ByErin Mulrane, writer at Creators.co

Aka: Wild Speculation and a Brief History of Morgan Jones

(WARNING: If you're not completely caught up on 'The Walking Dead', proceed at your own risk.)

This week ‘Talking Dead’ publicised that they will have a surprise cast member on the panel. Now, I love my ‘Talking Dead’ therapy hour to pieces, but whenever that show has a surprise guest it’s always a cast member who’s character has died.

But this week could be different. Besides a character death, why would they be hiding the identity of a cast member from us? Could it be that maybe, just maybe the surprise guest is Morgan Jones?!

Sure, sure I know the actors name is Lennie James, but he'll always be Morgan to me. Ever since that secret post-credits scene dropped after ‘No Sanctuary’, I’ve been fangirling hard over Morgan’s eventual return.

Since his reappearance, Morgan’s been one of the most sought after fictional characters since ‘Where’s Waldo’. He even kind of looks like him.

Exhibit A:

Waldo might actually have a shot in the apocalypse.
Waldo might actually have a shot in the apocalypse.

Viewers of ‘The Walking Dead’ have only actually seen Morgan on four separate occasions. So why is he so important to fans of the show? And why is his return inevitable?

Let’s look back on the journey of Morgan Jones on ‘[The Walking Dead](series:201193)’.

In S1E1, ‘Days Gone Bye’ Morgan rescues Rick and indoctrinates him into this new and horrifying world. There’s an immediate semblance of camaraderie, hospitality, and family implied in the way the two interact. Rick bonds with Morgan right away. We instantly trust Morgan as well because he saves Rick when there’s nothing in it for him. Also Morgan’s failure to ‘take care of’ his reanimated wife indicates that Morgan’s humanity has deep and complex roots.

Rick and Morgan form a natural team. After they arm themselves at the King’s County Sheriff’s Department, they part ways, promising to keep in touch via walkie-talkie.

In Season One and the beginning of Season Two, Rick does attempt to stay in touch with Morgan. We see him turn on the walkie at dawn on at least two occasions. The pre-credits sequence of S1E5 and S2E1 both consist of Rick, solo at dawn, radioing to his friend about horrific events that had befallen the camp.

Rick's raw, open confessions inextricably link Morgan to the group as a confidant that Rick trusts implicitly, in stark contrast to Shane who had quite obviously already gone off the rails by this point in time. Viewers also worried for Morgan, because his plan was to travel to Atlanta. With no Rick to warn him, Morgan could very well have wandered into the city's beastly belly. Rick clearly gives up on the walkie endeavour because the Season Two premiere is the last time we see him attempt to connect with Morgan.

S3E12 is the second time we actually see Morgan. On a gun run (Side note - Very different than a fun run), Carl, Rick, and Michonne stumble upon Morgan's sinister Tim Burton-esque clustering of spears, caged animals, and colourful graffiti in the centre of King’s County. This savvy set up showed us that Morgan may be crazy, but he’s also crafty and self-sufficient. It becomes crystal clear that he would be a great asset and addition to our gang.

Morgan remembers Rick because he’s still got the walkie-talkie. Also, Carl notes that Morgan has marked Rick’s house on a vast map scribbled onto the wall in chalk. Rick and Morgan have a man-to-man chat; and in one of the most well acted monologues in the shows history, Morgan shares his tragic story with Rick.

As if he’s got a front seat to the horror all over again, Morgan stares with an intense hypnotism at the space front of him while he tells Rick his tale. This moment is for sure on my list of the Top 10 ‘Walking Dead’ Moments, and I was fully shocked when the Emmys did not recognise Lennie James for his stellar guest appearance in this episode.

Since Rick last saw Morgan, we’ve been given two glimpses into his journey. And, damn he looks good. Snippets of Morgan bookended Season 5A, providing us with hope that he would return to us sometime soon. Initially Morgan was found to be following mysterious ‘X’ symbols, but then he stumbled upon the "Rick Grimes" map. Most presumed that he was hot on our gang’s heels.

However, looking particularly at the brushy growth on the ‘No Sanctuary’ sign in Morgan’s S5E1 cameo, and the weather beaten magazines in his S5E8 appearance, Morgan is at least a few months behind the current storyline of the show.

But there's hope. When the group settles somewhere, there’s traditionally a bit of a time-lapse component. Now that the gang is playing house in Alexandria, they’ll likely stay put for a bit, allowing Morgan time to locate them…or these mysterious ‘X’ people. I’m rooting for Alexandria.

‘The Walking Dead’ doesn’t generally deny us reunions, and the writers know that dangling a potential Morgan / Rick reunion in front of us only to have it be a dead end would cause a mutiny. Could the reunion be this weekend? Here’s hoping.

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