It’s Obvious Now Why Morgan Is Leaving ‘The Walking Dead’


The Walking Dead’s Morgan Jones is a severely damaged person, as anyone who witnessed his undead wife bite and kill his son might be. The psychological damage of that can do an intense number on a person. To wit: In season three, Morgan loses his grip on sanity and falls under the belief that he must “clear” all zombies. After Rick pays him a visit, and Morgan very nearly kills his old friend, Morgan decamps and continues his zombie-killing spree. He also kills two men without remorse before he finally meets Eastman, the cheesemaker.

In a manner of speaking, Eastman sobers Morgan up. He rids Morgan of his bloodthirst. He vanquishes Morgan’s addiction to killing. It was a good run for Morgan, too. He maintained his murder-sobriety for a long stretch, until the sixth season finale of The Walking Dead when he shot and killed a Savior who had tried to kill Carol. Perhaps recognizing that his itch to kill was returning, Morgan decided for another change of scenery, moving to The Kingdom.

However, after Benjamin’s death late in season seven, Morgan falls off the wagon again. He reverts to his state of insanity fueled by PTSD. He joins the All Out War, and he transforms into a killing machine. He feels invincible. He kills Richard. He slaughters Saviors by the dozen. He nearly kills Jesus. He wants to “clear” again.

For the purposes of the All Out War, that’s great news for Rick and the Kingdommers because it means he’s a one-man killing machine, but it does not bode well for Morgan’s mental health. In this week’s midseason premiere, it possibly comes to a head when he can’t stop himself from killing Gavin, despite the protestations of Ezekiel and Carol, who insist that Morgan spare the Savior. Before Morgan can kill Gavin, however, Henry spears Gavin through the heart with a stick, having learned to kill from Morgan.

That is the moment that hopefully sees Morgan realize he’s crossed the line again. Henry killing Gavin may do for Morgan’s mindset what Eastman was able to do: Give him clarity. Morgan, however, understands that he won’t be able to stop the killing without another change of scenery. This will ultimately be why he leaves The Kingdom. It may not happen in the next episode. It may not even happen until the end of the season, but Morgan recognizes now that he’s a danger to those around him — friend or foe — and that he needs to leave in order to find himself again.

That, ultimately, will be the reason he leaves The Walking Dead and travels as far as Houston, where he connects with the characters from Fear the Walking Dead in what I suspect will be a shared storyline between the two shows. In Fear, Morgan will continue his journey back to sanity. He may even connect with a few of those Fear the Walking Dead characters before he leaves The Walking Dead at the end of the season.

Alas, however, Morgan always seems to find his way back to Rick, and as Andrew Lincoln suggested to EW, he may very well do it again.

“There were lots of goodbyes, and big goodbyes as well,” Lincoln said of the midseason premiere. “But there was a sort of sense, certainly, with Lennie, that it’s until we meet again. It’s always been that way with Rick and Morgan. I don’t know, there’s something in the air, that I feel that it’s not quite the end yet for Rick and Morgan.”

Expect that when Morgan regains his sanity, he bridges the gap between The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead and ends up becoming the man through whom characters from both shows pass back and forth. That may very well be the “new era” to which Scott Gimple recently referred.