The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 4 Recap
Tonight’s episode was a beautiful show of humanity, something not often seen on The Walking Dead. Morgan’s struggle from the brink of self destruction is beautifully honest and emotional. This is one of those stand-out, For Your Consideration episodes.
NOW. Morgan is speaking to an unseen person. “You said you want everything I have. Here it is.”
We flashback to season three, when Morgan is still living in the house with the crazy scrawling on the wall. He is talking to himself, but an oil lamp starts a fire and Morgan moves on. He sets out into the forest, killing zombies, then lighting piles of their corpses on fire. He builds a perimeter of sharpened stakes for protection, but day in, day out, he kills zombies and burns the carcasses. His crazy writings continue, using zombie blood to write “Clear” and “Pointless Acts” on rocks and trees. One day, as Morgan creeps through the forest, he takes shelter behind a tree. Two men are running after him. Morgan kills one with a spear through the throat; the other he strangles with his bare hands.
Morgan eventually finds himself in a clearing with lovely purple flowers. He hears a goat, holds his rifle at the ready, and moves toward a sturdy, undisturbed cabin. It is equipped with solar panels, a garden, and a goat on a leash. A voice calls out and kindly asks him to leave the goat alone. Morgan shoots blindly, and the voice invites him in to talk and eat. The voice makes the requests again. Morgan doesn’t answer, not even when being warned it was his “last chance.” He is knocked out from behind.
When Morgan wakes, he is in the cabin, locked in prison cell. There is a sleeping bag and pillow, and a plate with fresh falafels, tomatoes, and orange juice. His captor asks his name; Morgan responds with “kill me.” The man jokes about it, and Morgan becomes agitated, begging, screaming, demanding that he kill him. The man introduces himself as Eastman, tosses Morgan a book, The Art of Peace, then calmly goes outside to kill a zombie creeping towards the goat, Tabitha.
Over the next few days, Morgan refuses to open up. Eastman makes small talk, but goes about his usual routine: gardening, killing zombies, practicing aikido, trying to make goat cheese. Morgan is fed regularly but still declines to make any attempt at a relationship. Eastman finally opens up and says that he was a forensic psychiatrist for the state. He asks Morgan what he did – or does. “I clear,” he answers simply. When pressed, Morgan explains that he clears walkers, people, “anyone or anything that gets near me. That’s why I’m still here.”
Morgan uses a broken zipper pull to separate the window from the frame, with the intention of slipping away. He is just about to leave when he sees Eastman coming and he puts the window back in place. Eastman diagnoses him with PTSD, and Morgan finally admits the two men he killed. He killed a lot of people, and not all were threats to him. He also saved people, but “they were pointless,” because everybody turns. Eastman inquires about his family and recognizes that in Morgan’s mind, he is still “there” with them. He makes some kind of contrived door metaphor, and Morgan swears he will kill Eastman. Eastman isn’t concerned. “We are not built for killing.” He interviewed over 825 criminals for the state, and only found one to be truly evil. “Most are just damaged, but they can heal. We all can.” Eastman admits that the cell door is unlocked; always has been. He gives Morgan a choice: go or stay. He will not allow Morgan to kill him.
Morgan cautiously pulls on the door; it swings open with ease. Morgan rushes Eastman, and the men begin to wrestle. In the fracas, a piece of drywall with a child’s drawing on it falls off the wall and breaks in half. Eastman gains the upper hand and puts a spear to Morgan’s throat. He once again begs to be killed. Eastman won’t; he already gave Morgan two choices. Morgan chooses to stay – but he goes back into the cell and shuts the door. Eastman opens it then leaves him alone, but Morgan isn’t ready. He kicks it shut.
That night, Eastman explains how he kicked Morgan’s ass: aikido. He promises it can help Morgan, too. Eastman goes to bed, and after the lights are out, Morgan leaves his cell, presumably to sleep on the couch.
Eastman goes out on a supply run in the morning, leaving Morgan in charge of the house and protecting Tabitha. He finally picks up The Art of Peace and reads that aikido means not to kill – even the most evil person. Hearing noises outside, Morgan rescues Tabitha from a pair of zombies. One he Million Dollar Babys; the other he bludgeons. Morgan takes Tabitha inside, then returns to take the zombies away to burn their bodies. As he drags them away, he sees a curious sight: a makeshift cemetery, complete with crude grave markers. Realizing that Eastman has been burying the undead, he continues the tradition and starts digging a couple graves. Eastman returns and is proud to find Morgan up and about. He thanks him – this is progress. Before Morgan dumps the bodies in the graves, Eastman checks their pockets for wallets. He finds them, with IDs for each, and carves the names on his crude gravemarkers. The IDs go into a can on his workbench.
Over the course of a montage, we see that Morgan is regaining his humanity. He gardens. He learns aikido and the belief that all life is precious. Morgan now sleeps on the couch; Tabitha gets the cell. It is a peaceful life the two have.
One night, over dinner, Morgan finally asks about the cell in the cabin, and Eastman opens up. When he built this cabin with his wife, it didn’t have a cell. One day he was called in to evaluate Crighton Dallas Wilton, a man who did “heinous” things but was incredibly likable and did and said all the right things to make him eligible for parol. Classic trademarks of a psychopath. Eastman saw this, and saw the moment when Wilton realized Eastman knew what he was. His “mask” slipped away and Wilton attacked Eastman, and he saw the evil in Wilton. His aikido saved his life, and parole was denied. Wilton broke out of prison and killed Eastman’s wife, son, and daughter. He then walked straight into the police station, still covered in blood, and turned himself in. He only did it to ruin Eastman’s life. Eastman built the cell in his living room because he wanted to kidnap Wilton and watch him starve to death. “I have come to believe that all life is precious,” Eastman tells Morgan, repeating it like a mantra, like he is still trying to convince himself that he believes it. He has been a vegetarian ever since.
Eastman needs more gear. He is planning a trip to look for more survivors. Morgan knows where they can go for a tarp and a few other things they will need: the last camp he made. He has a rucksack there with a tarp and canteen and other assorted goodies. Eastman asks who Morgan lost, and insists Morgan name them. He senses Morgan’s nerves are starting to fray, and insists they do aikido forms. Morgan doesn’t want to, but Eastman is adamant. Morgan begins, and after a few movements a zombie approaches. Eastman “gives” him to Morgan, gives him a chance to use his new moves. Morgan takes a fight stance, but realizes this is the man he strangled to death. He freezes, unable to move. Eastman rushes in, saving Morgan but getting bitten (or scratched) in the process. Eastman kills the zombie and Morgan loses his shit. “I told you not here! That wasn’t for you to do!” He attacks, and the two spar. Eastman gets him to the ground and Morgan again gives up, screaming at Eastman to kill him. Eastman tosses his spear down, gets up, and drags the zombie onto his cart. “Here’s not here.” He leaves with the zombie.
Morgan is still at the camp site, sharpening his spears. It appears as though he has gone back to his old ways. He is moving through the forest, stealthily stalking a particularly tattered zombie. He comes up behind it and kills it, saving a young, oblivious couple. Morgan rushes towards them, holding up his spear menacingly. The girl, trembling with terror, takes out a can of soup and a single shotgun shell from her backpack. She puts both on the ground. “Thank you,” she whispers before she and her guy head off.
Morgan grabs his spear and rushes back to Eastman’s home. He finds a zombie eating Tabitha. He kills it and takes both back to the graveyard. Eastman is there, digging a grave. He is glad to see Morgan returned, but he is not looking well. Morgan takes over digging duties, and he sees a grave marked for Crighton Dallas Wilton. Eastman finishes his story: despite his confession, Wilton sweet-talked his way into a cushy landscaping gig along a public highway. Eastman planned it all out, waited, then grabbed Wilton and took him home. “If they had caught me it would have been fine,” Eastman says emotionlessly. He put him in the cell and watched him starve to death. It took 47 days. “I was gone. I was where you were,” Eastman admits. “What I did to him didn’t give me any peace. I found my peace when I decided to never kill anything again.” He accepted responsibility for his actions, and when Wilton died, he went to Atlanta to turn himself in. That is when he discovered “the world ended.” Morgan corrects him: “The world hasn’t ended.” Eastman is pleased. “Progress.”
The drywall drawing Eastman has, his daughter drew it on the wall in their hallway. She thought he would be mad; instead he put a frame around it. On his way back from attempting to turn himself in, he stopped at the house to take that piece of drywall back to the cabin. Along the way he lost his car, and had to trudge through 30 miles of the dead to get here. He is quite proud of that. Eastman knows the end is near for him, and tells Morgan he is welcome to stay here – but hopes he won’t. He has plenty of food, power, and security to last him the rest of his life, but it is all about people. Morgan should be with people. He is ready now, and has a gun ready. But there is one more thing: Eastman gives Morgan the rabbit’s foot his daughter gave him one day when she found him crying in the garage. “I hope it’s lucky for you, too.”
Morgan leaves the cabin the next morning, with only a backpack and a spear. On his way out, we see one more grave: D. Eastman. Morgan finds the signs for Terminus and follows.
Back to NOW. “That’s it. Every last bit,” Morgan says. We see he is talking to a Wolf, tied up in an empty house. “You think it can work out that way for me?” the kid asks with a goofy, terrifying grin that reveals his meth teeth. He is sweaty and shaking and reveals a wound on his stomach. He saw how settled this place looked from the photos he found, and he thought there might be medicine here. The Wolf figures he is probably going to die, but if he doesn’t, he vows to “kill everyone here, including the children.” “That’s my code,” the kid says casually. Morgan leaves the house, thinks about it for a moment, then locks the door.