Friday, March 1, 2013

‘The Walking Dead’ welcomes back an old friend Sunday

(Note: There will be discussion of a significant spoiler from this Sunday’s episode. If you’re going to whine about spoilers, turn back now)

AMC’s runaway hit ‘The Walking Dead’ has been nothing short of spectacular this season.

These accolades come on the heels of what many considered a sophomore slump last year.

I wasn’t one of the people that disliked watching our survivors get a little quiet time on the farm – but I understood some of the complaints.

Still, season two featured the deaths of three prominent characters – Shane, Dale and Sophia – and the growth of everyone in the cast.

This week, though, ‘The Walking Dead’ is giving viewers something they have been clamoring for since the end of season one: A big return. And we’re not talking a big return like Sarah Wayne Callies’ dead Lori running around in a virginal white dress in the high grass while Rick loses his mind.

No, this week’s episode – entitled ‘Clear’ – takes Rick, Carl and Michonne back to Rick’s hometown to try get their hands on some guns. When they return, Rick runs into an old friend – Morgan.

Who is Morgan? For those who don’t remember (and I doubt you’re reading this if you don’t remember), Morgan was the man who, along with his son Duane, rescued Rick in the opening moments of the pilot when Rick woke up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and didn’t know what was going on.

When Rick parted ways with Morgan and Duane, it was with the explicit purpose of reuniting with them down the road.

Apparently, Rick is in for a surprise when he meets up with Morgan, because not only is his old friend disoriented, but he’s also alone.

It seems that Duane has been turned, and Morgan has been living in Rick’s old town alone ever since.

The great thing about ‘The Walking Dead’ is that the show is ultimately about the human condition – and not just zombies. Sure, we have a lot of zombie kills along the way – but the true strength of ‘The Walking Dead’ springs from the remnants of humanity.

I think it’s an interesting time for Morgan to return. Rick only survived his initial introduction to the zombie apocalypse because Morgan took pity on him and helped him. At first, Rick was balking at putting down walkers – like they were still human.

In the time since, viewers have come to know Rick as a man who doesn’t have a problem putting down humans – let alone walkers. Rick took out his best friend and several prisoners to ensure the safety of his group. He’s not at all the same man Morgan parted with almost a year ago.

Of course, I’m guessing Morgan isn’t the same man either.

As ‘The Walking Dead’ marches towards its inevitable third season conclusion I can’t help but wonder if Rick is still struggling with identifying who the monster really is?

What do you think? Are you anxious for Morgan’s return?


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