Season 6, Episode 4:
Here's Not Here
- A look back at Morgan's journey to the brink of despair and back.
In the wake of the Wolves' attack on Alexandria, Morgan has incapacitated the lead Wolf and tied him up in a room. Morgan refers to their previous conversation in the forest, and tells the man that he'll give him everything he has...
Many months earlier, Morgan is sitting in his apartment in King County and yelling out loud at no one in particular. He throws down a lantern and lights the apartment on fire before leaving.
He eventually leaves the town and goes to live in the forest, where he dispatches many walkers while surviving off supplies he finds. After dispatching a pair of scavengers who were chasing him, Morgan comes upon a house that is being protected by traps. When he goes in for a closer look, he discovers a goat and a large house. An unseen voice tells him to leave the goat alone and come inside for some food. When he attempts to break into the house, he's ambushed and knocked out by the man.
Morgan wakes up later in a jail cell with some food. The man, Eastman, comes in and asks what his name is, but Morgan asks to be put out of his misery. Eastman throws him a book, "The Art of Peace", then goes outside to dispatch a walker trying to attack the goat, Tabitha, while he watches through a window.
The next morning, Morgan watches him practicing aikido and dispatching more walkers. Eastman tells him that he's a forensic psychiatrist from Atlanta, and asks what he does. Morgan tells him about how he "clears" walkers and violent people, to which Eastman responds that his mentality is a load of crap. He reveals that Morgan is likely suffering from PTSD while Morgan tells him about the scavengers he killed.
Eastman sees the wedding ring on Morgan's finger and realizes he had a family. He tells him that he's still stuck in the past, and needs to move past that trauma in order to heal. Eastman then reveals that he left the cell door open, and tells him that the only thing limiting him has been his mind. Morgan opens the door and tries to attack him, but is effortlessly beaten down once again. Eastman reiterates that he can either stay or go, and Morgan has a breakdown before going back into the cell.
That night, Eastman tells him about his aikido training and references his family, but dodges the question when Morgan asks what their ultimate fate was. Eastman insinuates that they'll be going on a trip, but says he can't do it alone. The next day, he goes out to scavenge supplies while Morgan stays behind.
Morgan sits in the cell and contemplates, then takes the book about peace and begins to read it. He sees an inscription by Eastman that talks about how aikido is used when a person doesn't want to kill, but is distracted when he hears the sound of walkers trying to attack Tabitha. He runs outside and dispatches them after staring at the goat, then looks on in shock at what he's done. He goes to drag the bodies away from camp, but comes upon a cemetery Eastman set up to bury walkers.
He begins to dig a grave for the walkers he dispatched before Eastman arrives and thanks him for saving Tabitha. He then gives him back his stick and decides to teach him aikido. As the days and weeks go on, Morgan helps out around the house and trains by a small river.
Over dinner, Eastman tells Morgan about how he built the house with his wife and had a jail cell included in it. He reiterates his work with the prison reform system and tells him how important learning aikido was when a prisoner tried to attack him when he was up for parole. He reveals that the prisoner eventually broke out and massacred Eastman's family before surrendering to police. Eastman reiterates his mantra that all life is precious, despite Morgan's disbelief.
When Eastman suggests that they travel to some islands off the coast to see if there are any other survivors, Morgan tells him he has an idea. They go back to the place where Morgan had stored his supplies while traveling, and Eastman asks him who he lost after seeing the writings on the rocks. Morgan tells him about the deaths of Duane and Jenny. Eastman elects to have them practice right there in the camp, and Morgan tries to hold his composure while practicing his stances.
When a walker comes out of the forest, Morgan moves to dispatch it, but realizes that it's one of the scavengers he killed earlier. He freezes in shock, and is only saved by the intervention of Eastman, who pulls him out of the way before being bit on the back. Eastman dispatches the walker and Morgan yells at him for wanting to practice there.
Morgan attacks him before being knocked to the ground yet again, but Eastman leaves him there and goes to bury the walker. Morgan sharpens some sticks into spears and heads out after him.
He runs into a forest and dispatches a walker, then discovers that it was going to attack a pair of travelers. They give him some food and a bullet before thanking him and leaving. Morgan stares in shock before going back to the house. He finds a walker eating Tabitha outside and dispatches it.
Eastman is digging graves in the back when Morgan arrives with the animal's body. He digs another grave while Eastman rests, but discovers that Eastman had captured and starved the psychopath that murdered his family, and buried the man's corpse outside the house. He tells Morgan that he didn't find any peace until the man died and he pledged to never kill any human again.
Later on, Eastman tells him he can stay and be set for supplies for the rest of his life, but implores him to go out and save people.
He gives Morgan his lucky rabbit's foot and goes off on his own to pass away in peace. After he's gone, Morgan practices once again by the lake, then collects some supplies from the house and sets out on his own again. As he passes the cemetery, Eastman's name is shown on a grave marker.
Morgan wanders through the forest and comes upon a set of train tracks, where he finds the note directing travelers to Terminus...
In the present, the lead Wolf asks if Morgan's story is going to make a difference. He reveals to him that he has injured during the battle, and tells him that they attacked Alexandria because he was looking for medicine to cure it. He pledges to kill everyone in Alexandria if he survives, and Morgan stares at him before leaving.
Outside, Morgan locks the door to the Wolf's cell, but is distracted when he hears Rick yelling for help from the front gates...
- Absentee Actor: Only Lennie James (Morgan) appears in this episode from the main cast, besides a distant cry from Rick to open the gates at the very end.
- The Atoner: Both Eastman and Morgan end up being this.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Try to kill Eastman and he will kick your ass. On the other hand, if you kill his entire family, well...
- Bottle Episode: The majority of the episode only involves three major characters (Morgan and Eastman in the past, and W Man in the present), with the action taking place in an isolated forest.
- Breather Episode: Although it still features copious amounts of Gorn, the plot on a whole is much more subdued and relaxed as opposed to the previous episode.
- Call-Forward: It's revealed that the items Morgan placed at the altar of Father Gabriel's church in "Coda" (Eastman's rabbit foot, a pack of Goo Goo Clusters, and the bullet the young woman gave to Morgan after he rescued them from the walker) were all taken in this episode.
- Chekhov's Gunman: One of the scavengers Morgan kills at the beginning of the episode returns as a walker later on, who bites Eastman on the back before being dispatched.
- Continuity Nod:
- The "Then" and "Now" framing devices were previously used back in "No Sanctuary".
- The "Clear" mantra returns.
- Morgan mentions that saving people now feels like it was in vain, likely referring to his feelings of betrayal when Rick ceased regular contact with him back in season two.
- Morgan tells Eastman to "sit down before (you) fall down" after the latter is bit, echoing the same words he said to Rick in the pilot.
- Morgan comes across a sign leading to Terminus at the end of the flashbacks, leading into his appearance in "No Sanctuary" when he'll eventually be warded away from the path.
- A Day in the Limelight: Morgan gets one here.
- Death Seeker: Morgan initially has shades of this, as he begs for Eastman to kill him after he's captured.
- Driven to Suicide: After Eastman is bit, he tells Morgan that he will kill himself with a gun he has in a hidden toolbox. Although the act isn't seen, Morgan is shown to have buried Eastman's body afterwards.
- Framing Device: The bulk of the episode is given in flashback, with the only scenes in the present being at the beginning and end of the episode.
- Gorn: Seen repeatedly. A man is stabbed through the neck with a walking stick, and walkers are seen in varying states of decomposition (including one that's had its jaw ripped off).
- Heroic BSoD: Morgan is shocked to see the man he strangled in earlier in the episode, and is unable to react.
- Hero of Another Story: Morgan is the hero of said story, which is finally told here.
- How We Got Here: The episode is dedicated to explaining Morgan's actions between "Clear" and his discovery of the warning sign for Terminus at the beginning of the fifth season.
- Impairment Shot: At the very beginning, as Morgan runs through the forest with the riot helmet and faceguard on, the edges of the camera are blurry and unfocused as he removes his protection. This also occurs several times afterwards.
- Incendiary Exponent: After Morgan makes a funeral pyre to burn the bodies of walkers in the forest, one walks right through it and attempts to attack Morgan before being dispatched.
- Ironic Echo: W Man tells Morgan that he's never going to feel sorry for his actions after what Morgan told Carl back in "Clear".
- Kill Or Be Killed: Morgan has developed this mantra before meeting Eastman.
- Kill the Cutie: Poor Tabitha is eaten by a walker.
- The Lost Lenore: Eastman's wife.
- Meaningful Echo: Many parts of Morgan's dialogue from "Conquer" are revealed to have been Morgan paying tribute to Eastman by quoting him.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Eastman gets bitten in the process of saving Morgan from a walker.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Inverted with Steven Yeun, who is dropped from the opening titles after Glenn's apparent death in the previous episode.
- Redemption Rejection: Morgan told his story to W Man in order to try to convince him to change his ways. W Man responds by smiling and assuring him that he'll still kill every last soul in Alexandria.
- Shout-Out: Morgan learns aikido from a man named Eastman, and Lennie James learned the art from one of the stunt doubles for Donatello in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films.
- Spotting the Thread: Eastman figures out that Morgan had a family and loved them very much after seeing the wedding ring still on his finger.
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Eastman's moral code after letting his family's murderer starve. Morgan adopts this code after meeting Eastman.
- Training Montage: Of Morgan's aikido training with Eastman.
- Trash the Set: Similar to the Governor's burning of Woodbury, Morgan burns down his apartment in King County while shouting in rage at no one in particular.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The man and woman Morgan saves from an encroaching walker aren't seen again after they thank him, and their ultimate fate is unknown.
- Whole Episode Flashback: Apart from brief scenes at the beginning and end, this episode is entirely a flashback showing Morgan's return from insanity in between his appearances in season three and five.