‘The Walking Dead’: Did Morgan Act Out Of Revenge Or Grant Richard’s Wish?

For fans of The Walking Dead Sunday night, many probably started getting really nervous at some of the potential foreshadowing regarding Morgan (Lennie James) given the show’s history of tragic endings for any character on TWD who acts as a moral compass. While Morgan may have dodged a bullet — quite literally — Sunday night, there certainly was a part of him that died in that episode.

As many Walking Dead fans were watching this episode, one huge question came up for many viewers regarding the true motives behind Morgan’s final actions. Did he act out of anger and give up his desire to avoid killing, or was he actually honoring the plan to set up the big battle of Negan and his Saviors against the rest of the post-apocalyptic world as we know it?

If you haven’t seen Sunday night’s episode of The Walking Dead S7E13, keep in mind that huge spoilers follow.

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TWD’s History Of Good Characters Meeting Bad Endings

At the beginning of this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Bury Me Here,” Morgan seemed to be finding true peace in the Kingdom and had started working with yet another protégé for his martial arts-inspired stick fighting, Benjamin’s younger brother. That’s always a huge red flag for anyone familiar with TWD. There was also some uncomfortable dialogue between Morgan and Benjamin (Logan Miller) that had the feel of coming back as ironic last words, and it looked like Morgan might be in danger of another emotional character death. (Especially since Lennie James was scheduled to be on Talking Dead right after the episode.)

benjamin is hot on the walking dead

The good news this week on The Walking Dead was Morgan made it through, but the bad news was for Benjamin, who wasn’t so lucky. After Richard (Karl Makinen) sabotaged the melon delivery to Negan, instead of Negan’s henchmen killing off Richard as they had promised they would do the first time something went wrong, it was Benjamin shot in the legs and left to bleed to death. The young man who had come to be a sort of replacement for Morgan’s deceased son had a profound effect on James’s character, to say the least.

Was Morgan Exacting Revenge Or Being Strategic On The Walking Dead?

However, when Morgan killed Richard with his bare hands in front of the Saviors, was it really out of rage? Morgan did the exact thing that Richard had said they needed to do — it gave the Saviors some indication that they understood their place as virtual slaves to the Saviors, setting up a false sense of security for a future surprise assault to kill them all.

On Talking Dead, S7E13 writer and Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple was a guest along with a live video feed with actor Lennie James to discuss the episode and specifically address the question of Morgan’s true motivation. Host Chris Hardwick said that when he watched the “Bury Me Here” episode, he felt Morgan was making a brilliant move in acting strategically in the very way that Richard had requested, killing him in front of the Saviors to give them the confidence that the Kingdom was falling in line and setting up a surprise attack later. Morgan even used the specific words to explain his actions to the Saviours that Richard had when describing how that tactic could work to Morgan.

Richard and Morgan had their final confrontation on The Walking Dead

Walking Dead Fans: Do You Agree With Gimple Or Hardwick?

However, Gimple made it clear that when he wrote Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, he intended Morgan’s killing of Richard to be personal, but with an important caveat.

“That’s just rage. You don’t kill someone with your bare hands unless its rage… You (Hardwick) bring up something that I think is really important, which is even though in that conversation I just told you why when I wrote that episode, you’re still right. The audience is always right. I wouldn’t sit there and say ‘No, no, this is what it is.’ We put out what it is, but the audience makes it their own.”

“Good, because that’s what it is,” responded Hardwick, voting for his theory.

Gimple noted that while the wheels turn in his head one way while writing a Walking Dead episode, Hardwick’s interpretation also worked, acknowledging that Hardwick’s take was probably even better. Since The Walking Dead’s head honcho has given TWD fans permission to interpret at will, which side do you choose? Are you #TeamGimple or #TeamHardwick?

Regardless, you have to give Gimple props for penning this Walking Dead episode and creating all of this death, destruction, and character development over one lousy melon.

[Featured Image by Gene Page/AMC]