“I lose people, and then I lose myself” has long been the mantra of the tortured and guilt-ridden Morgan (Lennie James) — and that oft-repeated saying is about to return in full force as Fear The Walking Dead Season Four nears its close.
Morgan has emerged as de facto leader of his small pack of survivors, who in Sunday’s episode holed up in a hospital when fleeing an advancing horde of walkers — only to end up trapped and helplessly surrounded.
That decision left newbie survivor Jim (Aaron Stanford) pinned and unknowingly bitten by a walker, leaving him with an incurable bite that has doomed him to a quickly approaching death.
Accepting responsibility for the group’s predicament, next episode sees Morgan offering himself up as a distraction: “I got you in here, I have got to get you out,” he says, planning to stay behind and draw the horde away from the hospital’s front.
“When Jim gets bit, that’s all Morgan’s fault, as far as Morgan’s concerned,” James says in a new behind-the-scenes video released by AMC.
That guilt weighs heavily on Morgan, who initially fled The Walking Dead to outrun growing closer to his friends back home in Alexandria, Virginia — because, in his mind, closeness to Morgan marks death.
“Morgan finds himself in a very interesting situation. He’s the guy who ran halfway across the country because he didn’t want to be around people,” says showrunner Andrew Chambliss. “And now he’s the person that everyone is looking to for answers, and Morgan has no choice but to lead them.”
“He took some responsibility and, yet again, it’s turned to clay, and people are put in a worse situation than they would have been if he just left it alone,” James adds.
For the longtime loner, being forced to step up and shepherd a pack of other survivors means “realizing that the price of being a leader is putting yourself out there and making decisions that could ultimately cost people their lives,” Chambliss says.
Morgan spent much of The Walking Dead Season Eight fighting his ghosts, wrestling with his culpability in the death of young Kingdom member Benjamin (Logan Miller) as he struggled to overcome his demons — namely his past as a crazed, bloodthirsty madman, who killed indiscriminately after losing his mind following the death of young son Duane (Adrian Kali Turner).
He found relative peace under the tutelage of cheesemaker Eastman (John Carroll Lynch), who taught Morgan the ways of Aikido and imparted onto him the belief “all life is precious” — lessons Morgan tried to pass along to Nick Clark (Frank Dillane), who Morgan watched die a bloody death earlier this season after he was gunned down in revenge for murdering Vulture Ennis (Evan Gamble).
Morgan found a semblance of hope in forging a friendship with newfound allies Sarah (Mo Collins) and Wendell (Daryl Mitchell) and reconnecting with Al (Maggie Grace), June (Jenna Elfman), and Luciana (Danay García) when a harsh storm made it look like he’d lost his friends for good — but he’s in very real danger of backsliding because of Jim’s looming death and the pushing of the Filthy Woman (Tonya Pinkins), who has emerged as Morgan’s antithetical nemesis.
“When Morgan discovers Jim has been bitten, I think it’s two things: I think he’s genuinely brokenhearted for Jim, but also one of his fears has become reality, that it’s his fault. That if it wasn’t for him, listening to the angel or the devil on his shoulder who said, ‘Go into the hospital, what could go wrong?’ If it wasn’t for that, Jim would be okay,” James said on Talking Dead.
“And I think Morgan pretty much thinks this is what happens if people follow him, if people listen to him, if he takes responsibility for other people, this is what happens. It’s the inevitable consequence of listening to Morgan. And Jim is a living example of that. And I think he’s brokenhearted in two directions, one, towards what’s happened to Jim, and also two, because it’s proof to him that he should be on his own.”
Because Morgan can’t just drop things and run away this time, another confrontation with his shadow — the Filthy Woman — is inevitable.
Morgan can be spotted in the San Diego Comic-Con Season 4B trailer staring into a mirror with “I lose people, I lose myself” written on his face — the giveaway markings of the Filthy Woman, who inks phrases on the faces of her reanimated victims.
“Like Morgan, she is in many ways in a place that he used to be,” Fear executive producer Scott Gimple says. “Unlike Morgan, she did not find the support to come out of that state.”
James may have hinted at Morgan’s fate last month during a convention appearance, when he said jumping from The Walking Dead to Fear was “a way of exploring [Morgan] a little bit more before he finishes.”2comments
Morgan has since expressed his desire to reconnect with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and return home to Alexandria — but with the upcoming ninth season of The Walking Dead taking place 18 months in the future with no Morgan in sight, the long-suffering Morgan may find himself permanently detoured.
Fear The Walking Dead airs its penultimate episode of Season Four, ‘I Lose People...,’ Sunday, September 23 at 9/8c on AMC. Its season finale, ‘...I Lose Myself,’ follows September 30.