lead up to the war with Negan was going to have pitfalls along the way. I was cringing that they would be difficult to watch. Last nights episode was very well done and I hope it continues for the rest of the season. Until next week’s show, Go Cats and ta ta.