Of all the shows I regularly watch The Walking Dead is probably the one I look forward to the most. While some shows may accumulate in DVR Purgatory I am always up to date when it comes to The Walking Dead. While rarely a perfect show it is continually the most interesting of what I watch. Still in the back of my head there’s been something nagging me when it comes to the show. Something that bothered me and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks on this season’s premiere. I don’t like Rick.
He has gone from an optimistic, if a bit naive, leader to a flat out douche. Scratch that he’s a douche and his general douchiness has effected most of “the group.” The show has fallen into a pattern of Rick and his group of jaded douches find a place to live, they don’t agree on everything, and they completely decimate a community. We’ve seen it happen to Woodbury, Terminus and now Alexandria. Don’t get me wrong I’m as anti-cannibal as the next guy but all things considered Terminus seemed to have a working society. Even worse, Rick is proven in the right. No matter how minor if you question Rick’s plans your character is guaranteed to die. While this formula is entertaining it’s hard to root for people when most of them are either expendable or a dick. That is everyone except for Morgan.
While only a guest star for most of the show Morgan has quickly become my favorite character on the show. This was best shown in the recent episode Here’s Not Here. More background than anything else it followed Morgan from traumatized killer to the zen master he is today. With the help of Eastman (an excellent John Carroll Lynch) he has a martial arts movie style journey to inner peace. Near the end of the episode it hit me why I dig Morgan so much. It isn’t just that he’s one of the better actors on the show or a badass (although this helps). It’s more what his character represents, hope.
Like Eastman before him Morgan does still see some hope in humanity. No matter how much it falls apart he hopes the people around him will do the best for humanity. For the past few seasons the show has gotten more nihilistic, to the show’s benefit mind you, and darker. If anything positive happened it would immediately be shot down twice as hard the next week. No matter what has happened and what he has done he is trying his best to deal in this world without becoming a monster. Even better, his character has had a bonafide arc that had actual consequences. While a lot of the cast can be stagnant at times Morgan has actually changed over time and developed. This is pretty good for a show where “sings now and then” is Beth’s main character trait.
I realize this is all kind of a moot point. Mostly because Rick is in the Will Never Die category with Daryl and Michionne. I can also see the show deciding that Morgan’s pacifism is a bad thing and having his unwillingness to kill being his downfall. Still in a show where Rick’s group slaughter people in a church and the villains are somehow worse I can’t help but root for Morgan’s survival. He’s the light at the end of the tunnel on an increasingly dark show. And if being the only person with hope for humanity isn’t a hero worth rooting for I don’t know what is.