POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT
Being a big fan of both “The Walking Dead” and “Fear The Walking Dead” TV series, I was really impressed with the seamless crossover of Morgan, a character who went off to be by himself at the end of season 8, and finally traveled out west, eventually crossing paths with Nick and Alisia Clark, two of the main characters from Fear The Walking Dead at the end of the first episode. Also along for the ride are the characters Strand and Luciana (thought admittedly it had been awhile since I’d watched “Fear”, and didn’t really recognize the latter two at first) and two new characters that are tagging along with Morgan; Al, a female journalist with an awesome armored truck, and John Dorie, a cowboy type, who hasn’t spoken to another single person in over a year. (and so appears to have become a bit mad on first meeting)
I felt that the show’s opening was well executed, because it follows on straight after the strange fate of Negan (who was almost condemned to death, but later saved by Rick “my mercy prevails over my wrath” Grimes, main protagonist of the main zombie TV show). At the beginning of “Fear”, Morgan initially seems to resign himself to being a hermit in the trash camp once occupied by the Scavengers, but one by one, Rick, Carol and “Jesus” visit Morgan in the hopes of convincing him to come back to their camp. The beginning sequence is virtually an extension of The Walking Dead, tacked onto Fear The Walking Dead. Each character tries to convince him to come back to their camp, deciding that it would be better for him to not be alone.
For those unfamiliar with the show up to this point, while battling zombie hordes is both commonplace (as you might imagine) and gory, there has been a steady increase of enemies of the “living” variety. i.e regular humans. There is a marauding group known as the saviors causing havoc throughout the wastelands, and Rick and his group have clashed with them on quite a few occasions right up to the very end of season 8 of The Walking Dead.
Morgan has been continually struggling with the idea of killing humans ever since meeting a “cheese-maker” (a man named Eastman) who taught him the martial art Aikido. This martial art comes with its own philosophies and as Eastman teaches Morgan about the beliefs found within Aikido, Morgan, who before had killed whoever had posed a threat to him in the past, starts to believe that “all life is precious”. After Eastman is bitten, and passes on, Morgan walks away with a new perspective on life.
This belief that “all life is precious” does not make things easy for someone living in post apocalyptic America. Morgan has time after time found himself in situations that put a strain on his beliefs, but if memory serves me, he has always managed to disarm or knock out opponents with his trusty wooden staff. In other words, he finds that generally speaking he can protect himself with a staff, but when others rely on him for life or death situations, then that’s a whole other level of difficulty.
Morgan soon realizes that his beliefs have consequences. He spares the life of an attacker, who, it is later revealed, is the “alpha wolf” of a destructive gang known as The Wolves. These Wolves later go on to cause havoc and death over at Rick’s group camp; Alexandria. Realizing that sparing the “alpha wolf” in the woods led to the attack, Morgan starts to think that maybe his “all life is precious” stance is really not worth holding, or at the very least, not compatible. Morgan goes on to kill his first human after his vow to not take another life when he saves Carol’s life after she is attacked by one of the saviors. Breaking his vow sends Morgan down the long journey of conflicting thoughts and feelings and it’s not long before Morgan is killing left and right, all the while suffering, more or less, in silence.
Morgan is probably one of the more interesting characters because he has very obvious problems going on. Most of the characters do not seem too affected (at least from a moralistic standpoint) by the prospect of killing for the sake of survival, and are able to justify it because groups like the Wolves and the Saviors are the obvious aggressors. Morgan represents the afflicted man and woman who struggles morally to take a life, even if one is provoked and is, by all accounts, “justified” to do so. He suffers PTSD. He needs to find himself after the loss of his son, (which happened in an earlier season, but wasn’t shown.)
Carol is another character that eventually struggles with the constant loss of life and the taking of life, but when she is needed the most, she is there to pretty much save the day. In fact, I think Carol is probably the strongest character of the whole show in terms of where she began and how far she has come. (Carol started out as a timid, abused housewife, but became a strong warrior woman who almost single-handedly took down a cannibal community at “The Terminal”, saving her old group, and then came full circle, actually threatening a wife beater in the community of Alexandria). Carol is a true survivalist, to the point where some aren’t happy with her tough decisions.
Back to The Walking Dead / Fear the Walking Dead crossover…
I was rather impressed with how seamless the process was in having one character transition over into a “sister” show. It never occurred to me that The Walking Dead’s season finale would be aired on the same night that season 4 of Fear The Walking Dead premiered, but of course that’s what you’d ideally want to happen, to help with the transition of a character from one show to the other.
I don’t really read the comics that the TV show is based on, nor do I read any spoilers or theory websites, so I may be completely out of the loop, but I am guessing that Morgan’s crossover from The Walking Dead to Fear The Walking Dead is a hint at the two shows eventually merging ( assuming of course that such a merger has more financial benefits from having one perfect show, rather than, let’s say, two great shows).
Another explanation might be, and it’s possibly a more realistic explanation, is that it’s a great marketing idea to convince Walking Dead fans to give “Fear” a try, and vice versa, if they watch one show, but not the other. Perhaps we might even see Madison Clark guest star alongside Rick and co in season 9 of The Walking Dead, though that’s a little harder to envision since “Fear” takes place on the West Coast, and The Walking Dead takes place around Georgia.
Thanks for reading