‘The Walking Dead’ Recap ‘The Damned’: Prisoners of War

In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap, Rick, Morgan and Carol lead assaults on three different Savior compounds as a familiar face from the past returns…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

It’s not easy for any past character to make a surprise return on ‘The Walking Dead’ because virtually anybody who has left the show has done so after being transformed into a walker.

There are a few exceptions — Heath, we’re looking directly at you — but no one could have predicted that a long forgotten character from season one of ‘The Walking Dead’ would make a shocking return during season eight in the latest episode called ‘The Damned’.

Teasers for this season have said that the first four episodes are a lot of action as the citizens of Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom team up to take on the Saviors. Last week showed the survivors striking a first blow at the Sanctuary — the home base for Negan and his army — but no one imagined that there wouldn’t be bloodshed on both sides when this was finished.

That’s exactly what we got this week as the Saviors suffered more losses but so did the three attacking parties attempting to take over the outposts.

Carol and King Ezekiel gave chase to an escaping Savior, who would then signal the next outpost they were scheduled to attack while Morgan’s group was tasked with taking back the satellite outpost that the survivors already took two seasons ago before finding out exactly what kind of enemy they were facing in Negan.

The satellite outpost would also provide an interesting moral conundrum as Jesus and Tara had directly opposing views on what to do with prisoners of war.

Aaron and Tobin also led an attack on another outpost where weapons were being built and finally there’s Rick and Daryl, who were taking on an outpost that was supposed to be a stockade for Savior weapons but instead the former cop from Atlanta got a blast from the past that he hadn’t thought about in years.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘The Damned’…

Let’s Put a Smile On That Face

Following an attack on a Savior medical facility outpost, King Ezekiel and Carol’s forces are surprised when the lookout drops a smoke bomb before opening a door that reveals a herd of walkers were hidden inside the building as he makes his getaway.

Ezekiel, Carol and the rest of the troops put down the walkers amidst a cloud of smoke and ringing in their ears from the bomb exploding, but now they’ve got bigger issues to face. Namely that Savior lookout who is currently darting towards alerting his fellow soldiers that there’s an orchestrated attack taking place right now.

A long trip through the woods doesn’t yield many results but as frustration washes over Carol’s face, a smile creeps across Ezekiel’s as he looks as hopeful as ever. He explains to Carol that putting on a brave face helps instill confidence in the troops and by smiling and exuding confidence that they will catch the rogue Savior will help their soldiers believe it, too.

Perhaps it’s best stated as Ezekiel tells Carol ‘fake it until you make it, baby’.

Well said, your highness.

The search finally gets some results when they find blood splattered across the woods, which lets the group know that they must have tagged the Savior with their gunfire before the smoke bomb took them down. A few minutes later, Ezekiel and Carol are closing in on the lone survivor when the king tells his soldiers to lower their weapons because reinforcements have arrived.

A second later, Shiva springs into action and takes down the rogue Savior who escaped as the tiger rips his face off as King Ezekiel’s other troops ordered to circle around to the other side of the woods caught up to the escapee first. The plot to take down the next outpost remains a secret as Ezekiel can only help but smile back at Carol because his plan worked.

Prisoners of War

At the satellite outpost, Morgan wants to go in quietly rather than attack with a fire fight so he suggests taking out the guards one by one with silencers to hopefully spring an attack on the remaining troops on the inside. Morgan is flanked by to lesser experienced gunmen, who are ready to watch his back but he suggests that they go on without him.

“I don’t die”

Morgan’s ominous warning might sound like a guy just begging to get killed because anyone proclaiming immortality on ‘The Walking Dead’ is seemingly doomed. In Morgan’s case, however, he seems to be the one who always survives even to his own detriment. Morgan survived when his wife was bitten. Morgan survived when his son Dwayne was taken from him. Morgan survived when his mentor Eastman was taken.

Morgan always seems to make it out of every bad situation but that doesn’t mean he’s celebrating. Instead, Morgan survives while everyone he cares about seems to die.

Morgan’s plan works to perfection as he draws some walkers near his side of the fence, which then gets the guards’ attention so he can kill both of them without signaling any alarms.

Meanwhile, Jesus and Tara lead a secondary force into the satellite station while taking out guards one by one with little to no noise while stalking through the facility looking for soldiers to kill.

The room by room search ends with Tara and Jesus finding a random Savior inside a closet after just urinating in his pants. Clearly this guy wasn’t built for war.

He immediately throws his hands up in surrender, begging for mercy while explaining that Negan sent him here to serve as a cook for the troops while his wife and kids are stuck back at the Sanctuary. Jesus decides to show the man mercy because he’s giving his unconditional surrender. Tara disagrees and believes that each person who stands next to Negan deserves to die.

Tara is proven correct after the soldier gets the drop of them and puts a gun to Jesus’ head and confirms that he peed his pants — which is apparently a lot harder to do than you think when doing it on purpose — to help get the drop on them. He then orders Tara to give up her gun or Jesus will die and there will be no resurrection unless he comes back as a zombie.

That’s when Jesus pulls out his ninja moves, disarms the soldier and knocks him down before Tara has the chance to make a decision. Despite the Savior threatening to kill them both, Jesus decides that it’s better to let him live so he ties him up as they rejoin the rest of the group hunting down the remaining soldiers.

Finally, Jesus and Tara track down the last of the Saviors as they were about to escape out of the bad end of the facility. While all of them are carrying weapons, the lead Savior tells them to disarm and surrender. Tara still believes that taking prisoners in this war is a bad move, but Jesus proclaims that they need to be better than Negan and slaughtering unarmed men willing to surrender makes them the same kind of monster.

Meanwhile inside, Morgan’s three man team is gunned down after a battalion of Saviors opens fire on them. Somehow, Morgan survives yet again — although he did take a bullet in the arm — but as he wakes up from his injuries, he looks around to find that both of the people with him are dead. The Saviors did leave him with his weapon and another handgun nearby and that’s when he decides to finish this mission himself.

With flashbacks to a conversation he had with Rick at Alexandria, Morgan hears the voice telling him that the only way to win this war is to end the Saviors. There’s no remorse and no surrender.

So like the Terminator, Morgan goes from room to room executing any and all Saviors he finds left remaining in the compound. Finally, Morgan makes his way outside when he’s blinded by the light and he sees the mass amount of troops with their hands held high as Jesus and Tara are taking them prisoner. Morgan snaps back out of kill mode until he spots one particular Savior soldier — the one who attended the meetings with the Saviors, who ultimately led to his prodigy Benjamin being killed.

Morgan wastes no time putting a gun to his head but Jesus is able to talk him down before he can pull the trigger.

It’s clear based on these first two episodes that the morality of war is going to be a big theme of this season. Rick questioned last episode ‘is my mercy greater than my wrath?’ and that will continue to be the key to this entire battle.

Should the communities fighting against Negan damn anyone and everyone who has chosen his side or is there a level of mercy that can be shown in times of war?

Gut Shot

In the third outpost attack, Aaron, Eric and Tobin lead their troops against a Savior compound where they are assembling weapons. The scene plays out with a ton of gunfire being exchanged but no real dialogue outside of one of the Saviors noting that the troops from Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom aren’t really advancing their forces but rather sitting back and just opening fire.

It turns out that was a strategy because as each of the fallen Saviors wakes back up as one of the undead, the remaining soldiers are now fighting a war on two sides.

Unfortunately this battle claims one of the women who joined the fight from Oceanside as well as Tobin taking a bullet, although it looks like he’s going to live. Finally, Aaron rushes to help his boyfriend Eric escape after he gets pinned in by gunfire and he uses a car to roll over a few Saviors. Sadly when Aaron finally makes it to Eric he sees that his boyfriend as taken a bullet in the stomach and he’s bleeding badly.

This war wasn’t going to end without bloodshed on both sides and it appears this particular outpost attack could end with several significant deaths.

Blast from the Past

In the final attack on an outpost, Rick and Daryl lead a two-man force inside a former government building where they’ve been told a stockade of weapons has been hidden for the Saviors.

They go room by room and floor by floor but find nothing. As much as Daryl can’t stand Dwight, every bit of intel he’s given them thus far has worked out so there’s no reason to believe he’s leading them into a tramp right now.

Rick and Daryl split up on the fourth and final floor to cover more ground in quicker fashion. Daryl happens upon a room with a closet where he finds a handcuff, blood, a half eaten sandwich and dog food cans — an eerily reminiscent scene to the atrocity he lived through not that long ago when he was a prisoner of the Saviors.

And then Rick runs into his own bit of trouble as he gets into a brawl with one of the Savior guards at the outpost. A bloody battle ensues, but Rick finally gets the upper hand and kills him. Rick gets up from the fight and begins to search the compound again when he finds a child’s room and a baby sitting inside a crib.

Rick is horrified to think that he may have just killed this baby’s father but either way there are no guns here. Well there’s at least one as Rick hears a click just behind his head with a weapon pointed directly at him.

When Rick turns he’s shocked to see a face from the past — it’s Morales, one of the people he first encountered back in Atlanta during season one after leaving the hospital and being reunited with his family. Following the zombie attack on the camp that ended with Carol’s husband and Andrea’s sister Amy both being bitten, Rick, Lori, Carl, Shane and the rest of the group decided to leave to go to the CDC where they hoped to find help amidst the apocalypse.

It was Morales, who decided not to travel with them, instead taking his wife and child to hopefully reunite with family they had near Birmingham, Alabama. Rick hands him a gun, a box full of ammo and wishes them luck on their travels and no one ever expected them to run into each other again.

Except now here is Morales as he tells Rick that he’s already signaled the Saviors and the rest of the troops are on their way to the compound right now while he keeps his gun locked on the leader of the resistance.

Morales notes how the last time he encountered Rick was “a long time ago” and obviously a lot has changed for both of them since that time. In those days, Rick was all about preserving life rather than extinguishing it. A moment before Morales got the drop on him, Rick looked at himself in the mirror and he probably wouldn’t even recognize the person he was back when he first found his family after fleeing Atlanta.

Now the question remains will Rick still recognize himself once this war with Negan is finished?

‘The Walking Dead’ returns next Sunday night at 9pm ET on AMC with a brand new episode.

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