Morgan (Lennie James) opens up about his late wife in the opening minutes of Fear the Walking Dead 514, “Today and Tomorrow.” In video footage captured by documentarian Althea (Maggie Grace), Morgan recounts his first date with Jenny (Keisha Tillis) and their small wedding before recalling happy memories of son Duane (Adrian Kali Turner), remembered as a comic book fanatic and a terrible baseball player who was “the best of both of us.” After playing back the tape, Morgan convinces Al to stay out and distribute more care packages despite running low on gas — a situation that will bring the pair into a dangerous predicament.
Morgan’s family was last seen in the first episode of The Walking Dead, where a tearful Morgan couldn’t bring himself to put down his zombified wife — an early casualty of an apocalypse in its infancy. Some time after parting ways with new ally Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Morgan would be devastated when his walker wife attacked and killed Duane.
Driven mad by the trauma, a paranoid Morgan would later reconnect with Rick in TWD 312, “Clear.” There Rick was forced to fend off an attack from a crazed Morgan, at the time a loner holed up in a booby-trapped apartment. After Eastman (John Carroll Lynch) mentored Morgan in the ways of Aikido and helped calm his bloodlust, Morgan would adopt a pacifistic philosophy rooted in altruism; that philosophy now unites his Texas-based group of survivors in Fear.
He’ll next have to wrestle with his unresolved feelings over Jenny and Duane’s deaths before he’s able to move toward a healthy future that could involve a romantic relationship with Grace (Karen David).
“Morgan has had such a difficult journey over on The Walking Dead and now on Fear. His reaction to losing his son and seeing his wife, as a walker, kill his son, that sent him to a very dark place,” showrunner Andrew Chambliss recently told TV Insider. “I think in his journey with Eastman and then coming over to Fear and forging a makeshift family, he’s in a place where he feels he has that violence under control.”
In an earlier confessional recorded by Al, Morgan admitted a hesitation in saying goodbye to his family. In Sunday’s “Today and Tomorrow,” Morgan will reach an epiphany that could end a storyline started in TWD’s pilot episode in 2010.
“When we hear him talking about Jenny and Duane, I think he’s realizing he hasn’t grieved for them, and that’s what he means when he says he hasn’t said goodbye. He knows that’s what he needs to do so he can really look toward the future,” Chambliss said. “The journey he’s going to find himself on in the back half of the season is really grappling with what it means to say goodbye, how he can say goodbye, and whether it’s something he wants to do. That’s something we’ll be seeing a lot more of as we continue this season.”
New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.