It was a given that if anything would push Ezekiel and the Kingdom to fighting against the Saviors, it would be a death. And we don’t know that many of the Kingdom residents- just those of Ezekiel’s inner circle and those who go to the drop-offs with the Saviors. That narrows it down, and at last, Ezekiel is at the point where Rick wanted him earlier. At a cost, though. Let’s jump into “Bury Me Here.”
The episode begins at the Kingdom, where Ezekiel’s followers load a melon into a truck. Following this, we cut to Carol getting a cigarette in before heading off for the day.
At the Kingdom, Morgan trains Benjamin’s brother, Henry, while telling him that he should aspire to be like his brother, rather than weaker than him.
Carol makes good use of a One Way sign and takes out a few walkers as she walk right into the Kingdom and demands to see Morgan. She soon finds him and asks why Jesus brought Daryl and the others to the Kingdom. Morgan tells her about Rick’s plan to unite the communities, and Carol realizes that despite what Daryl told her, the Saviors are still around.
Morgan tells Carol to talk to Daryl if she wants the truth. After all, she did want Morgan to keep her location a secret from the others and he did. Daryl didn’t find Carol because of Morgan. And Morgan will go with her to Alexandria if she wants to talk to Daryl, as he doesn’t think she should go alone. Morgan asks Carol if she got what she wanted, as she got away from everyone. Or is it too late to get away?
Carol leaves and tells Benjamin not to come back with her to the cottage, even though he’s fine missing the drop-off with the Saviors. He’s impressed with watching Carol’s skills and wants to see how she does it, but she tells him to go do his drop instead. As Carol leaves, she notices the walker she put down has a gash in its head in addition to the shoulder, but continues walking onward.
It turns out that Richard is watching her from a distance. Not too far, he buries a backpack with the name ‘Katy’ written on it.
While Ezekiel observes Daniel picking fruit from the royal garden, he receives a visit from Nabila, played by Nadine Marissa, who tells him from a distance that the plants are infected with weevils. As such, the plants will need to be cut and burned, and this could be bad not just for the Kingdom residents, but for the Saviors’ tributes. Ezekiel tells Nabila to do what must be done, but Nabila is confident that the plants could still grow back.
Benjamin thanks Morgan for Eastman’s book and repays the act with a painting he found at a restaurant while scavenging. A female friend managed to fix it up for him. When asked who this friend of his, Benjamin just focuses on the upcoming drop-off.
Before leaving, Richard and Morgan observe Benjamin speaking talking to Henry. Richard thinks that Benjamin is too young to be a father. Richard can relate, though, as he was a father at the perfect time and had a perfect family. He then apologizes to Morgan for the friction between them.
He also realizes that things between the Kingdom and the Saviors are about to change. And the day will come when Morgan can’t be good. When that happens, Morgan shouldn’t be too upset.
It’s time to go. Everyone, plus Jerry and his cobbler, load up and head off, but soon arrive at a point in the road blocked off by shopping carts. They offload and search the perimeter- Richard has to remind Benjamin to keep his gun up- until they find an open grave and a sign that reads “Bury Me Here.”
Ezekiel laments how much misery people have endured. He considers it lucky that they’re not insane. Benjamin doesn’t see it luck because the world does drive people insane, but Ezekiel made another world for them. The group moves the carts and continues the trip.
Soon enough, they meet up with the Saviors. Jared strikes Jerry for talking too much, while Gavin acknowledges that things have been tense between the two sides. He checks the truck for the offering, but then demands the Kingdom’s guns. Both sides draw their weapons. Ezekiel didn’t agree to this, but Gavin tells Ezekiel that they can either hand over their guns or try to use them.
Richard, surprisingly, thinks they should surrender their guns, but Ezekiel at least wants Jared to give Morgan his stick. Gavin wants Ezekiel to understand both the severity of the situation and that the Kingdom was given a choice. Eventually, Ezekiel relents and the Kingdom members hand their guns to the Saviors.
Turns out that the Kingdom is short one melon. Gavin orders Ezekiel to count them and the Kingdom is indeed lacking, even though Ezekiel insists that he counted them before. And now it’s time to up the ante and accept the consequences. Jared puts a gun to Richard’s head. Though Richard is more than ready to die, Jared fires at Richard’s left and nails Benjamin in the leg instead.
A now livid Gavin orders Jared to give Morgan his stick and to get back into the truck. He also orders Ezekiel to deliver the last melon tomorrow. Ezekiel and the others load Benjamin into their vehicle. Richard, though, is very shaken by this turn of events.
They bring Benjamin to Carol’s cabin and she gets to work on stopping the bleeding, but it’s not enough and Benjamin soon dies. Ezekiel apologizes for coming to Carol, saying that they had no choice. Morgan, though, storms off in a huff.
He rages and has flashes of his son, Duane, the moments where he went insane, and his downward spiral during Clear. At one point, he considers killing himself while kneeling in the open grave. Eventually, Morgan snaps and kicks a bucket in rage. But underneath this bucket is a cantaloupe.
Morgan confronts Richard, who admits that he was the one meant to die. He wanted to give his life because the Kingdom has done nothing to deal with the Saviors. He tells Morgan how he lost his family when the outbreak started and believes it all happened because he didn’t do anything.
Soon enough, Richard lost his wife. After three days of running with no food or sleep, he lost his daughter as well. All because he waited. Richard wants to use what’s happened to show the Saviors that they get it, but the Kingdom also has to make the Saviors believe them. And after gaining their trust, the Kingdom can kill those Saviors and then join Alexandria to crush the Saviors once and for all. But for this to work, Morgan has to kill.
Otherwise, Richard says that Morgan might as well just kill himself. Someone had to die and Richard tried to be the one, but that didn’t happen. As such, he’ll be the one to lead the army to crush the Saviors. And after telling Ezekiel what he did, he’ll spend the rest of his life trying to make up for this.
That night, Morgan contemplates this while Ezekiel consoles Henry.
The next morning, the Kingdom loads up and heads to the drop-off zone. Richard hasn’t told Ezekiel about his plan yet. He’d prefer to talk about it later, but Ezekiel wants to talk now. As Morgan picks up two sticks from the spot where Benjamin was shot, the Saviors arrive. Gavin asks about Benjamin, but gets no response. After he guesses that Benjamin is dead, he orders Jared to start walking back before he kills him.
Richard delivers Gavin the remaining melon, but then Morgan strikes him with his staff and begins to choke the life out of him until he finally dies. Morgan then explains Richard’s plan to everyone: blocking the road, making the Kingdom late, and hiding the melon, all to get things to escalate between the two sides.
Morgan then tells Gavin that Richard’s plan was to show that the Kingdom knows what to do and how to go on, and that’s good enough for Gavin. As such, the arrangement will continue same time next week. To that, Morgan understands. When the Saviors leave, Morgan tells Ezekiel that Richard orchestrated this so Duane would die. You mean Benjamin, Morgan. He then tells the others to leave him alone.
Now armed with a stick again, Morgan drags Richard’s body and buries him in the open grave. He stops when he finds the backpack before reburying it. He then goes through as many walkers as possible, getting bloody in the process.
Then he shows up at Carol’s and tells her that he killed Richard in retaliation for getting Benjamin killed. After Carol confirms that she wants to know what happened in Alexandria, Morgan tells her about the deaths of Glenn, Abraham, Spencer, and Olivia. And the Saviors have Alexandria on notice. Morgan explains Rick’s plan to get the Kingdom to join Alexandria and the Hilltop in fighting the Saviors.
With Morgan now dead set on killing the Saviors- though Carol insists that he at least stay at the house- Carol heads to the Kingdom and apologizes to Ezekiel. She’ll be here now, but tells him that they have to get ready to fight. Ezekiel agrees, but not today. Carol soon joins Ezekiel and Henry in their gardening.
Back at the house, Morgan works on sharpening one end of his stick as the episode comes to a close.
So back at the mid-season premiere, Rick failed to convince Ezekiel that the time was right to join together in fighting the Saviors. Fast forward to now and we’ve got the inciting incident that has pushed Ezekiel and the others to action.
We saw this coming. And while The Walking Dead knows how to make deaths carry weight, this often comes at the expense of feeling very telegraphed, more so when a character grows bolder, outspoken, or talks about their past. It happened with Noah, Denise, and Bob, just to name a few, and now it’s happened with Benjamin.
So while it’s unfortunate, it’s not some huge shocker because this show isn’t about subtlety when it comes to setting up characters to die. And while we’ve learned about Benjamin prior to this, him talking about his female friend, thanking Morgan again for the book, and saying that Ezekiel made another world for the Kingdom all spelled that Benjamin wasn’t long for this world.
That’s not on purpose. We can blame Richard’s plan for this and it shows his stupidity for a guy who has seemed pretty level headed. Not that the plan was terrible, but everything would have to work out the way he predicted it to for it to work, including his sacrifice. Even while hearing about Richard’s history prior to the outbreak, I can’t feel sympathetic to a guy acting out of desperation when his plan ended with someone else getting killed.
It was one thing to set Carol up as bait, but there’s no way of knowing if Richard’s own death would have spurred the Kingdom into action, especially once the plan fell apart and Jared shot Benjamin instead. It wasn’t the first time Richard got into a confrontation with the Saviors and I have to guess that the Kingdom has endured abuse from the Saviors long before the community was introduced on the show.
If anything, Ezekiel probably saw Richard as a ticking time bomb, given how much he wanted the situation with the Saviors to escalate. And besides, even if the tribute had been right the first time, Gavin acknowledged that things have been tense between the two sides, so even without Richard’s plan, he’d have gotten his escalation either way.
But for as much as the Saviors are pricks and Jared should get killed by Morgan’s hands, I like there’s more to Gavin than meets the eye. He’s not Simon or Dwight or Arat. Sure, he’s carrying out orders on behalf of Negan, but he shows genuine frustration when it turns out that Benjamin died. He could’ve brushed it off as another casualty of war, but he directs his anger on someone who works under him instead.
For the longest time, Morgan has stuck to Eastman’s teachings about all life being precious. Despite what’s happened around him, from the Wolves up until now, he refrained from killing until it was necessary, like saving Carol’s life. But even at the Kingdom, he thought there was a way to negotiate with the Saviors or avoid bloodshed, but no.
Sure, we haven’t spent a ton of time with Benjamin and Morgan, but there’s been enough, I feel, to see a connection between the two, and this extends to Morgan training Benjamin’s brother. Morgan wasn’t able to keep Eastman from being bitten and he had a chance to mold Benjamin with those same teachings, but with his death, we see the return of the crazed Morgan from previous seasons and I am all for that.
I’m fine with Morgan having this no-kill rule, but I’m just as excited to see him in a position where he’s willing to kill no matter what, even if it does feel like a regression from where his character has come since meeting Eastman. But while prior, Morgan seemed to waver on indecision, he has a much clearer goal in mind now that he’s determined to help eliminate the Saviors.
Also, you know how so much can come across with no words? There’s something about Morgan’s death stare that feels so intimidating.
Looks like Carol is back in the game and like Morgan told Daryl, it would take the deaths of her friends to spur her into action. But given how much Carol has wanted to stay out of the picture, I do not see this as a return to the killer Carol from previous seasons. I can’t imagine her problems will just go away in one swoop and it would be a complex situation for her to go back to killing, but still have her reservations.
More than that, this could be a good opportunity for her and Morgan to connect. Before, she wanted nothing to do with this. Now that she has every reason to get involved, she can join Morgan, but also calm him down and keep him from doing something crazy since he’s so dead set on revenge.
With his and Benjamin’s deaths, the Kingdom has endured two losses that have helped push Ezekiel towards joining Rick in his fight against the Saviors. “Bury Me Here” helped push the community closer to war while also unleashing the killer in Morgan and bringing Carol back into the main conflict. Richard wanted escalation in order to push the Kingdom into the fight, and he got it.
And with the season finale not too far, I’m looking forward to Ezekiel, Carol, Morgan, and hopefully the rest of the Kingdom paying Rick a visit and telling him that the time for action and going to war with the Saviors is now.