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The Walking Dead: Bury Me Here

It’s appropriate that an episode titled “Bury Me Here” includes a couple of characters dying.  I’ll hold off revealing their identities until after the jump.  One of these characters went to the trouble of digging his own grave in advance and posting a sign so as to make the purpose of the hole clear.  Signs are a theme of the episode as Morgan flashes back to the days when his grief turned to madness which resulted in him posting warning signs all around him.  The writers of The Walking Dead have been posting signs too.  Every episode is loaded with signs spelling out exactly what is going to happen before the season finale.  If anything that happened in this episode surprised you, you haven’t been paying attention.

Benjamin was always going to die.  You knew it from the minute he made his first appearance.  He was too good.  Everywhere he went, he brightened people’s day.  He was Morgan’s student, Ezekiel’s cheerleader and he was raising his own little brother fer crying out loud.  In case you missed the point, Scott Gimple had characters spend much of the episode’s first act talking about how sad everyone would be if Benjamin happened to die.  It was like the moment when Meg Ryan showed up in Top Gun.  You knew Anthony Edwards’ Goose was cooked.  When you saw Benjamin playing with his little bro, you knew he was a goner.

The deal between the Kingdom and the Saviors was always going to end in violence.  Daryl said as much a few episodes back.  Over the course of the season, we have witnessed several drop-offs each of which became progressively more tense.  After the last one ended in a scuffle there was nowhere left to go but bloodshed.  As a viewer, it was obvious that the next drop off scene would signal the end of the truce.  When Carol told Benjamin that he should go on the drop off, it was equally obvious he was marching to his doom.

Richard was always going to get himself killed.  You can’t exactly blame the guy.  Like viewers, he was getting impatient with the show’s pace.  Despite the fact that peace with Negan is untenable, certain characters like Ezekiel and Morgan continue to refuse to take action.  Richard made a valid point in an earlier episode.  The arrangement between the two communities strengthened the Saviors while weakening the Kingdom.  The longer it took for Ezekiel to stand up to Negan, the harder the inevitable fight would be.

Previously, Richard tried to light the fuse on a war with the Saviors by using Carol as bait.  His plan was convoluted and unfortunately he picked the wrong accomplice in Daryl who would have gone along with any plan that didn’t involve putting Carol in jeopardy.  But apparently Daryl didn’t tell anyone about Richard’s plotting which gave him the opportunity to sabotage a drop-off.  Richard intended to play the sacrificial lamb, but not surprisingly things didn’t go according to plan.  Instead of killing Richard, the Saviors randomly shot poor Benjamin.

Following the death of his student, Morgan had a little flip-out that included flashbacks to the fan favorite episode “Clear” (also written by Gimple).  Later, Morgan mistakenly calls Benjamin by his son’s name.  The idea is that Morgan viewed Benjamin as a surrogate son.  You can see how that would be the case, but the show never bothered to establish their relationship in any meaningful way.  When Benjamin dies, we see Morgan’s grief, but as a viewer I was never invested enough in Benjamin as a character to be moved by his passing.  He was always clearly a “red shirt” anyway.

Morgan was always going to return to killing.  From the very beginning, The Walking Dead has mined the morality of the apocalypse for drama with certain characters willing to do whatever it takes and other characters drawing lines they refuse to cross (and then usually being forced to cross them anyway).  It’s one thing to be merciful, but Morgan’s brand of pacifism has crossed over into stupidity.  People have died because Morgan refused to kill bad people even when the show made it clear that they were remorseless killers.

When Morgan finally does take a life, it’s not a bad guy.  Instead, he brutally murders Richard in retribution for getting Benjamin killed.  It’s not a smart move.  Richard, despite his flaws, would have been a useful ally against the Saviors.  Killing him doesn’t make sense, but it does connect the dots on the story the writers are telling.  Richard’s death was somehow even less moving than Benjamin’s.  It carried all the dramatic weight of sacrificing a pawn.

Carol was always going to get back into the fight.  Like Morgan, Carol has been sidelined with a story-line involving a crisis of conscious.  It was a random development that never fit with the character, but was apparently necessary as a stalling tactic.  Previously, Daryl lied to Carol about the deaths of Glenn and Abraham because telling the truth would bring her back into the conflict.  After seeing Benjamin die and killing Richard, Morgan visits Carol to bring her up to speed.  As a result, Carol returns to the Kingdom to be part of the war effort while Morgan seemingly moves into her cabin.

The plot is advanced incrementally which I suppose is a good thing.  Plenty of episodes spend an hour running in place.  But all of the events have been so heavily foreshadowed that by the time they come to pass there’s no drama left to wring out of them.

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Posted on March 13, 2017, in TV, Walking Dead and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I was under the impression that Richard and Morgan had planned for Morgan to kill Richard at the drop off as a way to reestablish trust with the Saviors so as to gain the element of surprise. Also, I’m not sure killing Benjamin was completely random. Benjamin attacked the Savior when Morgan got hit in the head in the drop off before that. So he had a bone to pick with him.

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    • After Morgan killed Richard, he repeated some of Richard’s monologue word for word as a way to establish trust with the Saviors. But I didn’t get the impression Richard knew what Morgan was going to do. In the same monologue, Richard said he would work to lead the Kingdom in the war against the Saviors.

      I’m fuzzy on previous drop-offs. We have seen quite a few of them at this point. But my recollection is that Richard left the last one (in “New Best Friends”) “on notice”. Benjamin may have gotten in trouble, but Richard had good reason to think he would be the one to be made an example of. He was the one who refused to hand his gun over escalating the situation to near-violence.

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      • Benjamin whacked the Savior. You might remember when they got back to the Kingdom Ezekiel told B he was impressed with his skill but cautioned him that just because he could fight didn’t mean that he always should. You’re right that Richard was a more vocal instigator in previous dropoffs. But Benjamin was a legit target too. Especially after Richard gave the impression he was ready and willing to take one for the team.

        Richard made a few comments to Morgan that seemed like throw aways that I think revealed the plan to have Morgan kill Richard. Richard told Morgan the part about doing “something” to regain the Saviors’ trust. That something was Richards sacrifice, which was his plan for the drop off in the first place. Richard also told Morgan it would require Morgan to kill again. Kill Richard that is. It was actually a genuine move. Richards probably a pretty good fighter and all but resetting relations with the Saviors to regain surprise is going to be much bigger than any one person. It’s possible I’m reading too much into those lines, but it seems to me that Richard had something specific in mind when he talked about getting trust back. It would have been really odd if he didn’t, I think. Also, I think the scene would have been written differently. Richard could have just said, ” we’ll get back their trust and then attack them.” The inclusion of the phrase “do something” to get back their trust, I believe, was placed their for the viewer to recall after the fact to reveal that Morgan and Richard had planned it.

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        • You’re right that Richard saying he’d lead the fight against the Saviors is in conflict with my theory, unless he didn’t mean it literally. And, really, Richard probably couldn’t see himself literally leading the fight against the Saviors.

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        • I think when he said he would take a leadership role, he meant being in the front lines as opposed to being one of the generals.

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        • When Morgan quoted Richard to the Saviors, I though, Richard sure did make a good argument for killing him. But I don’t think that was supposed to be some kind of agreement. Prior to getting killed, Richard and Morgan had a testy exchange with Richard telling Ezekiel they could talk about it later. It seemed to me like Richard expected to be around to talk about it after the drop off. He also fought back against Morgan which could have been instinct or play-acting, but he sure seemed surprised to me. On Talking Dead, Scott Gimple talked about how Morgan’s actions were motivated by pure rage, so I don’t think it was the writer’s intention for this to be some pre-arranged plan. Then again, he said “the audience is always right” so if you interpreted it that way, Gimple would say you were correct. That to me is a pretty lazy excuse for vague writing. The fact that we are having this conversation at all demonstrates how imprecise the writing was. That’s a pretty massive plot point to be unclear about.

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  2. I’m probably off base. I haven’t seen my theory repeated by any reviewers. But how noble and badass would it be if Richard had agreed to have Morgan strangle him on the ground just to gain a strategic advantage. Of course, if it was planned out thatbway, Morgan could have told Ezekiel as much. But I’m still holding out for a dlashvsck reveal down the road to rehabilitate Morgan when everyone is turning in him.

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    • I don’t see Morgan being an exile for long. He’s gonna spend some time in Carol’s love shack and then he’ll show up when the plot requires him to save the day. Most of the survivors have at least as much blood on their hands as Morgan does at this point.

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    • Richard was definitely shocked by Morgan’s actions; if there was any plan, he wasn’t part of it.

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  3. This article could be called “The Predictable Inevitability of THE WALKING DEAD.” Or, alternately, “Everyone Expects THE WALKING DEAD.’

    I didn’t see Benjamin as marked for death before this ep–he’d just been a non-entity–but he was definitely marked for death IN this ep, and well ahead of the event.

    I was just discussing with another fellow how little sense the Savior leader made. Leaving aside the fact that he discerned the shipment was short via magic, it was still clear, when he took the guns from the Kingdom delegation, that he was going to do something bad. But when he learned Benjamin had died from his wound, he was furious with the guy who shot him. What in hell did he intend? I suppose he may have wanted the guy to shoot Richard. In any event, Benjamin bled out in part because the Savior leader detained them after he was shot.

    And don’t you love the way Morgan yells out all that stuff about Carol right in front of the Saviors?

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    • LOL. “Everyone Expects THE WALKING DEAD.” Nice.

      Maybe it’s just me, but I had Benjamin pegged for death from his first appearance. His only function in the story is to die and inspire his mentor. If this were Benjamin’s story, Morgan would have died Ben Kenobi style. You could tell a story about a teacher and student that didn’t end with one of their deaths, but TWD wasn’t going to invest in that. It’s all about short cuts. And a dead kid is as quick of a narrative short cut as you’re going to find.

      Speaking of the shipment – 12 cantaloupes? Seriously. How is that even worth the effort? No wonder Ezekiel doesn’t want to go to war. All he has to do is drop off a dozen melons a week.

      I was puzzled by the leader’s reaction. It’s part of a bigger problem. Negan’s entire organization seems to be designed to inspire revolt. The way they have been portrayed, you couldn’t possibly work with the Saviors. Sooner or later, they are just going to randomly screw you over just because they can. But this guy, for whatever reason, seems borderline reasonable. His anger over Benjamin’s death is especially perplexing. If he wanted to make sure the kid lived, he could have done more to prevent his death.

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      • “But this guy, for whatever reason, seems borderline reasonable. His anger over Benjamin’s death is especially perplexing. If he wanted to make sure the kid lived, he could have done more to prevent his death.”

        I don’t know what he expected to happen. If one reads it as his planning to kill Richard, it doesn’t make any sense for him to wait until the next meeting–he would have just done it at the last one. The event that touched off the dispute that led to the shooting was that the shipment was short one melon but he didn’t know it was short until he counted them. For that matter, he couldn’t have known there was supposed to be 12. Ezekiel couldn’t exactly pick up the phone, call him to let him know. Did the King deliver the news by royal pigeon? If he was going to go so far as to kill someone, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that he would get upset over who got killed and if he wasn’t planning to kill someone, why was he angry? Angry enough to kill his own man, in fact. There are possible explanations for some of these things. The show just doesn’t offer them.

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        • There was an interesting exchange between Gimple and Hardwick on Talking Dead the other night. Hardwick asked about Morgan’s motivation for killing Richard the way he did. I forget the details, but Hardwick came up with a more detailed motivation for Morgan to behave the way he did. And Gimple responded that no, he was just full of rage. But you know what? Your story is better than the one I came up with. Then he started talking about how the audience is always right and whatever they come up with is canon. Except, that’s not how writing works. Yes, you can leave some things open to interpretation, but as a writer you should have these details figured out.

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  4. Jim The Hammer

    There is always so much idiotic crap going on in these episodes, that it hurts to even try to figure out any logical line of thought in any of it. As mentioned above, 12 melons. OK, that is moronic enough, but let’s delve a little further into the genius writing here: to deliver the 12 precious melons, we’ll load them onto a what, a 5-ton flatbed truck? AND another vehicle? AND an entire squad of soldiers to guard over the this crucial transaction??

    And then there’s another one of Richard’s Rube Goldberg-type ‘plan’ to start the inevitable war: line up a slew of shopping carts as a clever diversion in the form of an arrow to point at a pre-dug grave which will be his final resting place after he sneakily removes one melon and then sacrifices himself because a miscount of one melon will definitely be the flashpoint needed to get things going because for Ezekiel this will definitely be the breaking point since he’s shown himself to be nothing but absolutely submissive in his quest to maintain peace at all costs in the past. This ‘plan’ has more holes in it than that stupid boat Rick and Aaron jumped into like complete idiots a few eps back. (BTW-When I first saw the shopping carts, I immediately thought they were going to get hijacked by Bubbles and the rest of the Trailer Park Boys, but I digress…)

    Don’t forget that other awesome ‘plan’ when Richard was with Daryl at the Smokey and the Bandit trailer, ‘We’ll kill these guys, then leave a trail of breadcrumbs to Carol’s place, whom they will kill in retaliation, and Ezekiel will then get on board and blah blah blah blah…. I mean, seriously, you want to start a war? It’s not really too difficult, all you need to do is KILL SOME OF THEM. The whole, ‘trail-to-Carol’s-and-then-this-and-that-will-happen’ stupidity is what really makes me think this show is written by 5-year-old children.

    Things came to head over a melon.

    Just start shooting. There. It’s war. Move the story along for the love of shit.

    And a final thought here: you want to strike first and strike hard? Why not poison their shipments? Slow acting poison in the food they’re forcing you to give them anyway, there’s your method of delivery already in place, which will likely take out most of their force. At the very least, you know what it would do?

    Start a war.

    Rant’s over.

    (Drops the mic)

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