The Walking Dead: S8E3 ‘Monsters’ – Review

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By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This review contains spoilers.

We are now into week three of The Walking Dead Season Eight, and once again we have been treated to another action-packed, drama infused episode. This season has started unbelievably strong, and yet there is still a good amount of hate for the show on social media and from popular YouTubers.

While valid criticism is healthy, that is not what is being thrown The Walking Dead’s way. The negativity is, by in large, unfounded and ridiculous. The show has addressed its biggest failings and yet some people are determined to take issue with the show. Move on folks, if you hate it so much why are you still watching it?

Anway, with the rant over, how about we move onto what really matters, episode three – ‘Monsters‘.

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This episode is the third continuation of the assault on The Saviors, it picks up from last week’s episode. While they have been in the same locations, executing the same plan, it hasn’t dragged on or felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. The writing has been good, the editing has been snappy and the action has kept the episodes flowing at a good pace. They have done really well to make this assault last for as long as it has done, but I’m also glad that the majority of it has now been completed so they can move on to different stories and locations. It was just the right amount of time, a fourth episode would have been a step too far.

The only group still in active conflict is King Ezekiel’s group. Who, after an unblemished start, soon fell foul of the heavy machinegun fire. As soon as it was revealed that the guns Rick and Daryl were searching for had been moved to another outpost, you knew The Kingdom group was in trouble. They took losses at the end, and it looked pretty bad. Ezekiel was jumped on by his men, ”protect the king”, so he should make it through unscathed. But a lot of Kingdom ‘red shirts’ have been taken out, and looks like they will either be captured or saved by Rick and Co arriving after receiving their updated intel. The most enjoyable part for me was once again seeing Ezekiel’s ‘mask’ slip. This time it wasn’t a few seconds, it was a good portion of time where he looked scared and confused. I am loving what they are doing here and cannot wait to see where they take this.

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So what about last week’s cliffhanger? You can see why they wanted to bring Morales back and use him the way they did. Morales is supposed to make you think, what if Rick had been picked up by The Saviors instead? Would he have turned out the same way? They were both good, innocent people back then, but situations have shaped them and took them down different paths. They made sure they pushed his allegiance to The Saviors to ensure that when Daryl killed him, you wouldn’t be too angry at Daryl. Speaking of which, he is definitely on the same path as Morgan and Tara in terms of causing conflict this season.

The marketing and story so far have been pushing the idea of ‘All Out War’ with The Saviors. But Rick & Co’s biggest threat this season may come from within. Morgan is going off the reservation, Daryl is turning into a heartless killer and you have Tara in full angst mode who, along with Morgan, is clashing with Jesus at every opportunity. The unity and strength is starting to crack from within. Whether it be their own downfall, or a returning Negan galvanising his troops, there are warning signs that something bad is just over the horizon.

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We also got a minor character death this week. I did not have much of an emotional response to Eric’s death. It’s hard to care for a character who has had little to no development or time investment. However, the scene still worked for me because I am invested in Aaron. Ross Marquand has done justice to one of my favourite characters from the comics. I said last week that he really needs more things to do, so hopefully, now that he’s had some trauma, his involvement with the main story is bumped up a bit. He is such an underused character. While I did not care for Eric, the way they handled his death was well done. Rather than having to kill a turned Eric, a scene we have seen countless times in The Walking Dead, we got something different. We see Eric in the distance joining the herd as a walker.  This made the scene a little different and helped it stand out more.

As good as the Jesus and Morgan fight was, it was Gregory’s scene at the Hilltop gates that was my favourite part of the episode. There was just something very Monty Pythonesque about the whole thing. You are supposed to hate Gregory because he’s a coward, a weasel and he is not to be trusted. But through excellent writing and Xander Berkeley’s tremendous performances with the character, I kind of love to hate him. He’s an interesting, unique character so when he does get screen time it is always refreshing. His interactions with Kal at the gate were particularly brilliant, and even when he’s let in, seconds later he’s there saying that they shouldn’t let the prisoners in. This was fantastically timed and another example of the fantastic editing this season, it’s been exceptional.

What did you think of the episode? What will happen to The Savior prisoners? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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