There’s a reason why Morgan is one of my favorite characters on The Walking Dead and why episodes featuring him tend to be the best – Lennie James is one hell of an actor. It’s fine if others want to equate looking very sad and crying a lot to top tier performances, with proclamations of being “snubbed” when it comes to the Emmy’s, but James truly delivers various layers of emotions and nails the nuances afforded to his character. “Bury Me Here” finds plenty of moments for James to once again shine, even if the episode really asks a lot, perhaps too much, from Morgan.
I will say that the big, shocking moments of this episode, along with the ending really sealed the deal for what the show was going for and establishing a level of momentum for the season in regards to the Kingdom. Given how pro-Kingdom I’ve been since its introduction this season, it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise that I responded well to this episode. It’s clearly darker than the most recent episodes, but the meaning behind that darkness feels earned. “Bury Me Here” literally takes a man of peace and pushes him to the point of crushing a man’s skull in front of a large group of people. Was it worth it?
To answer that question, we have to talk a little about Benjamin. Logan Miller did a fine job with this character, but there was never a doubt in my mind that he would be killed at some point. The Walking Dead has established how bleak of a show it is again and again. A character this happy and pleasant was never going to survive. This episode really goes overboard by giving Benjamin a moment with everyone important to him, as well as a reference to a new possible girlfriend. There really just wasn’t a way out for him this week. And that’s the path we went down.
Some ominous shots and setups paved the way for a disastrous meeting with the saviors. Credit goes to the show’s establishment of this weekly meeting, as we know the Saviors are cruel, but this particular unit at least tries to hold it together, save for the one jerk who taunts Richard and took Morgan’s stick. This week reached a terrible breaking point that wasn’t even brought on by the Saviors. Regardless of when you caught on (there are big clues in the early stages), Richard sabotaged the meeting, thinking he could sacrifice himself for the greater good. It doesn’t go as planned; Benjamin takes a bullet in the leg and later dies on Carol’s dinner table.
While this is quite the tragedy for everyone involved, including Gavin, the lead Savior who heads the Kingdom drop-off missions, the more shocking event is what follows. Pushed to dark levels not seen since Season 3’s “Clear”, Morgan flips out. He later discovers the missing cantaloupe that put everything into action and confronts Richard. Despite a heartfelt explanation, it still leads to Morgan killing Richard brutally and publicly. How is one supposed to take that? That is what pushes me to commend James for his efforts on this show.
I get that Benjamin was something of a young Padawan to Morgan’s Jedi Master, but was that relationship portrayed as strong enough to push Morgan this far? It’s here where I guess I must remind myself that this is a comic book-turned-TV show and The Walking Dead has done much better here than it has in the past. Sometimes you just take certain things for granted, but here’s the thing – I like that Morgan was pushed this far. With only so many episodes left to get to the point (a brewing war), the time was going to have to come when Morgan would be ready to fight. He may still be claiming openly that the Kingdom is here to serve the Saviors, but I can really get behind his state of mind as far as what he says to Carol and how he seems to be conducting himself, now that’s he lost another “innocent” to the world he lives in.
Speaking of people in need of a change, Carol has a few of her own moments allowing her some reconsideration. Her intro into this episode shows us how unsure she feels about the present, since Daryl’s surprise arrival. She questions Morgan, who is initially hesitant to open up about what Negan’s wrath has wrought. Following the death of Benjamin, Morgan sees Carol again and fesses up about Negan’s rule over Rick and Alexandria. This is what she knew she needed to know and Walking Dead fans surely put out a sigh of relief.
While the decision to make Carol conflicted about her role as an all-around badass was introduced poorly, it has since been developed rather nicely. That said, this was the sort of thing that couldn’t last forever, as it is far more interesting and exciting to watch Melissa McBride be a warrior against so many opposing forces, including Negan and his crew of asshats and bullies. She ends this episode by moving into the Kingdom and making Ezekiel aware that it may not be time to fight now, but the fighting will have to happen soon enough.
And that’s where we are now. With three episodes left in the season, Rick is on his way to finding more guns to help complete his army, the Kingdom is on standby and Rosita and Sasha are soon heading off on a kamikaze mission. All of this and the show has managed to find a good balance of dramatic and darkly humorous episodes to make this second half of season 7 feel more entertaining and quick to deliver forward momentum regarding the big bad of the season and what needs to happen. There was even time to bring in some good tiger-related humor, which is all I ever want when it comes to Kingdom-related stories. I’m happy to get that and more, which this episode delivered.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: Morgan clears out a good number, but the honor goes to Carol and her use of a road sign to take down multiple walkers in one sweep.
- There’s got to be more secure ways to transport melons.
- Morgan got his staff back, but that one savior is still going to go down hard at some point.
- Props to Karl Makinen as Richard, a conflicted character who I rather enjoyed, as far as the few episodes we had to establish the kind of guy he was and what led him down the path he chose.
- The woman with a headscarf was responsible for the good moment with the tiger – “Okay, I think I just pissed myself. I’m gonna go.”
- Jerry took a hit? Yep, that Savior is definitely going down hard.
- Morgan is definitely making his staff into a spear.
- Thanks for reading and feel free to hear what myself and a few other fans of the show have to say about the series on the The Walking Dead TV Podcast.