THE WALKING DEAD Season 7 Episode 13
Episode Title: “Bury Me Here”
Writer: Scott M. Gimple
Director: Alrick Riley
Previously on The Walking Dead:
Episode 7.12: “Say Yes”
There are spoilers ahead for last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, but don’t pretend that you didn’t know that!
It seems like it’s been a long time since Scott M. Gimple wrote an episode of The Walking Dead. And while Gimple’s creative direction for the series leaves something to be desired, the fact remains that he is still one of the best writers on this show. “Bury Me Here” was another standalone episode that could have been merely filler, but there was enough genuinely powerful emotion and story progression that it stands out among a sea of solo episodes.
This is really Morgan’s episode, although Carol steels the few scenes that she’s in. But again, Morgan is the focus, and Lennie James has once again proven how valuable he is to this show. If AMC’s Low Winter Sun had been a hit, this series probably wouldn’t have gotten James back. However, James is here, and this episode had one of his better performances. “Bury Me Here” gave James the chance to play many sides of Morgan, from grieving father to vengeful warrior. It’s telling that Morgan can barely distinguish between his mourning for Benjamin and the unresolved feelings he has about his own dead son, Dwayne. Morgan hasn’t been the poster child for mental stability since the pilot episode, but he’s coming apart now.
Benjamin was so beloved in the Kingdom that the episode practically gave away his demise. Ezekiel loved him, his brother loved him, and even Morgan was more attached to Benjamin than perhaps he should have been. What made that death so surprising is that the wound seemed like it could have been survivable under ordinary circumstances. Yet these weren’t ordinary circumstances, and the result will likely push the Kingdom into war.
Richard’s plan to get himself killed in place of Benjamin was intriguing, in retrospect. That’s why Richard was so conciliatory towards Morgan. He wanted to give Morgan his blessing as the man who will lead the Kingdom into war. The problem is that Richard’s plan hinged upon Jared shooting him and only him. And it didn’t work out that way. James also showed off his quiet intensity when he initially confronted Richard about what he had done. James’ screen presence alone made that scene work, as Richard confessed. Killing Richard isn’t going to bring back Benjamin, but in an odd and perverse way, it was exactly what Richard wanted. It was a message to the Saviors to let their guard down again.
It was also interesting to see that Gavin, the leader of this group of Saviors, actually had an emotional reaction to Benjamin’s death as well. He’s still a monster, but Gavin seemed genuinely upset at Jared for escalating the situation. Those kind of small moments of characterization go a long way towards making Gavin seem more complex. But if he’s working as a Savior, then his morals probably aren’t all that different than Jared’s. He’s just slightly less of an ass about it.
Getting back to Morgan, the version of himself who had no f***s left to give offered up another intense scene as he broke the news about Alexandria’s fate to Carol. The last time we saw Carol, she seemed blissfully in the dark about what happened to Glenn and Abraham. It was like she easily accepted the lie because it would have meant that she didn’t have to take action. Now she does, and the Kingdom seems ready to join the fight against Negan. That’s enticing because it’s been too long since Carol embraced who and what she is.
Alone in a cabin with his thoughts seems like a dangerous place to leave Morgan. We’ve seen normal Morgan, crazy Morgan, and zen Morgan over the past few seasons. But who is the Morgan that’s going to emerge this time? Sharpening his staff certainly seems to imply that Morgan’s lost his way once again. However, it’s the compelling turn that Morgan has needed for the last season or so.
“Bury Me Here” was one of the more effective standalone episodes this season, and the show would be in a much better place if the previous stand alone episodes had been done in the same manner. There’s still a great show inside of The Walking Dead, but sometimes it needs permission to get out.