The Walking Dead S07E13 “Bury Me Here” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- We open on a truck. There’s a montage as a single crate, with a single cantaloupe, is loaded in place. It is notable that Ben is NOT one of the Knights we see loading the truck. It is even more notable that Jerry looks really sad and Ezekiel looks… cold. Determined.
- Something has gone badly wrong.
- Carol is woken up by her nightmares. She lights a lamp, lights a cigarette and wipes her face.
- Back at the Kingdom, Ben’s brother is being trained by Morgan. He’s complaining about being up too early. Ben walks past just as Morgan gets a pretty major compliment out of the kid for his big brother.
- Carol, determined and grumpy, locks up and starts walking to the Kingdom. There are Walkers along the way. She doesn’t break stride. She wipes several out at the gates, walks straight in and demands to speak to Morgan.
- Carol finds Morgan. She asks him the one question that he doesn’t want to hear and she doesn’t want to know the answer to.
- “Is everyone okay?”
- Morgan aikidos her questions aside in a way that’s both very kind and very stern. He offers to go with her to Alexandria. He also, kindly, points out she got what she wanted: to get away. And that, maybe, wasn’t what she wanted at all. Carol, openly crying, stares at him and storms off.
- Ben asks to job shadow Carol to learn her Walker killing ways. She turns him down. On the way home, she finds one that she immobilised that’s been killed. She looks around but doesn’t see anyone.
- Unobserved, nearby, Richard digs a grave…
- Ezekiel and Sheba are on a balcony overseeing the Kingdom. He’s visited by Nabila, a gardner who gives him some bad news; the crop is full of weevils. To save the rest they’ll have to cut it all the way back.
- Ben visits Morgan and gives him an endearingly bad piece of artwork he scavenged.
- Richard talks to Morgan at the drop. The conversation transitions from being sweet and conciliatory to Richard basically telling Morgan his philosophy is wrong and the day is coming when he’ll be forcibly shown that.
- The road is blocked and, surrounding Ezekiel, everyone heads out. They find an open grave marked BURY ME HERE. Ezekiel is numb and saddened. Ben reassures him that Ezekiel is the reason they’re all okay.
- At this point the only thing left for Ben to do is figure out who killed JFK and offer to tell everyone right after the episode. He’s that clearly dead.
- They reach the drop. The Saviours are not okay with their attitude. They demand everyones’ guns. A standoff ensues that’s talked down by Morgan.
- Then things get worse. They’re short a cantaloupe. Things are about to get emotional.
- Ezekiel tries to bargain with them. It doesn’t work. The Saviours decide to deal with things right now. And pull a gun on Richard. He asks them to just do it.
- And Jared, the long-haired Saviour who has been bullying Richard for weeks, shoots Ben.
- Ezekiel begs the Saviours to let them treat Ben. Instead, they’re held in place and yelled at for a full minute as Ben, in agony, begins to bleed out. The Saviours finally let them go but demand beforehand that they bring the balance of what they owe the next day.
- They race to Carol’s, whose house is nearer and loaded with medical supplies. Ben, dying, looks at Morgan and says, “It’s okay… to injure an opponent is to injure yourself.” Quoting from The Art of Peace, the book Morgan has rebuilt his life on the principles of.
- Ben dies.
- As the others try and come to terms with it, Morgan leaves and walks down the street they drove up. He flashes back to his son, his wife, to the word CLEAR written over and over. He sees the grave, sees himself sitting in it with a gun to his head, a knife to his wrist.
- He screams. He kicks a box.
- There’s a cantaloupe under it.
- Morgan storms into Richard’s room. He throws the box with the cantaloupe at him. Richard says it was supposed to be him; that his death was supposed to show Morgan what needed to be done.
- “We’ve done NOTHING TO STOP THEM! NOTHING!” he screams. Richard talks about how he was in a camp when it started. He explains that he saw problems everywhere and chose not to do anything. He lost everything. Because he waited. And he thought, this time, he could do something before it get too bad.
- Richard tries to turn this into a positive; how they can use it to gain the Saviours’ trust then destroy them. He tells Morgan that he needs to kill or kill himself. He offers to lead the army. He’s frantic. Morgan says nothing.
- We see Morgan alone, we see Ezekiel comforting Ben’s younger brother then we see the following morning and Ezekiel watching the Royal Garden get ripped down. And the single cantaloupe gets locked into the truck.
- Morgan asks Richard if he confessed. Richard tries to shut him down and Ezekiel disagrees. Morgan stands over the spot where Ben began to die and picks their staffs up as the Saviours arrive. The Saviours’ leader asks how the kid is.
- No one says anything.
- The Saviours’ leader, Gavin, realises what’s happened and sends the long-haired Saviour who killed him home threatening to kill him if he doesn’t go. Then he asks for the cantaloupe that cost a boy his life. Richard starts forward, begins the schtick that he told Morgan the night before and Morgan steps forward, drops Richard and kills him. Then he tells Ezekiel the truth.
- And then he tells the Saviours the exact lie Richard was going to.
- As the Saviours leave, Morgan explains what Richard did and that was why, “Duane had to die”.
- Ezekiel spots that he referenced his son not Ben and tries to reach out to him. Morgan shuts him down, tells them to leave and they do. As they do, Morgan kills Richard a second time to make sure he doesn’t get back up and breaks down, sobbing.
- And then Morgan drags Richard’s body to the grave he dug for himself and buries him. Then walks to Carol’s, killing every Walker he finds along the way. When he gets there he asks if she really wants to know what happened in Alexandria. She asks what happened to him and he tells her. Then repeats his question. She says yes. He tells her, then leaves. He’s going somewhere else, anywhere else. Carol begs him to stay, repeating his words to her; that he can “go and not go”.
- The next time we see Carol she’s hiking to The Kingdom with a bag of supplies. She finds Ezekiel in the Royal Garden, now empty but being replanted. He’s clearly taken Ben’s brother in to care for him. She apologises then tells him, “I’m going to be here now. We have to get ready. We have to fight.” He agrees, but not today. Then goes back to helping the little boy plant the garden. After a second, Carol joins them.
- Out at Carol’s old house, Morgan sits on the porch sharpening his stick. Alone. Gone. But not gone.
This is the episode we all knew was coming. The Kingdom is too good an idea to last. Ezekiel and the others are hopelessly naïve. The Saviours, Jared especially, don’t know how to not push. Carol was always going to come back into the fold. Morgan was always going to kill again.
We knew all this was going to happen. That means that it was on the show’s shoulders to make sure that it was handled in the best way possible. It has been.
This is arguably the most straight-up horror episode of the show in years. Not because of the Walkers (although Carol’s Walkermatic is an all time favourite of ours) but because of Richard, Morgan and Ben and what happens between them.
Richard is broken by the simple fact he’s survived. He’s a principled, tough, compassionate man who has had everything ripped away from him once and rebuilt his life based entirely on the compassion Ezekiel’s shown him. When he sees that threatened, and worse still Ezekiel unwilling to acknowledge it, he panics. Like he explains to Morgan here, he’s seen people die from inaction. His thinking is clear; how much worse can it be if he acts?
And this episode shows us. Richard’s attempted suicide by Saviour, his naked ambition of leading the army against them, the fact he fights for his life as Morgan murders him. All of these things drive home just how broken Richard is. Worse, how little of that damage he saw.
Then there’s Morgan, who has defended his pacifism with incredible courage and determination and it’s still not enough. Morgan killing Richard is one of the hardest moments to sit through this season and it’s because we know how much it costs him. Lennie James is an astonishing actor and his silent moments here are some of the best. You can see every inch of the debate Morgan is having with himself, see the rage coiled inside him. The moment where he refers to Ben as Duane is tragic. The moment where we see him sharpening his stick is heart-breaking. Morgan, a man of peace, is back in the war. His scenes with Carol are always great but this episode they’re exceptional. Carol is healed, enough, to be able to go back. Morgan is done, at least for now. There’s a real sense of two of the toughest, most complex characters in the show handing off and it’ll be interesting to see when we next meet Morgan. I suspect he may shut himself away for a while.
And then there’s Ben. A decent, hardworking young man who’s shot to death because of a missing piece of fruit. Even ignoring the reasons the fruit is missing it’s a horrific, farcical piece of cruelty. The Saviours are so petty that they’ll murder someone over fruit.
A man who wants to die. A man who wants to be at peace. A young man who wants to be a good man. Two dead, one broken. All over a piece of fruit. Like we say, this is horrific and a lot of people will only see the same brutality and nihilism this season has been continuously and often unfairly criticised for.
But we focus on the final scene. Ezekiel, Ben’s younger brother and Carol in the garden. Something terrible is here but something better is coming. And for the show to end on a hopeful note like this, especially here, proves that. Another fiercely strong episode in the increasingly impressive final strait of the season.
- “Someone had to die. I tried to be the one, that didn’t happen. So I’ll be the one to lead our army to crush the Saviours.” Karl Makinen has done incredible work as Richard and this scene is one of his best. You can see him move from guilt and grief to self-justification so subtly he doesn’t even see himself doing it
- Carol’s labour-saving traffic sign Walker killer may be our favourite kill in the show’s history.
- Really nice touch that everyone in the Knights holds their weapon differently. You can see the people who have military or law enforcement experience and the folks who don’t.
- The acting. All of it. This episode is basically a Melissa McBride, Lennie James and Karl Makinen three-hander but everyone else is on the top of their game too. Logan Miller’s Ben is genuine and sweet while Jayson Warner-Smith’s tired, angry Gavin has the slightest hint of humanity this episode.
- There is undeniable and immense power, especially in 2017, in a group of people of different genders, colours, ages and sizes silently staring down a group of frightened, sociopathic white men.
- The episode’s structure. You know what’s coming but it hurts all the more when it does.
- Ben is so clearly dead this episode, even before we see him, that you could also read it as a little annoying.
- Jared, the long-haired Saviour whose fault this situation entirely is has yet to be brutally killed.
- Morgan kicking the exact right box is just a tiny bit convenient but the episode is so good we’ll let it pass.
- Alrick Riley, whose work this episode is some of the best direction all season, is another of the increasing number of Brits working on The Walking Dead. He also directed “The Cell” and “Twice As Far” for the show, has done a bunch of Once Upon A Time episodes too and worked on a laundry list of excellent British, American and Canadian shows. If you can, track down his 2013 movie The Whale. Starring Martin Sheen, Jonas Armstrong, John Boyega and others it’s based on the true story of The Essex, whose disastrous encounter with a whale inspired Moby Dick.
- Nadine Marissa is great as Nabila this week and we’d love to see her back. Also we agree with her about the tiger. She’s also appeared in several episodes of Better Call Saul.
- Logan Miller, who will undoubtedly go on to greater things based on his turn here, has already had a solid movie career. He’s appeared in The Bling Ring, was excellent in Scouts Guide To The Apocalypse and can next be seen in Before I Fall, starring Zoe Deutch.
Review by Alasdair Stuart