The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Descriptions of violence; disablism; racism. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of a female goat, standing in a pen in the woods
My favorite ever Walking Dead character: Tabitha the Goat.

After last week's MAJOR CLIFFHANGER, the always-terrific producers of The Walking Dead decided to give us one of their stellar garbage episodes, so we could wait a little longer to find out if Glenn is really dead.

We interrupt this season already in progress to give you an interminably long episode of backstory on Morgan.

And this was a particularly garbagey garbage episode, in that it was not only boring filler, but it was a clusterfucktastrophe of racist crapola! In other words: Classic Walking Dead!

The episode starts "NOW" in Aarontown, with Morgan talking to the W-Head he apparently only took prisoner but didn't actually kill. The episode then moves backwards to "THEN," spending the rest of the time filling us in on what Morgan was up to between the time he encountered Grimes and the time he showed up at Aarontown.

Just after meeting Grimes, Morgan is cracking up. He scrawls random phrases on the walls of the apartment in which he's holed up, paces, mutters, and tips over a lantern, starting a fire. He makes for the woods, hunting zombies and scrawling random phrases on rocks. So, everything's going pretty great for old Morgan!

One day, he encounters two white dudes, maybe a father and a son, who chase him through the woods. He stabs the older dude in the throat and then strangles the younger dude. Still going great!

Another day, he stumbles across a secluded log cabin, where there's a cute goat tied in a pen. A man's voice tells him to put his gun down, as Morgan stalks closer and closer to the cabin, and the man's voice continues to urge him to put down the gun and they can totes be BFFs. Morgan ignores the invitation/warning, and so he gets clocked on the head with a bō staff. Another great day!

Morgan wakes up in a jail cell inside the cabin and begs his captor, a middle-aged white man named Eastman, to kill him. Eastman won't kill him, because he values all life. Instead, he gives Morgan a book titled The Art of Peace.

Over the next few days, here are a few things that happen: Eastman practices aikido outside a window, where Morgan watches him. They have cool conversations about how Eastman won't kill Morgan, but Morgan will definitely kill Eastman, given half a chance. Eastman tries to make goat cheese and fails. Eastman tells Morgan he used to be a forensic psychologist, and only met one truly evil person in all his years of assessing criminals. He head-shrinks Morgan and tells him he has PTSD and he has to choose to get better. Eastman tells Morgan that the door to the jail cell has been open all along, and tells Morgan he can stay on the couch or leave, but he won't let Morgan kill him. Morgan tries to kill him and fails. Morgan chooses to stay in the jail cell.

Can you guess what happens next? If you guessed that a white man would use a Japanese martial art and philosophy to teach a black man how not to be a savage, then give yourself one million points!

We got a break from Grimes' patriarchal authoritarianism just to be introduced to Eastman's gross colonialism!


There's a bunch of junk about how aikido saved Eastman's soul or whatever, but we also learn that it really didn't, because it was only after he tortured and killed an escaped patient who killed his wife and kids that he came to the conclusion that all life is precious. And then of course he sacrifices himself to save Morgan, when the young dude Morgan strangled comes after him in zombie form (BECAUSE OF COURSE HE DOES), and Morgan is real mad that Eastman did that, but he's also so grateful that Eastman the Murderer has taught him to be peaceful and has saved him from himself.

Basically, the usual thematic gibberish that's supposed to pass as deep thoughts. With a twist of appalling racism.

Cut back to "NOW," and Morgan wraps up his story, telling the fuck-toothed W-Head that he can be saved, too. The W-Head is unmoved, telling Morgan he's going to kill him and every other person in Aarontown.

Morgan leaves the W-Head in what's essentially a cell behind a locked door. On his way out, he hears Grimes hollering to open the gates to Aarontown. Fin.

Next week: More of this garbage.

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