In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap, Rick faces off with Morales, King Ezekiel celebrates a little too soon and Jesus is at odds with Morgan…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The war between the three communities — Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom — against the dreaded Saviors continued into the third week on ‘The Walking Dead’ with separate battles ending in victory with one very noticeable defeat.
Rick was forced to confront a face from the past as Morales returned for the first time since season one when he left the survivors in Atlanta and decided to head towards Birmingham, Alabama with his family. As it turns out, Morales never made it to Alabama and neither did his family.
Meanwhile, Aaron and his group try to fend off the Saviors while attacking an outpost where they were making and repairing weapons but a considerable loss is felt as the first serious casualty of the war is felt on one side.
And then there’s Morgan taking on Jesus as they have very different philosophies on what to do with the remaining Saviors who are willing to surrender once the fight is over. Morgan’s no kill policy has long since been trampled and after seeing the brutality of the Saviors over and over again, he can no longer abide any of them being left alive. On the other hand, Jesus believes that moving towards peace now by settling with the Saviors who surrender will go a long way towards ending this war once Negan has finally been defeated.
The one ray of sunshine this week came from King Ezekiel leading a charge against a Savior outpost while following the advice of Carol, who seems to be his new field general, but his cockiness comes back to haunt him after declaring that he would not sacrifice a single person during this fight.
Proclaiming victory and that no one will die in ‘The Walking Dead’ is akin to saying ‘I’ll be right back’ in a horror movie because you won’t be back. Ever.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘Monsters’…
Following the conclusion of last week’s episode where Morales — a character last seen during the first season of ‘The Walking Dead’ — showed up with a gun drawn on Rick, saying that he just placed a call to the Saviors and he’s now awaiting their arrival.
It seems after Atlanta, Morales never made it to Birmingham with his family and his wife and child were killed. At that point — much like Rick and Morgan — he lost his mind and with it his will to live. If not for being rescued by the Saviors, who decided his life was worth a shit, would he still be living today. The Saviors rescued Morales and now he’s loyal to them no matter the bond he may have shared with Rick for a few days when they were camping out together outside of Atlanta.
Morales tells Rick that ultimately they became the same person while living through this hellish apocalypse except he ended up with the gun in his hand with the advantage in this situation. Morales’ tale about the Saviors rescuing him brings up an age old ‘what if’ from fans of ‘The Walking Dead’….
Could you imagine seeing this story in reverse where we followed Negan and his group rather than Rick and his survivors? Would we feel that Negan was justified in his actions if we saw what he went through trying to build the Saviors and the Sanctuary? Obviously, Morales feels that Negan is every bit entitled to what he’s done compared to Rick currently staging the revolt.
It’s yet another in a long list of questions about morality that have permeated the first few episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’ season 8.
As it turns out, Morales’ advantage is quickly turned against him as Rick is trying to talk him down when Daryl arrives and puts an arrow right between his eyes before he knows what hit him. Rick tries to stop Daryl just before pulling the trigger but in an instant it’s already over. Rick seemed to think he could stop Morales with a conversation…Daryl’s crossbow disagreed.
Unfortunately, Rick doesn’t have much time to argue about that right now as the Saviors arrive after receiving the distress call from Morales and another fight is just about to begin.
A Man of His Word
Back at the weapon depot where Aaron, Eric, Tobin and the rest of the troops have been engaged in a fire fight with the Saviors for quite some time, the battle is starting to die down because almost everybody on the opposing side is already dead.
Unfortunately in the midst of that fight, Eric took a gunshot to the belly and Aaron is forced to pull him out while still trying to win the battle. Aaron sees that the bullet already exited Eric’s body and he believes that might save his boyfriend’s life as he sits him down by a tree outside of the line of fire. Aaron wants nothing more than to stay by his side but Eric insists that he goes back to finish what he started.
Aaron leaves and as it turns out that’s the last time he’d see Eric alive.
He rushes back to the fight where the Saviors have retreated because they are exiting out on the other side of the building to answer Morales’ distress call. Those last remaining Saviors arrive and try to flush Rick and Daryl out but they underestimate who they are up against.
Rick and Daryl are able to survive and then set off a fire extinguisher, which gives them a cloud cover to get the drop on the remaining Saviors. The fight is won as Rick and Daryl help put an end to the fight that Aaron and his group started on the other side of the building.
After the fight is finished, Aaron returns to find that Eric is no longer by that tree because he’s already died and reanimated as one of the walking dead. Aaron is devastated but he knows that the fight must go on.
When Rick and Daryl emerge with baby Gracie — remember the child that he discovered in a crib last week? — Aaron insists on taking her with him to the Hilltop. It seems Aaron and Eric were going to the Hilltop to give Maggie an update on the fighting and he wants to follow through with his promise. Aaron won’t be going with Eric any longer, but he’s going to finish what he started so he takes Gracie and heads towards the Hilltop.
As Rick and Daryl are packing up to leave, a gunshot rings out and hits one of their vehicles. They quickly go into hiding but it only takes Rick a moment to realize that the gunman is all alone, trying to hold up behind a tree in the distance.
Rick shouts out to him that if he gives up his gun and answers whatever questions they have for him, he will be allowed to take a vehicle and return unscathed. Rick promises the lone Savior that he will survive if he surrenders and offers the man his word as proof that no harm will come to him.
The man emerges from behind the tree, dropping his weapon and giving Rick and Daryl the information they need. It turns out there were guns stored at this outpost until yesterday when they were moved to a different outpost run by Gavin, one of Negan’s right hand men. The outpost is to the west — presumably where King Ezekiel and his group land in this particular episode.
Once he gives up the information, he asks if he can go but before he can even turn around to run, Daryl shoots him dead. Rick is shocked at what just took place, especially after he gave the man his word that he would be safe if he surrendered. Unfortunately it seems Daryl is operating under a different principle in this all out war.
Take no prisoners.
Can’t Be Here Anymore
On the road back to the Hilltop, Jesus, Tara, and Morgan are marching with a pack of Saviors who surrendered at the satellite compound. Of course, Morgan wasn’t on board with this plan and neither was Tara but Jesus seems to think that the Saviors who willingly surrendered should not be slaughtered.
Of course it doesn’t help matters much that Morgan is being taunted by Jared — the member of the Saviors who used to make pickups at the Kingdom and helped lead to Benjamin’s death last season. Morgan has finally heard enough when he’s about to put his bo staff through Jared’s throat when the convoy is attacked by a herd of walkers falling down a hill nearby to them.
Morgan, Jesus and the others are fighting back the walkers, which gives Jared and his group a chance to make a run for it.
The 10-person group makes it into the woods, but Morgan quickly catches up to them and executes one of the Saviors, which makes it impossible for anyone else to run away as they were all tied together. Morgan is just about to put a bullet in Jared’s brain when Jesus arrives to stop him.
At that point, Morgan has heard enough of Jesus trying to justify saving these Saviors and the two of them end up in a fight. Jesus eventually gets the better of Morgan before handing him back his staff, which he then promptly puts to his throat. Morgan doesn’t kill Jesus, however, because he instead decides that he can no longer be a part of this fight. Morgan has been conflicted for so long — he went mad, Eastman brought him back from the brink and taught him the mantra to value life and now he’s gone on a killing spree again. Morgan is struggling to find his balance and it feels like he might tip off the edge at any moment.
Morgan leaves through the woods, abandoning the rest of the group while Jesus and Tara take the remaining Savior prisoners back to the Hilltop.
Before they arrive, Gregory makes it back to the Hilltop in the car he stole from Father Gabriel while leaving him to die at the Sanctuary. Gregory begs for entrance and claims that he only told Negan that the Hilltop would join him because he was scared for his life. Now he knows that the Saviors must be defeated and he’s ready to join the ranks of those fighting against him.
Maggie is against letting him back inside but Gregory’s pathetic blubbering and begging eventually gets the better of her — and it’s safe to say that will be a mistake down the road — but she lets him back into the Hilltop because he’s not worth the kill. It doesn’t take long for Gregory to let his voice be heard when Jesus shows up with the convoy of prisoners at the Hilltop.
Gregory says there’s no way they can let these prisoners through the gate, especially with families and people living inside. For once, Gregory has a good point but Jesus counters that perhaps they could keep the prisoners in a pair of trailers outside the walls with constant supervision until the war is finished. Jesus believes that these people can be transformed once the war is over.
Maggie doesn’t exactly give her answer but it’s clear Jesus is going to fight to keep them all alive.
All Accounted For
King Ezekiel gives another grand standing speech about winning the war and how he’s not going to lose anybody because they are fighting for what’s right. Now proclaiming that no one is going to die is almost a guarantee that a bunch of people are about to get slaughtered.
At first, Ezekiels proclamation comes to life as Carol plots an attack and a trap on the Saviors as they spring into action on two different occasions and cut down their enemies in brutal fashion. The second attack ends with a group of Saviors being shot and that leaves an open path to another compound that Ezekiel’s Kingdom army is looking to conquer.
Ezekiel is given the report that all soldiers are accounted and alive, which brings a smile to his face as he celebrates that they all made it to the compound without losing a single person. Carol decides to go inside to verify that all the remaining Saviors have been eradicated but just as she walks away, Ezekiel looks up and sees a sniper sitting in a vent window at the top of the building.
Ezekiel shouts for everyone to scatter but it’s already too late.
The machine gun fire rings out with a huge number of soldiers from the Kingdom being shot and killed. Several dive for King Ezekiel to protect him as they are also cut down as blood goes flying and even more lives are lost.
King Ezekiel got a little cocky because he tasted some success in the early part of this war but he failed to realize that not everybody makes it out alive when battle lines are drawn. He just found out the hard way that war is hell and this fight has only just started.
‘The Walking Dead’ returns with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9pm ET on AMC