REVIEW: The Walking Dead, S8 Ep2 – The Damned

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep2 - The Damned

The Walking Dead continues the war against the Saviors in another action-packed episode. The season premiere was only the beginning of Rick and company’s comprehensive campaign to strike back against Negan’s forces. In the second episode they are split up into four groups, each with their own mission to take down the Saviors.

Rick and Daryl are on their own infiltrating a mansion to try and find more weapons; Aaron led an assault on one group; Jesus, Tara, and Morgan led another one (complete with a complex moral conundrum); and Carol, King Ezekiel, and Shiva hunted down a runaway lookout.

And despite the differences in missions, most of the episode felt a bit slow. Sure, the performances were still pretty strong, and there was the unavoidable tension, but things still felt like a re-tread of familiar territory for The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep2 - The DamnedEzekiel and Carol’s dynamic remained fun and refreshing, with her even managing to smile at him, despite seeing through all of his theatrics. They make a good team and he is so pleased to be fighting with her by his side.

Morgan is constantly switching from one extreme to another, going from murderous rage to absolute humanitarian pacifist and now, with the competing voices in his head, back to the murderous rage. There’s no middle ground for this guy. And he’s too capable a fighter to not succeed in whichever path he chooses to take. So it’s interesting to see him go berserk on the Saviors after watching him rein it in for so long.

In this episode, Jesus lives up to his name and tries to convince Tara and Morgan not to massacre all the Saviors in sight. Though it’s an interesting character choice, it also feels like it came out of nowhere. And in the world of The Walking Dead, showing mercy can be a serious liability. We don’t want to watch characters kill wantonly, but more often than not on the show, people are worth killing. Just like that guy that Jesus asked Tara to spare, but who turned out to be a real douchebag in the end. This isn’t the best time to spare people, and especially not Saviors.

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep2 - The DamnedThe biggest development to come from this long, drawn-out affair was the twist in the end: Rick had a blast from the past in the form of Morales, a character from way back in season one of The Walking Dead. He was one of the original group of refugees from Atlanta and one of the first people Rick met after waking up in the hospital. Many fans have been wondering about the fate of Morales and his family after they chose to split up from the group and not go with them to the CDC.

And now, as it happens, he’s one of the Saviors, and he’s already called for back-up. What does this mean for Rick? They clearly recognize each other even after all these years, but will this be enough to turn the tide? And why bring back a character from all that time ago? One gets the sense that he still has a significant role to play on the show, and I can’t wait to see what this will be.