Easily the best episode of the season so far, "Bury Me Here", last night's new episode of The Walking Dead, worked by effectively summoning ghosts of the show's past and bringing the relationship between the Kingdom and the Saviours down from corny heights into the realm of something more like real human reaction. Above all, the episode worked because of Lennie James' performance as Morgan.
Spoilers after the screenshot.
Just watching him work through an internal process as he realises he's said "Dwayne" instead of "Benjamin" was amazing. If that didn't break your heart a little you're not human. The episode reminded us that the reason Morgan clings to a form of pacifism that seems ridiculous at times is because he can't trust himself to see any meaning in any human life otherwise.
The representative of Negan, Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith), is also a much more credible Negan than Negan himself. You get the sense that he really wants the situation between the Saviours and the Kingdom to go on working and he seems tired and stressed instead of Negan's goofiness. I can actually believe this guy sees the big picture.
Carol (Melissa McBride) had a much smaller role than I was expecting in the episode. Watching her, I felt more the anticipation of watching a superhero, which Carol has somehow become, getting ready to fight the supervillain. With Morgan it feels much more like watching someone trying to figure out how to live in this hellish world. Benjamin (Logan Miller) repeating the line about injuring an opponent means injuring oneself has ironic meaning for both Morgan and Richard (Karl Makinen). The incident makes it clear to Morgan that injuring an opponent doesn't necessarily accrue for oneself equivocal spiritual injury, something that should have been obvious but the fact that Morgan didn't see it isn't bad writing, it's that Morgan can't trust himself to see life clearly so he's forced to adhere to an ideology. And the incident makes it clear to Richard that the rules of reciprocity aren't as clean as he thinks they are.
You know, Karl Makinen looks suspiciously like Karl Malden.
I said some weeks ago that Daryl was right for not wanting to work with Richard because Richard was the kind of guy who was going to get people around him killed. I didn't know how right I was. When he talks about the dream of self sacrifice he'd concocted for himself, I doubt there were many in the audience who couldn't identify with the rage Morgan was barely keeping a lid on. At the same time, Richard is a perfectly credible character.