[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for “The Walking Dead” Season 8 Episode 3, “Monsters.”]
Whose Episode Is It?
Our fears from last week seem to be borne out, as we’re going to be spending an indefinite amount of time on this one lengthy initiative against the Saviors. That means plenty of cross-cutting between the various parties involved, which means no singular focus, yet again. What we do get are more discussions about morality, which lends more credence to the idea that it’ll be a big theme this season, instead of a passing fancy like in seasons past. Some intriguing ideas are raised in “Monsters,” namely just how alike Rick and his hated enemies the Saviors are, but the episode puts off exploring them for a later date. There’s still some action to be had, but it’s about as exciting as watching paint dry.
Man Is The True Monster
If I had to sum up this episode in a single sentence, it would be “We’re not so different, you and I.” That’s basically what Morales says to Rick, at length, while holding him at gunpoint. He does get points for noting that if Rick had the gun instead of him, he’d be dead. And once he gives Rick a little something to think about, Daryl sneaks up and shoots him dead with his crossbow. Bye, Morales! Congrats on being a walking anti-climax! Rick protests to Daryl a bit, but Daryl’s attitude is basically, “Yeah, it was Morales. Who cares?” Who, indeed?
Later, Rick and Daryl get shot at by a lone, scared Savior, and Rick promises him his freedom if he gives up his gun and some information. He does, and Daryl shoots him in the head. Rick makes a face that suggests he might start feeling bad about this two or three episodes from now.
How Far Is Too Far?
If you thought Morgan snapped last week, well he extra snaps this week, and actually gets in a physical fight with Jesus over not murdering the Savior prisoners. It’s nice to see some hand-to-hand action on this show for once, even if the stakes are low (you know these guys aren’t going to kill each other). Jesus pretty easily hands Morgan his ass, and Morgan runs off into the woods to be alone, but not before yelling about how their side is going to do things exactly as the Saviors did. They’re not so different, you see.
A Shred of Humanity
Aaron carries Eric over to a tree away from their battle, so they can share some kind words and a smooch before Aaron returns to the fray. Eric dies, because of course he does, and Aaron returns to the tree only to see zombie Eric shuffling away to join a zombie herd on the horizon. Ross Marquand does what he can with Aaron’s big cathartic moment of grief, but the scene is just too goofily reminiscent of the end of “The Jungle Book” to be anything other than funny. He belongs with his own kind, Aaron!
Aaron returns to the compound just in time to take the baby whose dad Rick killed last episode. He promises to return the girl to Hilltop and give Maggie an update. Lose a boyfriend, gain a baby. It’s the circle of life.
But hey, let’s give a big hand to Xander Berkeley, who once again steals the show as Gregory. He shows up to Hilltop, begging for mercy, and still manages to be a colossal wang about it. Finally, he gives enough John Turturro in “Miller’s Crossing” for Maggie to take pity on him, just in time for Jesus to arrive with his prisoners. Will Maggie let them in? I mean, probably. What use is a philosophical rift between our heroes if it’s just Jesus versus everyone else?
- Carol and Ezekiel’s story is pretty simple this week: Saviors pop up, the Kingdom guys shoot them, Saviors fall down. Repeat. Then Ezekiel gets SO jazzed about not losing a single one of his men that you just know he’s about to lose a bunch of his men, and hey, that’s exactly what happens!
- It’s impossible to pick the best Gregory line this episode, so here’s two: “I tried to save lives! Some people without opinions colored by a preoccupation for vengeance might call that heroic,” and “I did not eat those pancakes!”
- Jesus’s team encounters some zombies at the top of a hill, but since zombies can’t handle slopes, they just fall and just kind of log roll towards our heroes. It’s funny, but I have a feeling it wasn’t supposed to be.
- At the episode’s end, Rick goes off to talk to “those assholes” alone. Fingers crossed it’s the Dumpsters. I miss those art-school rejects.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.