The Walking Dead Review by John Keegan

The Walking Dead 8.03: Monsters

The Walking Dead 8.03: Monsters

Written By:
Matthew Negrete and Channing Powell
Directed By:
Greg Nicotero

I’m still trying to figure out why the writers thought that an extended scene with Rick and Morales would seem like anything less than a waste of precious time.  Maybe they thought that it would serve to show how far Rick has come since the beginning of the series, highlight the things that Rick has been willing to do?  Or maybe Daryl’s quick and remorseless dispatch of Morales would show that Rick still has compassion left, comparatively?  Whatever the case, it was a very strange place to spend so much time.



Frankly, I like Daryl better in this “kill or be killed” mode, because it tests the brotherly bond between him and Rick.  Rick is being overly sentimental about what needs to be done, especially considering (once again) that this entire war with the Saviors began with mass slaughter of sleeping men and women.   So every time Rick takes another Polaroid (where did he get all the film?), it’s hard to take it seriously.


Aaron’s personal strife and loss, in my opinion, was the more meaningful subplot.  Not that we had a lot of time with Eric to care if he lived or died, but Aaron has been one of the more gentle souls in the entire group.  It’s damn clear that Eric is going to die before long, and so it’s easy to feel sorrow for Aaron, to wonder what this might do to him over time.




Compared to that, it felt like Morgan’s descent back into insanity for a while was ill-conceived.  For one thing, the sudden attack by the Walkers on the road was ludicrous.  For such a large group, it seems rather hard to imagine that so many Walkers would come out of nowhere and move so quickly as to cause so much carnage.  It feels far more like a one of Nicotero’s attempts to shortcut to a moment that can highlight his team’s effects again, like so many in the premiere. 


Even more crazy is Jesus’ hard line on the Saviors they have captured.  Granted, it’s consistent with his decisions in the previous episode, but it seems more designed to get him to face off with Morgan than something he’s truly embraced.  Jesus has always been more pragmatic in my memory; Morgan’s point, that wiping out the Saviors is the best way to ensure safety, pretty much makes Jesus’ comment that they will all need to live together afterward a bit odd.  Not too mention that the fight’s end seems very convenient.



Not unlike the decision to not riddle Negan with holes, I can’t quite reconcile that Maggie would allow Gregory to live and re-enter Hilltop.  It’s completely the kind of decision that exists only to serve future plot points.  As much as Xander Berkeley is damn good at playing that rat, that’s not a good reason to keep him around.  Of all the things they could have changed from the source material, taking him out early would have been justified (and merciful to the audience!).


And then there is Carol and King Ezekiel.  There is a constant feeling of impending tragedy to the constant proclamations that “not one of our number shall fall”.  It’s inevitable that it would end in mass casualties, especially when Rick and Daryl learn that the big guns have been relocated.  It’s hard to know how many will fall, but things went altogether too well for Team Grimes for the next episode to be equally one-sided.


Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Aaron’s plight is heart-wrenching and one of the few moments of pathos in the episode
  • King Ezekiel is wonderfully theatrical, as usual
The Bad:
  • It feels like this show has stopped making sense as the narrative gets more and more choppy

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

The Walking Dead by - 11/6/2017 4:49 PM184 views

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