“Thank you” were not the words most of “The Walking Dead” fans, including me, were uttering after last week’s shocker. Nope! The words uttered were more likely X-rated. What the hell were Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple thinking? First the attack on Alexandria by the wolves, then we are forced to watch Glenn fall into a frenzied mob of walkers. Is he dead or alive? And, what’s up with Morgan and his walker bonfire? Find out after the jump.
We have seen Morgan go from loving father and survivor to the man we met in S03 E12 Clear. Now, he’s the new and improved Morgan.
He’s got Zen and a Bo staff. We can trust him, right? So who was the cheese maker who taught Morgan how to use the staff? While we watch tonight’s episode, part of our minds are wondering about Glenn.
Morgan is out on the road, his building burnt down, as we’ve seen in the flashbacks. He wanders the roads, mindless like the very walkers that he kills and stacks onto a bonfire. So after the shocking last three episodes, we are given a chance to catch our breath and wonder what would have happened to Morgan if he had never met Eastman (John Carrol Lynch), the cheese maker.
So why are we introduced to the cheese maker? What did he teach Morgan and, what would we learn from these flashbacks? Eastman was a forensic psychologist meaning he dealt with the worst kind of personality disorders and he plenty of patients, most of them locked behind bars for horrendous crimes.
How does a man get to live in a cabin, grow vegetables, have a goat named Tabitha all while the world is going down the drain? What made Eastman believe that all life is precious even after what had happened to his family?
Eastman, using the moves of an Aikido expert, explains to Morgan what PTSD is. Understand what this disease is my friends because a lot of our soldiers suffer from this. Since Morgan and Rick seem to mirror each other’s mental status, maybe Rick, the past two seasons is also experiencing PTSD.
I mean how long can you continuously fight for your life without a little madness creeping in. Eastman recognizes that Morgan is experiencing the three symptoms of PTSD and takes the time to help him out of the cell, both figuratively and literally. I was shocked to learn that Morgan’s cell was never locked.
My grandsons from when they were young were very involved in the martial arts. Jimmy, who is now serving in the US Marines, focused on mixed martial arts, specifically Muay Thai. Joshua, who will soon be serving on a Navy submarine, was always into Aikido and is now an Aikido instructor for an after school group until he goes to the Naval Base, while the youngest, Nathan is learning mixed martial arts and parkour. It is Joshua that I thought of during tonight’s show.
Eastman was at a place that my grandson Joshua is now, except for the vegetarian part. Aikido created by Sensei Morihei Ueshiba is a means to defend yourself while protecting your attacker from injury. Think about this for a minute. This form of martial arts teaches you to protect yourself without taking a life. I’ve watched my grandson, Jimmy, win many Muay Thai tournaments, but the focus was on winning because it is a combat sport. In Aikido, there is no goal to win, but to protect yourself and the person attacking you. The people who practice Aikido look at life sort of how Eastman does: live life with harmony and universal spirit, loving the world and all who are in it.
We still don’t know the fate of Glenn. Maybe we never will. We do know that Eastman went through his own madness, his own PTSD before he met Morgan. A particularly nasty criminal killed Eastman’s wife and children. Eastman reacted like you’d expect a grieving husband and father to react; a life for a life. It didn’t help.
Morgan, with Eastman’s help, learned to leave the “Clear” place behind. The gentle giant and the goat named Tabitha gave Morgan a sense of normal. Sure it didn’t last long, but the lessons taught through Aikido will stay with Morgan forever. Eastman passed what he’d learned to Morgan. Morgan tried to do the same with the Alpha wolf played frighteningly good by actor, Benedict Samuel.
The Alpha wolf has no time for peace. He and his people want to kill everyone, just because they can. There is no harmony in their pathetic lives. When the Alpha wolf threatens to kill every man, woman and child in Alexandria, Morgan sees the face of evil…was this the same face that Eastman saw when Crighton tried to kill him? I’m all for peace and harmony, but when the wolf is at the door, you have to act. I have a feeling that Morgan’s decision to lock away the Alpha wolf inside Alexandria, might come back to bite him. Do you?
It was interesting to learn that John Carrol Lynch and Lennie James had five days to learn Aikido. They did this in the heat, 106 degrees and 100% humidity. They both spoke lovingly of Tabitha the goat on Talking Dead. In fact, Chris wants us to #Letitgoat on Twitter. Unfortunately, for Morgan, Eastman and Tabitha did not survive. Did we really expect them to? See you next week, my little walkers. We are not “Clear” yet and, no amount of good luck charms or rabbit’s feet is going to help us.