- "You saw it happen, that's how this started, right? It’s all happening right in front of your eyes, over and over again. Your body's here, but your mind is still there. There's a door and you want to go through it, to get away from it, so you do, and leads you right back to that moment. And you see that door again, you know it won't work but hell, maybe it'll work, so you step through that door and you're right back in that horrible moment every time. You still feel it every time, so you just want to stop opening that door, so you just sit in it. But I assure you, one of those doors leads out, my friend."
- —Eastman to Morgan Jones[src]
Eastman (first name unknown) is a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead. He lives alone in a cabin in the woods, where he crosses paths with Morgan Jones and forms a strong friendship with him.
Although he only appeared in one episode, Eastman was shown to be a highly intelligent, caring and peaceful person who was a strong, determined survivor. Before the apocalypse occurred, Eastman suffered a terrible tragedy at the hands of one of his former patients, Crighton Dallas Wilton who murdered his whole family and thus inspired Eastman to take revenge. Eastman was eventually able to achieve revenge against Wilton by capturing him and starving him to death in a cell. Eastman appeared to regret this later on and claimed that Wilton's death brought him no peace, and it was from this incident that he vowed to never kill another human being again, a vow he maintained for the rest of his life and is what finally brought him peace. Despite this he seemed to be close to the edge on a few occasions after meeting Morgan when he attacked him and destroyed a personal memento made by his daughter.
Despite his passive nature, Eastman was also a very capable fighter with his mastery of Aikido and was easily able to fend off the dead and also Morgan in his crazed state. Eastman also seemed to show a degree of respect to the Walkers as after putting them down he would bury them in a homemade cemetery with grave markers reading their real names.
During the time they knew each other, Eastman passed his wisdom and knowledge onto Morgan and effectively returned him from insanity and became a good friend, mentor and almost father figure to him. Eastman's care for Morgan was very apparent as he saved him from being attacked by one of Morgan's zombified victims, causing his own demise in the process.
Eastman was a forensic psychiatrist working for the prison system. He had a wife, son, and a daughter and lived in Atlanta. He and his wife also built a cabin before their daughter was born. At some point Eastman took classes for Aikido.
Throughout his career Eastman interviewed many convicted criminals, however he claimed that the only truly evil one he ever met was a man named Crighton Dallas Wilton. While a model prisoner in the eyes of the prison staff, Eastman saw Wilton for what he was, an evil, manipulative psychopath. When the time for Wilton's parole came up, Eastman was the one to interview him and it was here that Wilton realized that Eastman had seen through his facade and attempted to kill him. Thanks to his Aikido training, Eastman was able to repel Wilton and deemed him unsuitable for release.
Following this, Wilton was able to escape from prison after manipulating the prison staff but instead of fleeing, he went to Eastman's home and savagely murdered his wife, daughter, and son. Following this he surrendered to the police and claimed the only reason he broke out was to destroy Eastman's life. Despite the murders, Wilton was somehow spared the death penalty, which enraged Eastman who then set out to enact revenge on Wilton.
A year later, Eastman kidnapped Crighton from prison and put him in a makeshift cell that he had built in his family's cabin; Crighton died 47 days later of starvation, and was later buried.
After Crighton's death, Eastman decided to return to Atlanta to turn himself in as he felt remorseful for what he did to Crighton and received no peace from his death. When he made it to Atlanta, he discovered the apocalypse had already occurred and he then went back to his house to cut out a drawing that his daughter had done on one of the walls, losing his car on the way back and forcing him to return to his cabin
Eastman survived at the cabin by gardening, scavenging, and defending himself with Aikido, while swearing to never kill another human being ever again. He also kept a goat named "Tabitha" for company and to help him make cheese, and maintained a sizable graveyard for every walker he has ever killed.
Eastman, hiding in the bushes, greets Morgan Jones as he arrives on his property, but after being shot at he manages to knock Morgan out with his staff, then places him in his cabin's cell. For the next few days he feeds Morgan and introduces himself, wanting to treat Morgan's PTSD and become friends; Eastman is planning a journey but needs someone to accompany him. He lets him out of the cell (which was unlocked the entire time - Eastman had long since thrown the key into the river) only to be attacked - breaking his daughter's wall drawing in the struggle. Eastman prevails and considers killing Morgan in revenge, but spares him instead.
The next morning he leaves Morgan to perform some errands, then returns to discover he had saved Tabitha from a pair of walkers. He thanks him and shows him a new staff he had crafted from one of Morgan's makeshift spears, and then proceeds to train him in the art of Aikido and the way of peacemaking. The two men bond over a long period, with Eastman revealing some of his backstory one night - involving Crighton and the cabin cell he built for him. While gathering some gear from one of Morgan's campsites and helping Morgan grieve for his own lost family, a walker approaches, but Morgan recognizes it and is too stunned to react; Eastman pushes him out of the way and is bitten, but manages to kill the walker. Morgan's mental state regresses and he attacks Eastman again, who subdues him and leaves him behind - taking the dead walker with him. He is next seen at the graveyard burying the same walker, when Morgan returns with another dead walker and Tabitha's corpse. Morgan then notices Crighton's grave and Eastman reveals more of his backstory - from Crighton's kidnapping and death, up until his discovery of the apocalypse.
Later inside the cabin, Eastman grows sicker from his bite wound and suggests that Morgan should leave - encouraging him to find other people to survive with. He then reveals that there is a gun in a lock box outside - implying that he is ready to die. Before they head outside, Eastman passes Morgan his daughter's rabbit foot - hoping that it will give him luck on his travels.
- 20's Man (Infected, Caused)
- Himself (Indirectly Caused)
- Morgan Jones (Indirectly Caused, Before Reanimation)
Upon seeing the undead man, Morgan has an episode of PTSD and freezes in place as Morgan had previously strangled him to death. Eastman rushes in to put down the walker before it can harm Morgan, and pushes him out of the way and is bitten in the back. Eastman then puts the walker down. After a time and with his infection worsening, Eastman tells Morgan "I'm ready," and tells Morgan he has a gun outside. Eastman presumably dies from the infection or shoots himself and is then put down by Morgan to prevent reanimation and buried in his cemetery.
This list shows the victims Eastman has killed:
- Crighton Dallas Wilton (Caused)
- 20's Man (Zombified)
- Himself (Indirectly Caused)
- Numerous counts of zombies
- "Here's Not Here" (Flashback)
- His weapon of choice is a wooden staff.
- The marker Morgan made for his grave read "E. Eastman".
- John Carroll Lynch speculates that his first name is Elwood, named after Elwood Blues.
- Eastman is the third character to be known by their last name, the first being Morales and the second being Martinez.
- Eastman appears to be ambidextrous, as he is shown using a fork & a pencil with his left hand, but also using his staff with his right hand.
- Eastman's death is similar to Dale's; Carl was responsible for attracting the walker that disemboweled Dale, while Morgan was responsible for attracting the walker that bit Eastman; both characters were eventually put down later, and both voluntarily, before reanimating.