The Walking Dead: Lennie James talks locking the door

Morgan Jones, The Walking Dead - AMC
Morgan Jones, The Walking Dead - AMC /

In the Morgan episode of The Walking Dead we watched what Andrew Lincoln described in a behind-the-scenes interview on Talking Dead as “an independent art house movie”.

I agree. I was reminded of a Robert Redford experience such as An Unfinished Life. There was beautiful imagery of pottery and cheesecloth. Leather chairs, stone and wood walls. Blue glass kerosene lamps. Tall trees and flowers and rivers. Beautiful voices telling stories that were as mesmerizing as the sounds of nature and the silence.

Entertainment Weekly talked to Lennie James about why Morgan locked the door at the end of the episode. I love getting a peek into the characters from the actors themselves! Here is his answer. I have my own thoughts to add to his insights.

The cell door was always open for Morgan when he was at Eastman’s, so why does Morgan then lock the door on the Wolf at the end?
Other people have to take their own interpretation of it, but what I believe is that part of the reason why Morgan locks the door is because Morgan isn’t Eastman yet. Morgan isn’t where Eastman was. Morgan could not at that particular moment in time say out loud “I am at peace because I have decided that all life is precious and I will not kill again.” Morgan is not at the stage that Eastman was in, which is he will not kill anything ever again. Morgan hasn’t gotten to that point.

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And the other thing that I think is relevant here is when Eastman told Morgan that the door wasn’t locked — once Morgan stepped out of that cell the first thing he did was attack Eastman. And Morgan is going away and he’s not Eastman and I don’t think the wolf is Morgan. I think he weighs that up and he’s going to try and do for the wolf what Eastman did for him, but he’s going to do it in his own particular way, and he’s going to learn from the lessons of Eastman’s successes as well as his failures. So he’s not going to do everything exactly the same. He’s just going to try to come out with the same outcome.

Eastman, The Walking Dead - AMC
Eastman, The Walking Dead – AMC /

Lennie makes two great points. First, Morgan isn’t there yet. He’s trying, but he’s not there yet. Almost everything Morgan says is a direct quote from Eastman. He’s trying to be Eastman, but he’s not in the same place.

Secondly, maybe he’s not meant to be Eastman. Maybe he’s going to learn from him, but do things his way: progress. The one completely original thing Morgan has said was, “You don’t like it.” Maybe that is going to be Morgan’s version of “All life is precious.”

Something I would add, is that Eastman could not lock the door because if Morgan escaped, it wouldn’t affect anyone except Eastman. If the Wolf escapes, it will affect many people. Morgan can’t take that chance willingly. The last time he let the Wolf go, there was no direct cause and effect visible.  This time there is.

The Walking Dead - AMC
The Walking Dead – AMC /

And finally about sorry and don’t ever be sorry. Morgan told Carl don’t ever be sorry.  That was Morgan’s was of shutting out emotion to be able to clear and deal with why he thought he was still here being punished somehow. When he told Eastman don’t ever be sorry, Eastman recognized that pattern and made him do his forms to bring him back to peaceful thinking.

Eastman says sorry to Morgan when he knocks him out. Acknowledging that he’s sorry he has to do that. Morgan says sorry to the Wolf when the wolf tells Morgan to kill him and tells Morgan he should have killed him, trying to make Morgan think not killing him is a weakness. Sorry is strength. Don’t ever be sorry is denial.

“All life is precious. Including your own.”