Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: “Here’s Not Here”

In which an episode inspires talk of sex, Star Wars, and Eastern philosophy.

Shawn: It was 90 minutes and I feel like I have less to say than I did about any episode this season.

1.) I don’t care if it’s The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad or All In The Family, I am always worried about a whole episode where we abandon our huge cast and follow just one person or story. There wasn’t ever an episode of Love Boat that only followed Gopher trying to steal Charo away from Dom DeLuise. I think this show is tempted to do that more than most. They have characters with interesting backstories and we’ve split the group up multiple times. I haven’t liked either the Governor episode or the Daryl/Beth episode. The show is strong because there is chaos going on all at the same time. This episode was certainly a slow burn. And talky. The biggest problem for me was that it never had an emotional break from Morgan.

2.) I know that Star Wars is really popular again now but did we really need a Luke and Yoda episode in our zombie show? I was waiting for Eastman to have Morgan lift the goat with his mind. The Eastern philosophy is fine and I think that based on what has happened that there would be lots of different religious takes on the current state of the world. Once again, I think this story is about a 30-minute story that would have worked well against the backdrop of whatever else was happening currently with the Wolves.

3.) The best part was definitely the end. The Wolf dude was everything that’s crazy, spooky, and unpredictable about the Wolves. He was like a meth addict at full power. “I know I’m probably going to die, but if I don’t, I am going to kill you, Morgan. I’m going to have to kill every person here. Those are the rules, that’s my code. I’d say I’m sorry, but you said it right? ‘Don’t ever be sorry.'” The dude in two seconds gave us a thoughtful rebuff of everything we had seen for over an hour. I thought it was a great take on the conflict of the religious teachings that Morgan couldn’t be like Yoda, I mean Eastman, and leave the door unlocked. This is a not so subtle clue that Morgan might be finding out like everyone else that Rick knows his shit.

4.) “Here’s Not Here” – I still can’t explain what that Eastern philosophy mumbo jumbo is supposed to mean. It sounds like something Jules in Pulp Fiction would spout before capping someone in the ass. I don’t see this show going down a path where we have philosophical debates about fate and if our lives are predetermined and what is and isn’t human. That’s why this excellently written episode seemed out of place. Plop it down in the second season of Lost or in the sixth season of The X-Files and it might feel more at home. Here it seemed like a stretch to try to form a break after last week’s heartache.

5.) And to completely undermine what I just said in #4, I like that we are filling in some holes where we saw a character and then didn’t see them for a long time.

6. ) Like I said, the storytelling is not at fault here. The build to Eastman’s confession is predictable but logical and I liked the way they played that out. I liked the symbolism of the unlocked cage and the juxtaposition of Morgan as an animal and the goat. I thought the best touch was the graves. His need to give the dead a name and burial matched the religious significance and theme of the episode. Maybe here is not here. Maybe this isn’t what the show is all about. I fear this will be a forgotten 90 minutes when it’s all said and done.

Kim: Where do I begin? I know! I’ll begin with the sex. That’s always a surefire way to get people interested in something.

1) So, the first three episodes were hard-driving, heart-pounding, knock-your-socks-off kind of action, pretty much start to finish. I had gone through the monotony of Fear the Walking Dead and felt I was handsomely rewarded, although Daryl wasn’t extremely prominent through the first three. What happened here was the same thing that happens every time – your partner needed a break, a snack, a breather. Sure, they’ll all tell you it is all about pacing, drawing you in and leaving you wanting more, but I’m going to tell you that 90 minutes is too long of a break. It was more like a nap then a quick trip to the fridge for a drink and a snack. Truthfully, closing in on the 60-minute mark, I wanted the nap.

2) I think the single story lines are good – when timed and paced properly. I mean, even in bed, we can’t have doggy-style all the time. It gets old. Sometimes you need slow and tender lovin’. We all wanted to know where Morgan learned to be so much like Chuck Norris. I think it was an important piece of the story, but I don’t think it needed to span 90 minutes. I know I watched hoping that they’d get through the story in the first 60, then go back to the present and show other people, or tie events together. Show me that you haven’t forgotten to give it to me exactly how I like it. You like your Star Wars references; I like my sexual ones.

3) Is it just me, or does that Wolf that Morgan has locked up remind you a whole lot of Dave Grohl? I kept waiting for him to break into song in the middle of being the freakin’ psychopath he obviously is. Morgan is not Obi Wan. Morgan is not Yoda. Morgan is, at best, Luke Skywalker, when he realizes that he was kissing on his sister. Morgan is also probably not a freak in the sack, though he likely is into the whole tantric thing, but let’s get back to Wolfie. Morgan has two choices here. He can’t let him go. So, as I see it, choice #1 is to put him down. Take the weapon. Strike him down with all of his hatred. (See what I did there?) Choice #2 would be to watch him starve to death behind a locked gate, thus making a turn back toward where he was before he found inner peace and the value of all lives. It would be a copy of what Eastman did, and then his turn to the dark side will be complete – Oh my God, Eastman is the Emperor!

4) Here’s not here. I was wishing and praying this was a grammatical error and that crazy Morgan meant “He’s not here,” which could mean his son, or God, or the pizza-delivery guy (Glenn’s not dead). But no. Repeated by Eastman, it made no sense to me. I took a religious philosophy course in college and I really wanted to bang the professor, so my attention span in that class was nil. Had I had a wholly unattractive professor, perhaps I’d get it. I don’t think we’re meant to know. I think it’s meant to parallel Morgan’s turn from crazy killer dude to rational, peace-loving hippie freak. When he scrawled it on the rock, it was just free flow words, with no real meaning. When Eastman said it, it was almost meant to be a wake-up call – that this is the new reality, but you just can’t count on it staying this way. You’re here, but you’re not really here, because here is constantly changing to there. OOOHHHHHHMMMMMMMM!

5) To quickly touch on your “giving the dead a name” – total call-back to Rick in Season 1 before they chopped up that dude to camouflage their scent with death. Remember that? He pulled out the wallet and read the guy’s name to everyone before they dismembered him. So, it’s a parallel again with the past. Had Rick not been in the situations he’s been in, he’d be Eastman. Nature vs. Nurture? Who knows? Here’s not here. It’s over there with Rick in the RV. It’s with Glenn at the dumpster. It’s with Carol in Alexandria. It’s wherever they choose to place us in any given episode. Let’s just hope we don’t have to stay there for 90 minutes again.

6) Sex, Star Wars and philosophy? I’m every geek’s dream.

What more can we say?

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Shawn Bourdo

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