First Aired March 12th, 2017.
After a restless night, Carol (played by Melissa McBride) goes to the Kingdom to ask Morgan (played by Lennie James) what’s happening between Alexandria and the Kingdom. He remains silent about what happened but offers to bring Carol to Alexandria. But she refuses.
King Ezekiel (played by Khary Payton) learns that several crops have been ruined by infestation and they may have to burn much more, which threatens their deliveries to the Saviors. Morgan begins to train the younger brother of his protégé Benjamin (played by Logan Miller). Ezekiel and Richard (played by Karl Makinen) lead Morgan, Benjamin, and a few others on another delivery and find the road blocked. They find an open grave but no other ominous signs and continue to the meeting place. Gavin (played by Jayson Warner Smith), the leader of the group of Saviors, demands their guns and reveal they have only eleven cantaloupes instead of the required twelve. Jared (played by Joshua Mikel) pulls his gun and points it at Richard who resignedly accepts his fate; instead, Joshua shoots Benjamin. Gavin demands the remaining cantaloupe the next day, and the group rushes to get Benjamin back to the Kingdom for treatment. They get him as far as Carol’s cottage, where they struggle to treat his injuries, but he dies.
Morgan might as well have told Carol everything if he was going to offer to bring her to Alexandria, she’d find out either way, but that saves them a day of traveling. It’s ridiculous that all this death and violence erupted over a single cantaloupe. Shows of strength are one thing, but this was obviously overkill: it’s like they were bored and ready to start a fight over anything. The episode cut to commercial when Jared fired the gun but it was already obvious Benjamin was the person shot. He appeared in a handful of episodes and suddenly took center stage in this one; we learned about his brother and a crush he has, it was almost a eulogy leading up to his getting killed. The writers need to be more careful about this because when a death is so clearly obvious it takes away from the impact. Don’t leave a character in the background then suddenly give them a big role, it’s basically announcing they’re on the way out.
Benjamin’s death sends Morgan into a tailspin and he becomes emotionally unstable, similar to how he was in the third season. He very nearly commits suicide in a fit of rage and grief but is able to pull himself out of it. Remembering the open grave, Morgan confronts Richard, who reveals he took the missing cantaloupe to provoke the Saviors into killing him and showing Ezekiel and the others they need to fight back. Richard recounts the fall of his first community that led to the death of his family and his regret that if he had taken action they might still be alive. Richard is more determined to fight the Saviors and tries to convince Morgan they have to kill. They deliver the cantaloupe the next day and upon realizing Benjamin is dead, Gavin sends Jared away. Morgan suddenly knocks Richard to the ground and chokes him; over Ezekiel’s objections he bashes his head in and reveals what he did to everyone. After the Saviors leave, Morgan calls Benjamin by his son’s name and Morgan decides to remain behind when the others return to the Kingdom.
Morgan finally broke his pacifist vow and he couldn’t have picked a better guy than Richard. Richard did want to give his life for the Kingdom anyway and Morgan just made good on that promise. Richard had all the best intentions, but the very worst ways of trying to get his points across, which all involved at least one death. Richard was a nice secondary villain this season, his death at least was a surprise. Especially in that it was Morgan who ended him. But that long monologue about his family and his tragedy was basically his farewell speech. Morgan tried hard to find that peaceful life amid all the violence and Benjamin became a surrogate son for him. Everyone on this show has experienced loss, but whenever Morgan does it affects his psyche to the point that he breaks. While he managed to regain himself, my prediction is Morgan will try to overcorrect his no violence attitude and become almost like a feral warrior. Watching how Morgan handles himself in this new time of grief will be a compelling story arc.
Morgan buries Richard’s body in the grave he dug and goes to Carol and tells her everything that happened in Alexandria. Morgan announces his intention to kill the Saviors one by one, but Carol instead convinces him to move into her cottage and give himself space to think. She moves into the Kingdom and tells Ezekiel they have to fight, and he agrees. The last shot shows Morgan carving his walking stick into a spear. I can’t wait to see what kind of damage Morgan can do with his updated weapon. But he is not in the right headspace for any kind of fight. But, although devastated by the news of Alexandria, Carol is. It’s great to see that she is coming out of the emotional void she was buried in and Carol the Badass is back.
“Shiva likes you.” “That’s what I’m afraid of.”
Take note Walking Dead fans: If a supporting character you like suddenly gets more screen time, prepare for the worst.
“We have to get ready, we have to fight.” “We do, but not today.”
Is it weird to have a sudden craving for cantaloupes?
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