As The Walking Dead continues to flounder, AMC yesterday announced which character would be making the jump to Fear The Walking Dead… and with it, signed the spin-off show’s death warrant.
To everyone’s surprise, and my chagrin, that character is not Michael Cudlitz’ Sergeant Abraham Ford (left) but Morgan Jones (right) played by Brit Lennie James, and this throws up a barrel full of problems.
Firstly, Morgan is still alive and kicking in TWD, so appearing in Fear The Walking Dead means messing around with one, if not both, of the show’s timelines. There are numerous sites that deal in length with the timeline issue but that’s not what I want to talk about…
Lennie James is a likeable actor and his Morgan Jones was an interesting, multi-layered character. I say was because The Walking Dead has bled any meaning and motivation out of every single one of its characters.
Morgan was the first human Rick met after waking from his coma to find the world filled with zombies. His heartwrenching backstory saw him shoot his own zombified wife with a rifle and he made a welcome return as a paranoid madman.
But since then, while the writers gave Morgan (possibly The Walking Dead’s most spiritual character) some interesting storylines, they have over-egged his story too many times.
First, Morgan was insane, then he was okay. Then, he heard voices for one scene in season 8 and his mental illness was forgotten about.
In a flashback episode, John Carroll Lynch showed Morgan the Taoist way and he became a pacifist, vowing never to take another human life. Next thing we know, Morgan is at The Sanctuary firing on The Saviors.
The Walking Dead ran out of fuel about three seasons ago and (save for the increasingly irregular episode) has been treading water ever since.
Fear The Walking Dead, on the other hand, has gone from risible cash-in to one of the best shows on TV, but the news that a character the writers don’t know what to do with crossing over is perhaps Fear’s second nail in the coffin.
The first was the news that Scott M. Gimple, the showrunner who has overseen the decline of The Walking Dead, is crossing the other way. He will be joined by Once Upon A Time’s Andrew Chambliss and Ian B. Goldberg.
As a walking, talking tank Abraham is less three dimensional than Morgan, but at least he could have been given room to grow. Even if Morgan is sent ‘back in time’ to FTWD’s earlier timeframe, Morgan’s story has been told – there is nothing new to do with him.
The only hope for this stupid crossover idea that Morgan somehow takes the FTWD crew from Houston to Virginia and that Madison, Nick and Alicia end up fighting Rick Grimes et al. That and firing Scott M Gimple before a word is written.
The Walking Dead’s season 8 midseason finale is on Sunday 10th December.