“Here’s Not Here”
“You said you like talkin’… I remember that. ‘Little chats with a stranger by the fire.’ You said it was like the movies. And, you said you want everything that I have…every last bit.
Well, here it is…every last bit.”
After last week’s cliffhanger episode of TWD, which left us dangling like Nicholas’s viscera (yes, I am hitching my cart to that horse…in my mind, those walkers are tearing into Nicholas’s body, buying Glenn a moment of time to get his ass under that dumpster until Jesus can save him. And, even if Glenn is bitten, he will still be able to get back to Alexandria and say goodbye to Maggie, who tells him she’s pregnant with their child…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!), many anxious and discontented TWD fans chafed a bit at being forced to endure another week of wondering about Glenn’s, and Rick’s, fate as we were served, instead, the elegant 90-minute backstory episode of Morgan Jones in TWD’s Epsiode 604, “Here’s Not Here.”
To me, it would be a real shame and a true disservice to this haunting, masterful episode if the appreciation it deserves gets lost in the gluttony and “Now, now, now!” demands of our bingewatching culture.
I have read the grousing, the negative comments on social media regarding “Here’s Not Here,” and I beseech you, my disgruntled darlings, to find your chill, breathe, and redirect.
The story of Glenn Rhee’s fate, and Rick Grimes’s beautiful hand, will be told, no worries there, my darlings of discontent…and when we do get our answers, we may, in hindsight, be very glad we got a space of time to process all the information that Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero, Inc. serves us. And trust me, my disgruntled darlings, we will get served.
I actually do want to delve into this visionary episode more deeply one day. I think, in retrospect, it will be considered one of the finest episodes in The Walking Dead television series. It reminded me, in many respects, of standalone episodes from the Season 4 era, namely “The Grove,” “Still,” and “Live Bait,” when Scott M. Gimple began breaking away from the constraints of linear chronology within the TWD storyline and began serving us these shining, dreamlike,stilletto vignettes that cut right through us and filleted our hearts with terrifying precision.
From the first shot of TWD Episode 604, when Morgan Jones (Lennie James) turns directly to the camera and delivers his opening monologue, to the final sequence, when we see that Morgan did indeed spare the young, dark-haired Wolf’s life, keeping him locked away until the mortally wounded young man (most certainly) will escape, and then, living or undead, will begin another unrepentant, murderous assault upon the surviving citizens of Alexandria “Here’s Not Here” delivers TWD fans another bracing slap-up, Gimple-style. The episode ends with Morgan locking the door of the detention mansion he is keeping the young man locked away in, in secret, stepping out into the street, just as a voice that sounds like Rick’s screaming from the outside of the wall to “Open the gates!”
And we fans, jaws slack, with yet another stinging hot red handprint emblazoned on our cheeks, can only manage to catch our collective breaths, and sputter, “Thank you, Gimple, sir… may we have another?“
Deadies all around to: Lennie James, and John Carroll Lynch for masterful, haunting performances as Morgan and Eastman; Scott M. Gimple for yet another stellar screenplay; Stephen Williams, director; Michael Satrazemis, director of photography, for another gorgeously shot episode; and, of course, Tabitha the goat, instant-internet superstar and social media sensation.
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Much love, TWD darlings…until next week, and enjoy the playlist, which features epic live performances by legends Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Buckley. While I am not able to worship (“ship”) this amazing episode in my preferred twearkeresque fashion at the moment, I can only hope that my humble musical offering shows Episode 604 the love I feel for it, in proper, redirected fashion. RIP Eastman. Your teachings, and message, live on, even if we TWD fans (and characters) live to regret Morgan’s continuing insistence on putting them into his daily practice. ❤ ❤
(All images used in this post are previously archived screenshots from AMC’s The Walking Dead television series.)
Nina Simone, “Hey, Buddy Bolden”
Simon & Garfunkle, “The Boxer”
Jimi Hendrix, “Machine Gun” (featuring one of the sickest guitar solos known to mankind)
The While Stripes, “I’m Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman Every Day”
The Head And The Heart, “Lost In My Mind”
Eddie Vedder, “No Ceiling”
Jeff Buckley, “Dream Brother” (live at Club Logo)
FC Kahuna, “Hayling”
Bob Marley and The Wailers, “Redemption Song”