When The Walking Dead returns next month, the season is expected to deal with the return of Morgan Jones, a character we have known since the pilot episode, but who we’ve only seen in a smattering of episodes so far. The season six trailer hints that Morgan’s rivalry may upset the balance of the group with Alexandria and perhaps even threaten Rick’s role as leader.
How that plays out remains to be seen, but before season six kicks off, we thought it would be worthwhile to look back at the relationship between Rick and Morgan to see how the past may inform the future of the series. And what it reveals is that, based on the mirrored events of the first two interactions between Rick and Morgan, it’s quite possible that Morgan has not shown up to Alexandria to hurt Rick. Rather, he’s there to save him.
Here are the key moments between Rick and Morgan through the first five seasons of the series, most of which can be reduced to their interactions in two episodes, the pilot and the third-season episode “Clear.”
Welcome To Oblivion
Morgan is actually the first person Rick saw after he woke up from his coma. Rick rushed from the hospital back to his own home to search for Lori and Carl. It was outside of his own house that Duane — Morgan’s son — hit Rick in the back of the head with a shovel, mistaking him for a walker. Before Rick passed out, he caught a glimpse of Morgan approaching, taking out a zombie on the way. Morgan demanded to know what kind of wound Rick had, holding a gun to his face. “What’s your wound. You tell me, or I will kill you,” Morgan said, worrying that Rick was a walker.
Needless to say, they didn’t meet on the best of terms.
When Rick woke up, however, Morgan had redressed his wounds, but his suspicions about Rick had not been allayed. He was concerned that Rick had been infected, so Morgan had tied Rick to the bed. Morgan demanded to know if Rick had been bit, but Rick — in a coma during the zombie outbreak — didn’t understand the line of questioning.
Over dinner that night, Morgan explained to Rick what was going on, and it was then that we first heard the term “walkers.”
“I guess if this is the first you’re hearing of it,” he told Rick, “I know how it must sound.”
Later that night, Rick, Morgan and Duane spotted Morgan’s wife — now a walker — through the window. “I should have put her down. I know that,” Morgan grieved. “I just didn’t have it in me.”
After the scare with Morgan’s wife, the next morning Rick and Morgan began to bond. Rick killed his first walker, returned to his home, and discovered that Lori and Carl had likely left alive. Afterwards, Rick took Morgan and Duane to the sheriff’s office, where Morgan and Duane took a shower, the best moment either had had in weeks.
After the shower, Rick loaded Morgan and Duane up with weapons from the sheriff’s office and asked Morgan to go with him to Atlanta. “In a few more days,” Morgan said, taking a walkie talkie from Rick, with which they could communicate. “You’re a good man, Rick. I hope you find your wife and son.”
Rick didn’t see him again until season three. Meanwhile, Morgan couldn’t find the strength to put his wife down.