The Walking Dead: Monsters Review
AMC‘s The Walking Dead, season 8, episodes 3, ‘Monsters,’ had a titular case to make, since there may still be viewers utterly convinced of who the ‘good guys’ are, on this series. To that end, the message was laid on pretty thick, I think; but there was enough going on to maybe distract from that message. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
While the main theme revolved around Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and Morgan (Lennie James), as they dealt with some of the initial consequences of opening round success, other principal & peripheral characters had their own issues-in-progress to deal with.
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) may have finally put her foot down – albeit mercifully – regarding homing weasel, Gregory (Xander Berkeley); but he was a petty annoyance, compared to the moral crisis that Jesus (Tom Payne) was about to bring to her Hilltop management. Jesus had considerably more difficulty just getting to that point; but that tied into the much larger issue, regarding Morgan.
Say what you will, about Gregory, his brand of weaselly can be downright entertaining, when allowed to be. It doesn’t mean any of us want him dead any less – it just means that we can appreciate Maggie making him squirm, and not being totally sick of just seeing him, before his uppance comes.
The King & I road show had been running parallel to Rick’s rampage, and Morgan’s massacre issue – with Ezekiel (Khary Payton) reassuring Carol (Melissa McBride) about their inevitable triumph (despite the odds), and Carol reassuring us that this was actually possible (despite that optimism coming across as foreshadowing).
Carol, or no Carol, wasting the whistlers was too easy – hell, their whole campaign rolled out too easy. It looked like there wasn’t a single Savior getting a shot off – hard to imagine, given how long that duck shoot went on for. The phrase “not a one” had to mean something other than getting Carol to smile along with the King.
I tried harder to not be distracted by minor details (that turn major, IRL), this time around; but I maintain the right to pick at nits. Cars still make for less-than-perfect cover, in a full-auto gunfight – especially if you’re standing behind the window glass. Just sayin’.
I was also left wondering why tree-line lurking Walkers seemed heading away from the carnage, instead of swarming to it; but we weren’t meant to focus on that. Sorry, Aaron (Ross Marquand), but it looks like humiliation & loss is what it takes to get you quality screen time (not that we were meant to notice that, either). Ah, but does trading Aaron’s baby for another reset the slate?
Looks to me like the All Out War will make for a decisive step, in the evolution of our heroes. Y’know – the one that has been a slow-boiled-frog descent into villainy. If you’re still not buying into that long-standing theory of mine, consider Tara (Alanna Masterson) play-executing captive Saviors. Seemed like the kind of needless pissing that’s been coming from the Saviors, before the worm turned. Of course Tara, Rick… pretty much all of them have good reasons for bad behavior; but I think the point is that we’re being set up to apply their individual/ collective experiences to most of the monsters they’ve met, along the way. Despite our vested interest, Rick is the other Negan; and the Saviors may have all the same reasons to follow Negan, as the allied communes do Rick. Trust me, such conflicts wouldn’t be nearly interesting enough, otherwise.
On the other hand, it might take a bit to figure which ‘good guy’ could’ve been as blindly annoying as Jared (Joshua Mikel).
In any case, Morales (Juan Gabriel Pareja) made the clearest case for that argument, before Daryl drove home the point. The case was made, however, to be left as either a matter of self-reflection, or as a taunt, at some point; but unless some other roadie resurrection is in the works, I think the matter will be left to stew for a bit, between blood-lettings.
In the meantime: Rick’s taking Polaroids of dead Saviors, and Daryl’s… taking ‘business’ a little casually. You figure what that’s worth.
Somewhere between Walkers tumbling onto the scene, and a momentary case of bad marksmanship (resulting in Jared not being the executed escapee), Morgan took up his own corner of the argument with Jesus, again. Given Morgan’s history, Morales wasn’t entirely necessary, it turns out. Beyond Rick, as the over-arching example of how road rules work, Morgan has been a sample platter of all the different routes any given roadie could’ve taken, along the way.
Of course, none of the Many Morgans have taken lead without a fight; so if Jesus wanted to be the new moral compass of the group, he had to pry the remains of Morgan Monk out of Massacre Morgan’s kung-fu grip.
I’m almost ashamed to say I had been looking forward to this (almost); but also glad they got it out of the way. The Morgan Madness had been addressed in a way that not every fan was a fan of; and this was as good a means as any of making Morgan’s mentality matter, again. Visible cracks, between Hawks & Doves in the Rick ranks, will likely only make the various dynamics that much more complicated.
Maggie & Jesus seem to be headed for some Morgan Monk vs Killer Carol friction, for instance; even as Carol was just starting to jump to Ezekiel’s jive.
So, who else heard the King’s “not a one” line as a running set-up, for a significant set-back?
‘Monsters’ managed to pause, so certain ramifications could be addressed, without actually breaking stride. An encouraging feat. As further ramifications build up, however, I’m not sure how long that will last. There will be a counterattack, at some point – making it quite doable – but there always seems to be the temptation to break for exposition, review, or just to let a bottle ep roll past.
So far, however, season 8 has given me reason to at least hope the show continues to Walker & shoot guns at the same time.
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