A man gripped by madness transforms into a student of Zen
If you were hoping for answers about last week’s shocking ending, then you’re going to have to keep discussing conspiracy theories for another week. That’s because episode four of the season is all about Morgan. Ninety minute episodes of TV usually mean that the network is indulging a show runner (*cough* Kurt Sutter *cough*) while punishing the viewing audience with what typically ends up being a filler episode. However, as detailed in this Walking Dead breakdown, the great decision was made to focus on one of its strongest and most fascinating characters in Morgan, a decision which led to a fantastic character piece.
Strangely, it is being placed in a cell that helps Morgan to heal. For so long Morgan has been trapped in a prison of his own guilt that he continues to stay Eastman’s cell until he can finally learn to forgive himself, and set his own mind free.
Morgan explains to Eastman that he “clears” walkers and people. It is his mission because everybody turns. Eastman diagnoses Morgan with PTSD. It’s become a common theme in the show, and an understandable one. We’ve seen Rick suffer from it, and last week, Nicholas may or may not (fingers crossed) have gotten Glenn killed because of it. What Eastman offers Morgan are doors both literal and metaphoric that he can choose to walk through: he can continue to “clear,” or he can heal and choose to embrace that all life is precious.
Through friendship, embracing Eastman’s philosophy of peace, and learning to embrace his own life as precious, is Morgan able to heal, or “clear” his head if you will. However, despite his Zen outlook, the Morgan we see may be healed but he’s not cured. Part of his new life is not forgetting the actions of the past, but those actions haunt him, and cost him his mentor. In Alexandria we see a mentally stronger Morgan, but the damage of his past runs deep, so will his “no kill” policy survive the Wolves and will it run afoul of the traumatized survivors in Alexandria?