Last night's episode of "The Walking Dead" slowed the frenetic pace of the third season down, but not at the expense of the drama. "Clear" was almost a return to first season form, and perhaps an indication of what we can expect from future showrunner Scott Gimple, who penned the episode. The Hollywood Reporter spoke with the guest star of this gripping episode -- beware, viewers, MAJOR SPOILERS are incoming! Away with you!
Viewers were treated with the return of a familiar face not seen since the series premiere. Lennie James returned as Morgan, the man who welcomed Rick into the new world. "It's really rare you get an opportunity in television to revisit a character that you haven't played for a number of years. Particularly, in the kind of crazy world that is 'The Walking Dead', you know that that character's going to return with a sense of his journey," James said. "Having the opportunity to bring that all back in one episode and tell the journey he's been on with finally killing his wife after the loss of his son -- all of those things you have to bring to bear and the mindset that he's in. Morgan is a shell of the man that he once was, and it's like a mirror to Rick's story. Bringing that to the screen was one of the things that really attracted me and one of the things I most enjoyed."
While the return of Morgan in the comic series led to him immediately joining Rick on his journey, James felt the small screen counterpart was mentally not ready for such a step. "I hope there's a way back for Morgan. His story is being told so masterfully by the guys of 'The Walking Dead' and if the pattern continues, maybe in three years when Morgan comes back for a third installment he's in a different place. Either that further down the road or if it's on his way back," the actor said. "Either of those would be very interesting. When I was talking about coming back, one of the things I said is I'm really looking forward to filing that gap between the first time we met and then when we meet Morgan now. That will be the same when and if it ever happens again that we meet Morgan -- telling the story of the times you haven't seen him would also be the thing that I would find most attractive but whether that's salvation or more damnation, I don't know."
Even if Morgan returned with Rick to the prison, James sees his character as mentally ill-equipped to aid in the impending war with The Governor. "If Morgan arrived [at the prison], he probably wouldn't be of any use for any length of time because I think he's a bit like Howling Mad Murdoch from 'The A-Team': Every now and then he has to go and be locked in a padded room on his own just to reboot. I can't see that it's an easy road back for Morgan to be able to, either in battle or in peace, be able to settle long enough because he just wants things done. There's life and death and there's very little in between and that doesn't necessarily make him a good guy to be around in quiet moments," the actor said.
The actor left the door open for an eventual return, but sees the character simply joining the regular cast as a potential storytelling misstep. "It's always a possibility, but one of the brilliant things about 'The Walking Dead' is anybody can live, anybody can die, anybody can disappear and anybody can return. If the writers have the opportunity to make an event out of Morgan's return then that's probably a better way to use him than for him just to be there all the time. Either one of those are possibilities and any one of them could be exciting."
He continued, "I have nothing but good memories of my time on The Walking Dead and I love playing Morgan and hanging out in Atlanta and playing opposite Andy and the rest of the cast and seeing where they kind of take the story. All things are possible but all things are equally not always possible (laughs). I've liked being there so the rest is up to the gods of television."
Given the quality of last night's episode, here's hoping that it's not another three years before we see Morgan again.