Morgan’s ‘humanizing’ breakdown during The Walking Dead’s ‘Bury Me Here’
If you’ve not yet watched ‘Bury Me Here’ – there are spoilers ahead.
Since The Walking Dead‘s beginning, fans have been on a journey alongside characters as they navigate through a world ruled by the undead. Zombies, without knowing so, hold all the cards in their bloodied and decaying hands. They dictate the way that ‘survivors’ do absolutely everything. As the season’s progress, we’ve watched our favorite characters as they’re forced to cede to not just zombies, but other survivors as well. There are leaders and groups, masochists and kings and yet, Rick and his group manage to keep thriving in a world that stacks all odds against them.
While irreplaceable lives have been lost along the way, the pain of their stories only goes so far. Those still living, however, have had their limits tested, surpassed, and all but destructed as they’ve faced outer and inner demons. One of the most complex characters on the show just experienced a breakdown, and in turn, a breakthrough, as his story brought visions of his past colliding violently with his future.
Morgan has possessed a depth, within himself, that was still largely unexplored until this episode.
While he told the heartbreaking story of his family, the inability to put his wife down after she became ‘a walker’, and his son’s death; you only see the full effect it had on him in flashes. His reappearance in season 3 showed Morgan at his lowest point. He’d lost his sanity, made it his mission to clear walkers, and convinced himself that he knew no one, thus giving him no personal attachments. He comes across a man named Eastman who convinces him that killing isn’t the answer and this new philosophy helps Morgan rebuild himself.
Morgan holds true to his world, with two exceptions. One – when he kills a man attempting to kill Carol, and two – when he killed Richard on the most recent episode after finding out that he was responsible for the death of Benjamin.
While Morgan made bonds with the group, things were different when it came to his relationship with Benjamin. It was a situation that allowed Morgan to mentor Benjamin as he looked at him a little bit like he’d expected to have looked at his own son as he grew. He mentored the young man and their bond filled a space in him that had been left empty after he lost Duane.
Upon Benjamin’s death, and knowing Richard was responsible for it, Morgan has a breakdown, one that’s been building for a long time. In flashes, we see parts of his life that have cut him the deepest. We see the way he’s been walking a fine line between alright and completely broken from the beginning, and we’re also left with a pain in our own hearts as we discover how much more of Morgan exists beneath the surface.
We see his son, his wife, Carol, Benjamin, parts of his journey, and even King Ezekiel. These are important memories because they’ll undeniably be at the root of what Morgan does next, and what he plans to do next, is to kill the saviors one by one.
Morgan is on a road that might have always been quietly calling his name, one he tried to avoid with everything that he had, but sometimes no amount of good will can save us from the paths we’re meant to travel. Sometimes, the bad has to get really bad before we can make sense of what’s happened to us. Morgan is living that now, and as he sat on Carol’s porch and sharpened his stick at the end of the episode, we saw the calm before the storm.
Morgan’s breakdown was necessary for his breakthrough, and as Richard died at his hands, the stage was set. It’s all a matter of time now.
On Talking Dead, Lennie called in and as he spoke of the preparation for this episode, how emotional it was and how it changed the future for Morgan. He went on to say that he agrees with what Morgan is trying to do, how he’s trying to live, how he’s trying to conversate with everybody.
“If Morgan goes to war, one of the things he’s fighting for is the right to say I will not kill unless I have to.”
In terms of what the loss of Benjamin really meant to Morgan, Lennie had this to say.
“He allowed himself for the first time really to take on board the responsibility for a younger life, somebody that reminded him of his son.”
The last episodes of season 7 will inevitably be full of emotion, fire, and fight as personal vendettas are carried out and the body count rises as lives are lost at the hands – or because of the actions – of The Saviors. Here’s hoping we all make it out unscathed.