‘The Walking Dead’ recap: ‘The Damned’ season 8 episode 2

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Posted Sunday, October 29, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

If you thought a lot of bullets flew during the season 8 debut, the fusillade in episode two would make Quentin Tarantino green with envy.

But good news: it’s a much better episode than the first one. There’s very little speechifying and actual casualties. Plus, it muddies the waters about whether Dwight is really helping them – or not. Up to this point, Dwight has enabled them to gain an early advantage in the war. But his intel leads Rick and Daryl to a home with supposed munitions. Instead, Rick kills a  man there only to find out he has a baby named Grace.

Morales from season one with Rick.

What’s worse, Rick is caught by a character from season one very few folks remember. At least I didn’t. I had to look him up after Rick uttered his name: Morales. He and his family were part of the original group of survivors but chose to go to Birmingham instead of going to the CDC during episode five. (Obsessives online have theorized about his return multiple times over the years.)

Somehow, by a monstrous coincidence (and given the size of the United States, monstrous), Morales runs into Rick on the outskirts of D.C. in Virginia, far far away from Birmingham and Atlanta. He points a gun on Rick and says he had contacted the Saviors of his whereabouts. Yup. He is now part of Negan’s team. Of course, Morales could have just killed Rick in cold blood but that’s not how this show works.

We know Daryl is around the corner and will probably save Rick, but the producers wouldn’t have bothered to have introduced Morales without good reason. We shall see.

Khary Payton as Ezekiel – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

So far, Rick has been making the first move, placing the Saviors at an initial disadvantage. There were three other attacks going on as well, with mixed results.

The big satellite outpost attack

On the bright side, Morgan, Tara and Jesus manage to take over one of the major outposts which featured big satellite towers. The conflict is between Jesus – who followed his namesake in a sense by trying to follow more humane rules of war – and both Tara and Morgan. Morgan, in fact, used to be like Jesus but is now in full-on Liam Neesan-level kill mode.

Tara wants revenge and when a man who peed in his pants is caught in a closet, she plans to just shoot him cold. He convinces Jesus that he’s just a worker, not a soldier and Jesus argues with Tara over the man’s fate. But when they get distracted, the man takes Jesus hostage, training a gun on his head while Tara pointed a gun at him. There’s a stand off until the man tries to shoot Tara and Jesus disarms him. Instead of just killing him, Jesus ties him up and knocks him out. Such “niceness” rarely goes well in this world.

Morgan appears to be shot at one point but his metallic outfit saves him. He kills what seems like a dozen dudes until he sees Jesus and Tara with dozens of surrendered Saviors. He wants to kill them but holds off. The question in this world: what do you do with prisoners of war? if this is truly kill-or-be-killed, why even bother? It’s not like the Geneva Conventions are in play anymore.

The Alexandria crew’s outpost attack

Very few of the Saviors have gotten much dialogue but in this case, we get introduced to a jerk-ish female commander. She abuses a minion, then realizes they are getting attacked by the Alexandrians. She talks tough but ultimately can’t fight off Rick’s group. In the end, she sees one of her colleagues turn and just sits there and allows to get munched. Weird!

Some of the lesser players at Alexandria who have managed to survive get to shoot guns including Tobin (Carol’s brief boyfriend), Eric (Aaron’s squeeze) and Scott, who has gotten an occasional line in but continues to have no real story line.

Remember this guy? He shows up shooting Saviors tonight for Alexandria.

Eric at one point gets hit by a bullet in the abdomen and Aaron is seen taking him away to try to save his life.

Tiger town

During the first episode, King Ezekiel’s crew with Carol try to enter an outpost but hit a snag. A Savior throws a few smoke bombs to escape, then have to fight off a few walkers. But he’s bleeding and they track him down. At the time, King Ezekiel keeps talking confidently in public about vanquishing the enemy. Carol gets annoyed. Setting her aside, he lets down his guard for a second to say, in non-Shakespearean prose, “Fake it til you make it, baby.”

His explanation: “I am king because I provided a light to lead my people through the darkness. They have made my fictions reality.”

Shiva eventually kills the man – and the tiger’s ability to attack specific people is so impressive even Carol is impressed. But the Savior had managed to warn the outpost ahead via walkie-talkie. “They know we’re coming,” Carol saiys implying they should retreat. King Ezekiel doesn’t care. He didn’t come here to retreat. They are going to move forward.

Who was missing this week?

This episode was Negan and Eugene free. And Michonne/Carl/Rosita/Maggie/Enid/Gabriel/Gregory free as well.

Grade: B-plus


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