The Art of Peace

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So, after 3 weeks of a relentless pace, The Walking Dead treated us to a ‘nice’, calm episode. It was interesting, really well done but…it could have waited! I wanted to find out what happened to Glenn, or at least Rick, before I was taken down memory lane by Morgan. Right, that said, I’m not really complaining because it was a fascinating episode, I just wasn’t expecting it at this point!

This was a really deep one: pacifism, the sanctity of life…etc…Now we know why Morgan is so intent on “not killing”: because he was saved from his post-traumatic stress nightmare by Eastman, who basically helped him recover (how darn lucky was it that Eastman just happened to be a forensic psychiatrist?) AND taught him how to fight like a ninja (Aikido actually, but you know what I mean).

I admit to being torn when watching Eastman: was he some sort of saint or an annoying fool? A mix of both? When we found out he buried the walkers and made sure their names were on the graves, I kinda got the “idea” behind it, but I couldn’t help but think he had appointed himself with a ridiculously pointless task. There are better things to do with your time, like, helping real live people!

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Also, for such a good fighter, that bite from the walker he was trying to protect Morgan from was pretty avoidable really. I mean, it was obvious from the beginning we were going to witness his demise at some point so it wasn’t surprising…and to be fair, he didn’t even seem surprised himself by his impeding death…or bothered… so maybe that explains why I wasn’t really either. When he got bitten, all I could think was: “you fool, that’s where your silly ideas got you, are you happy now?” (sometimes the voice in my head sounds like a petulant child) I didn’t find the whole “sacrificing myself for Morgan” moving, and I’m quite sure it was meant to be.

And yet, I’m someone who’s quite emotional, who cries easily, sometimes at cute kittens who haven’t even been abandoned or anything but are, just, cute, and small and defenceless, you know? (Okay, yes, I’m exaggerating for effect)
So, yeah, I found it hard to warm up to Eastman but I did get choked when that poor little goat ended up as a walker’s meal. What does that say about me?

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In any case, this episode was profound, it made its point about “respecting life” with gusto…except, it is all very good in theory to refuse to kill anything or anyone, but in practice?

Maybe Eastman could survive all alone without ever again taking another human life, but Morgan is in a community of people, it’s a different ball game here. Morgan could live with his principles while he was out in the wild and on his own, but he’s got other people to think about now. That episode was so good because, after taking us on ‘Morgan’s journey’, it ended with the wolf asking him if he could be saved also. Morgan says yes. And then the wolf gives us that evil snarl and states very calmly that, given the chance, he will murder everyone in the community. Did anybody else wish very hard for a gun then so they could shoot the little s**t square in the head? Or next best thing, shoot at the TV? It can’t have just been me. But I digress again.
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Morgan was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder when he was found by Eastman, he wasn’t an evil man – he was a traumatised man doing evil things. That wolf on the other hand is clearly an evil guy, full stop. BIG difference. For me, that was the point of the episode: to painstakingly explain to us why Morgan will not seriously harm people, seemingly making a good case for “all life is sacred” — but then ending on the wolf, proving that sanctity of life is great and everything, but in certain cases it just doesn’t work.

This is a post-apocalyptic world, there are no prisons, no law enforcements officers, no psychiatrists, no hospitals, no asylums. If another human being comes up and tries to stick a pickaxe in your brain, you can’t just restrain them and call 911. So, what else can you do?

Eastman said that after letting the psychopath who had killed his wife and children starve to death, he didn’t find peace, that he only found peace when he made the decision “never to kill again”. That, I can believe. But, again it was a different situation in a different world: a world with jails where psychopaths could rot for the rest of their miserable lives, a world where you didn’t have to take the law in your own hands because, there was a Law.

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How would Morgan feel if the wolf he refused to kill somehow escapes (it’s not exactly a high-security jail Morgan left him in) and makes good on his promise: killing everyone and even the children? Even if he just managed to kill 5, 3 or even 1 single person, wouldn’t Morgan’s sanctity of life principle become a total joke then?

Isn’t holding on to your principles at all costs incredibly selfish if you think about it? When the cost can be countless other lives? I’m all for integrity, in fact there’s not much I prize higher than that…but there comes a point when you have to ask yourself: should I relent for the sake of others, or keep true to who I am, what I believe in… and fuck everyone else?

If you’re going to choose the latter rather than the former, then I’m sorry to say that you’re not a very nice person even if you are a highly-principled one.
Only a very narrow-minded person refuses to bend the rules, to adapt to different situations, to change and grow. I do get that in Morgan’s mind, his mental recovery is tied to the “sanctity of life” principle he espoused at the time, so it’s got to be hard to shift his views even just a bit on this. Hard, but not impossible. After this latest episode, I understand Morgan a lot better, I still don’t agree with his choices though, even if I now know where they’re coming from.

The art of Peace

Morgan’s principles are admirable but they are also foolish, putting the whole of Alexandria in danger. I’m predicting something truly shocking and horrific will happen to make him realise that. And so we go back to Glenn: Rick is now too devoid of empathy, Morgan is caught up in his own personal crusade…Glenn was somewhere between the two, humane but able to pull the trigger on another being if needs be…I want him back just for that. But with Steven Yeun’s name now removed from the credits, his return doesn’t look as likely as I thought it might be – I’m still clinging on to hope though…as stubbornly and pathetically as Morgan is holding on to his damn principles.

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17 thoughts on “The Art of Peace

  1. I’m conflicted about the sanctity of life that Morgan has. I respect that philosophy, but that only holds true in a utopian world. In their world, if you don’t eliminate the killers, like the Wolves, then you’re complicit in whomever they kill. As a whole, I liked the episode and it was good to find out what happened to Morgan, how he survived and where his morality was derived from. I, too, was hoping to see what happened to Rick and Glen, but I suspect we may not see that even next week, based on the coming attractions.

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    1. Totally agree with you Rob! Of course life is sacred, even and maybe especially in a world overrun by walkers…hence why you can’t let a bunch of innocent people die just because you won’t kill the psychopaths who have survived. As you said, if you don’t stop them you are in a way complicit with their actions. I have no idea what’s in store for next week…the episode ended with someone shouting, asking for the gates to be opened…was it Rick? We shall see 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Liked this episode, though the wolf at the end needed to be killed. Interesting to see were that plot thread goes. Won’t be cheery, I’m sure. If they’re playing games with Glenn, I’m gonna be pissed. I want him back, but toying with the audience is not good writing, at least not in this case. But, I still want him back. Please?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I love the way you’ve put it: “won’t be cheery I’m sure”…indeed I think you’re going to be proven right there!
      As for the Glenn issue, no idea what’s going on…but I guess we’ll find out…eventually.

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  3. I found it hard to warm to Eastman too, probably for completely different reasons to you. Still it niggled me and dominated my thoughts throughout the entire show.

    As silly as it sounds, it was his Aikido skills that brought about my apathy for him. I just didn’t find his attempts to do Aikido believable in the slightest, let alone be good enough to train Morgan to be some sort of Aikido ninja.

    I appreciate the actor only had a few days to learn, but he looked like Bernard Bresslaw out of the Carry On movies, arsing around with the sweeping brush, pretending to be Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) out of the 70’s series ‘Kung Fu. I just couldn’t take him seriously.

    Walking dead is BRILLIANT and has never disappointed me before, but this one was a bit weak for me. I felt like I wanted to fast forward to the next show to find out what was going on with the people that really mattered. Sorry Eastman. Sorry Morgan.

    I knew, due to the comics, that Glenn was meant to die at some point but was TOTALLY unprepared for it last week. I didn’t realise how attached I’d grown to his character and was gutted.

    Like everyone else, I’m hoping he’s not gone. I guess it could be a possibility if they stick to the story of how he dies in the comics. Maybe someone will make a loud noise or something and the walkers will turn their attentions elsewhere before he’s ripped apart, but I doubt it. That would be a fairly weak way out of what has to be an impossible situation.

    Apologies for my poor English, my grammar is dire.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, I more or less agree that Eastman was not the most believable character, from the Aikido skills to his forensic psychology stuff. There was just something about him that didn’t quite ring true. Unless he was meant to be an annoying fool, as I wrote…I mean, who would give a crazed man like Morgan was at first, chances after chances? What the hell was that about putting him in a cell and not locking the door?? When he said: “the door has been opened all along”, I was like “what? why? what’s wrong with you? what’s your game?” I don’t know, all that stuff about the veggie burgers, and so on…he just annoyed me I guess.
      As for glenn, I want him back real bad but I do realise that his situation was pretty hopeless and that the writers would have to be BRILLIANT to get him out of there in a plausible manner. We shall see.
      Your English isn’t poor at all by the way 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Handing out multiple chances has literally come back to bite them both. What….don’t they watch their own show, the fools! Hehehe.

        I’m with you, I love this show along with Game of Thrones and Homeland. Do you watch Homeland?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have never seen Homeland no. I tend to careful select what I’m going to watch because I get addicted and obsessed. I honestly get so emotionally involved in the characters it’s ridiculous, hence the Glenn debacle 2 weeks ago lol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Carrie Mathison the main character in Homeland, is played by Claire Danes and she’s absolutely brilliant in this show.

        It’s just as addictive and fantastic viewing as Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead. Highly recommend it.

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  4. Great observations. I agree. Concerning the sanctity of life, Eastman told Morgan that he would not allow Morgan to kill him. Eastman did value his life. It was very ridiculous how he got bitten by that walker. Almost like a death wish.
    Concerning the wolves, they are irredeemable. It would be evil & irresponsible to let them live, especially now.
    It comes down to killing as self-defense. It is justified.
    When Morgan locked the door I wondered if he’s going to do an ‘Eastman’ and let that psycho Wolf starve to death. Talk about passive aggressive homicide. 😈 and I was VERY upset about Tabitha, dammit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Morgan did look pretty angry before leaving the wolf in his “cell”, didn’t he? But I don’t see him doing an “Eastman”…which *was* the definition of a passive aggressive homicide alright! Then again, the psycho had liked his wife and kids, I would have wanted to make him suffer for as long as possible too. Oh dear, what belligerent talk! Haha
      Yes, it was a damn shame about Tabitha 😢

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This was a really interesting post to me. First, because I’m a huge Walking Dead fan. But also because as a writer, I often put my non-violent characters in situations where they need to make serious decisions about violence. It forced me to look at my own capacity for violence and the thresholds that would make me cross the pacifist line that I live by. It’s an interesting exercise.
    Oh, and personally, I’d kill the zombies 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It *is* interesting, isn’t it? Thinking about the decisions you might or might not make in certain situations. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thank you for reading and giving me your thoughts on it as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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