We feel for the character Morgan on Fear the Walking Dead. He crossed over from The Walking Dead world, and, like everyone else on both shows, has dealt with severely traumatic experiences. He appears to suffer from mental illness and PTSD because of it, switching from being a philosophical moral leader to an unhinged vengeful, brutal killer at the drop of the hat, even suffering from delusions at one point.
Because he recognized his deteriorating mental state, Morgan decided to leave the group on the Walking Dead, embarked on a solo journey and ended up crossing paths with the gang on Fear the Walking Dead, thankfully in a much calmer and seemingly more stable state of mind. But still, it seems from the season 5 premiere that his character has us scratching our heads even more. In an apocalyptic world where walking dead have taken over, groups of survivors are fighting one another, and safety and resources are difficult to come by, is there room for Morgan’s highly optimistic beliefs about building a better world?
While his ideas of hope give his friends and fellow survivors something to consider about living versus existing, there are still a number of things we simply can’t stand about Morgan and the way he approaches this world.
First, he wants to be a part of a group. Then he wants to be left alone. Then he wants to help the entire surviving world, willing to go to the ends of the earth to do so. Make up your mind, already!
We get that he’s in a tough situation, and grappling with feelings of guilt, hope, regret, remorse, and moral ambiguity all at once. But he seems far too philosophical, with his head in the clouds. And there’s no room for that in this world.
He continuously leads his groups to trouble, even if he doesn’t intend to, because of his constant bad decisions. In the latest season 5 premiere, he makes the group leave their new home at a cushy denim factory to travel a long distance (by plane!) to try and save someone named Logan and his group of survivors who are asking for help. You’d think Alicia would have learned by now from the last time she spoke with someone over a radio that these people are likely not to be trusted.
Sure enough, Morgan leads everyone right into a trap as Logan turns out to be the “L” in the “C&L” trucking company with the late Clayton (who started the “take what you need, leave what you don’t initiative Morgan is trying to carry on). Logan, who didn’t quite share the same generosity as Clayton, lured them away to take back what he believes to be rightfully his. Great job, Morgan!
“There has to be another way.” “I want to help people.” It’s almost like we’re stuck in an infinitely optimistic motivational speech with Morgan that simply won’t end. We get it - you believe that there’s a better way to existing in this world and that everyone must not just survive, but survive with a purpose.
But the key part of that is to survive. Maybe you want to start an apocalyptic church for believers to learn to change their murderous ways. But consider that an actual priest is part of your former group, and even he can see the way of the new world better than you can.
There are great values to live by, but one also needs to have his guard up when, you know, the world has come to an end! Morgan seems to focus on his morals and being “good” to a fault, instead of facing reality and using the fighting skills he learned.
And remember when he made Carol start questioning herself by feeding her that whole “life is precious” speech? Life was precious, perhaps. And maybe it still is, to some degree. But in this world, it’s dog eat dog. Play the game, Morgan, or at least move aside and let the badass Carol do what she does best.
Sometimes, it seems that while Morgan has a heart the size of Alexandria, he lacks something far more important in this world: logic. Letting the leader of a savage group who just killed tons of your people go free doesn’t exactly seem smart.
At least he sees no issue in killing walkers - just living people. If Morgan starts to see walkers as “people” and refuses to kill them, too, however, we’re really going to have to worry.
From not only refusing to kill but also protecting the Wolf leader Owen, even stopping Carol from killing him, Morgan just seems to get in the way more than he does help. When he allowed a group of Wolves to leave the Safe Zone, he almost got Rick killed, for goodness sakes!
And while the leader Owen turned out to show some sort of remorse, Morgan’s decision to keep him alive and have Denise treat his wound seemed ridiculously merciful of him. That’s the kind of action that gets someone killed, Morgan.
There was so much hoopla around Morgan joining the Fear the Walking Dead cast after crossing over from The Walking Dead, which he appeared on from the beginning (minus a short hiatus.) His return to The Walking Dead was amazing, so it makes sense that showrunners thought he could carry this show.
But he really can’t. His constant insistence on acting like he’s working for Habitat for Humanity or a new-world FEMA is turning the show into something it wasn’t meant to be. We want Madison back! While she, too, wanted to help and save people, she wasn’t completely and irrationally lost in the idea like he is.
It’s almost like Morgan knows deep down that these people are bad, but he convinces himself otherwise in hopes that he can turn the world around. While it’s great to have hope and faith when someone is staring you down with a gun, face dirtied with blood after having just massacred your friends, chances are redemption might be out of the question.
At least in this world. Morgan, however, has risked his safety, and the safety of others, many times believing that people deserve second chances and could be rehabilitated.
We get that Morgan wants the group to move away from becoming savages who live by the words “kill or be killed,” but this is an apocalypse. And that is the name of the game! Sure, you don’t have to be brutally cruel like Negan and smash peoples’ heads in so hard that their eyes pop out of their faces.
But trying to offer mercy to people who are 99% likely to backstab and kill you if you don’t kill them first isn’t the way of this world. He’s stuck in the world pre-apocalypse. And while that world might return one day, it isn’t the world now. Not to mention that he has zero chance of ever seeing a new world if he doesn’t do what needs to be done to survive.
This is in no way a knock on British actor Lennie James, who is fantastic in the role. But Morgan has zero compelling material to work with. We actually like seeing unhinged Morgan who whips his stick around like a ninja, chopping walkers and enemies who get in his way more than this somber man hellbent on having a purpose to distract him from what’s really going on.
We get that the show needs to have a moral center. But Morgan is most entertaining when he lets go of his idealistic hopes and just lives the way he should in such an apocalyptic society. So we hope to see far less talk and more action from his character going forward.