Season 6 Episode 4 “Here’s Not Here”
Why is every episode that focuses on Morgan Jones so amazing? Well, Lennie James is a fantastic actor for one. With a story involving just two people, you would think maybe there would be some boring parts. But that is simply not the case. This is an amazing tale of Morgan’s backstory that affects us on so many levels. This is one of those classic episodes that stands all on its own.
We’ve had Morgan back for a few episodes now and noticed he was definitely not the same man we last saw in Season 2. The blanks get filled in for us now as we see what Morgan went through after Rick and him last parted ways. The real emphasis is on the recovery he went through after meeting a man in a cabin named Eastman and his pet goat Tabitha.
Morgan’s recovery is an incredible one. He starts off with just being a wild crazy person talking to himself and repeating the same sentences over and over again. He spends his days killing walkers and burning the bodies. He also kills people. Anyone encountering him would be best to stay away. Until he hears a goat and finds Eastman’s cabin. Eastman really has his hands full with Morgan. But I love how patient he is with him. He calls him on his bullshit. He tries to tell Morgan what’s happening to him. One of my favorite parts is when Eastman is explaining that Morgan’s mind has him stuck in a room with a bad memory and every time he tries to leave the room the door he goes through puts him right back in. I think that resonates for a lot of people who go through trauma. There’s that choice you have to make over and over again when you are trying to heal and sometimes that door you go through doesn’t make it any better. But the idea that you just keep trying is very powerful. And even though Morgan may have seemed too far gone, Eastman gets him through it. I also love that moment when he tells Morgan the cell isn’t locked. It’s never been locked. Mind blown. We owe a lot to Eastman even though we’ve never even heard of him until this episode. He gave us our Morgan back.
Eastman has a bit of a wild backstory himself that comes out after Morgan has been with him for awhile. He was a forensic psychiatrist and responsible for assessing prisoners up for parole. One evil man, Crighton Dallas Wilton (CDW), first tries to kill Eastman and then later seeks revenge on Eastman by breaking out of jail and killing his family. This is a horribly tragic story but it doesn’t even end there. Eastman in turn seeks revenge on CDW and starves the man to death for 47 days in a homemade cell he makes in his cabin. As this story comes out, we are just shocked that this very patient man who has been saving Morgan’s life could commit such a torturous crime. But what’s really special about this story is what happened to Eastman after he does this. He unexpectedly feels no relief and has to learn how to process everything that’s happened another way. He finally felt better after committing to himself that he’d never hurt another human being again. That’s some powerful stuff right there. Easier said than done as well. I’m not sure how many people, including myself, have the strength to follow a path like that. I could see it being very easy when something truly heinous happens to want revenge. But I think that brings us back to something we’ve learned long ago. Revenge would be easy, and easy choices are not always the right choices.
The conversations Eastman and Morgan have drive this story. And a lot of great sayings come from this episode as well. At first it is just Eastman talking to Morgan. All Morgan can say at first is “kill me”, sometimes screaming it. But Eastman takes it all in stride and keeps sharing his thoughts and stories with him. I think that’s a big reason why Morgan is able to change. Eastman isn’t focusing on Morgan’s trauma. He’s treating him like a normal human being. Morgan is like a toddler screaming for attention, but when he doesn’t get it and runs out of steam, that’s when Eastman knows he can get through to him. As far as sayings go, we get a lot of Morgan’s classics this episode. Some of which he got from Eastmean. “All life is precious” and “everything gets a return” come from Eastman and the aikido training. “You know what it is” is something we still hear come up a lot from Morgan during his bad moments. “Here’s not here” “clear” and “pointless acts” are things he likes to write. He sure does have a lot of phrases.
We can’t help but wonder though if now Morgan is making a mistake with the Wolf he’s captured. Morgan appears to be trying to save the Wolf like Eastman saved him. But is the Wolf one of those truly evil men like CDW was? Is this going to backfire somehow? I don’t think Morgan fully believes either but he wants to try. As he leaves the Wolf in the basement, he pauses for a moment before locking the door. I think he pauses because he’s not sure if he should do what Eastman did to him at the cabin with leaving it unlocked. And he doesn’t. He’s not ready to take that chance. It does have one big different though. There was no one at the cabin to get hurt except for Eastman, but Morgan has a whole community that he’d be putting at an even greater risk than he is already if he left it unlocked. I don’t think Morgan would be happy if he took a chance like that.
This episode was probably the last thing we were expecting right after Glenn “died”. I remember being thoroughly disappointed we weren’t sticking with all the excitement from the week before. I needed to know what happened dammit! However, the episode quickly won me over. Amazing acting, incredible story, it’s just one of those perfect episodes that leaves us all with a lot to think about.
Best of the Episode
Morgan slips. After all that hard work Morgan and Eastman did, it all ends tragically when Eastman gets bit saving Morgan. It only takes seconds for Morgan to slip back into that animal that was screaming “kill me”. For a few minutes it seems like we are starting all over again. But Morgan runs into two harmless travelers scared out of their gourds at Morgan coming after them. This time though Morgan doesn’t hurt them. He lets them continue on. And then we know Morgan’s gonna be okay….for now.
Tabitha. I mean how cute is that goat. One of the cutest goats I’ve ever seen. She almost steals the show. And then they kill her! They being a couple of walkers. I’m almost more sad about the goat then about Eastman.
The spear becomes a staff. It’s a very symbolic gift that Eastman gives Morgan. He takes his pointy killing spear and chops the top off and sands it down to a round staff. Morgan has changed so why not his weapon as well. What makes this even more powerful is down the road when the staff changes back….oh my! But that’s much much much farther away.
A lovely prediction. It’s a small moment but it brought me to tears, both then and rewatching. Morgan gets upset talking about his family to Eastman. Eastman tells him to do his aikido moves and then after Morgan calms down he very softly tells Morgan he’s going to hold a baby again. And it’s true! We know a few episodes back that Morgan held baby Judith and it made him smile. I love it when that stuff comes true!