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The Walking Dead review: “Monsters” reinforces season 8 themes of mercy and humanity

The Walking Dead recap: Season 8, Episode 3, “Monsters,” Aired Nov. 5, 2017

The war is still raging in “Monsters” as Rick and the gang continue their assault on the Saviors. Lines are blurred between right and wrong, loyalties are being tested, and it seems that several individuals are coming to grips with the type of people they want to be in this crazy, post-apocalyptic world.

In the first episode of Talking TV with Liz and Lindi, we established that the theme of the season is definitely mercy and that the focus will most likely be on Rick’s inner turmoil. Last week, we broke down the theme of mercy and how it pertained to Morgan going full Jon Wick in the compound and why it will affect Rick’s development.

While we have Morgan and Jesus on either end of the spectrum — representing two extremes of humanity and mercy — we also have Rick who’s waffling somewhere in the middle. After “Monsters”, the show seems to be reinforcing that the season will be about Rick finding his balance and maintaining (or more like reestablishing) his humanity.

Rick & Morales

The Walking Dead Monsters
Gene Page/AMC

In a monologue that lasted way too long, Morales points out that he and Rick are the same. The only difference is one of them is holding the gun. We’ve been pretty adamant in the past that Rick and the gang slaughtering a bunch of Saviors doesn’t exactly make them the good guys, even if they think they’re doing it for the right reasons. Maybe right and wrong, good and evil isn’t really relevant anymore?

Morales’ whole interaction with Rick seems to get Rick’s wheels turning. When Daryl pops up out of nowhere and shoots Morales with his bow, Rick doesn’t know how to feel about it. Here’s the first time during these attacks that Rick stops to think about himself in relation to the people he’s killing.

And for all of the fans who wondered if Rick had completely lost it and turned into a monster (us!), Rick did take baby Gracie. Phew!

Have you read the Gracie/Judith theory yet?

Jesus v. Morgan

The Walking Dead monsters

Morgan goes totally ballistic on the group of captured Saviors. You know why? Because he wasn’t smart enough to stop walking directly beside the guy that was taunting him and succeeded in getting under his skin. Just kidding – but really, there was a simple solution.

Anyway, Morgan’s desire to kill all of the Saviors forces Jesus to step in and stop him. The two ninjas go at it, and this scene was pretty badass. Morgan and Jesus are fairly evenly matched in the hand-to-hand combat department. The only reason Morgan gets the upper-hand in the end is because Jesus’ heart isn’t really set on ending Morgan. Morgan gains control of his emotions before saying, “I may not be right, but I’m not wrong,” seemingly alluding to his mental state. Where the heck is he going?! Your guess is as good as ours.

So, we have two very different characters who are representing opposite ends of the humanity spectrum. Their views and how they handle things going forward will undoubtedly affect Rick. Hopefully for Hilltop, sparing these Saviors (and skeevy Gregory) won’t come back to kill them in their sleep.

Rick and Daryl

The Walking Dead monsters

Daryl gives zero f***s now. None. It was easy to brush off Daryl killing Morales because the situation obviously appeared to require that kind of action. But once Daryl and Rick are leaving the compound, a shot is fired at them. The guys fire back before Rick lures the guy out with a promise to spare him if he gives him the information they want. Rick makes a big show about how his word is worth something.

After the guy reveals that the weapons they were looking for were moved a couple days ago to a compound to the west, Daryl shoots him! Rick doesn’t look too pleased with this, but says nothing.

One of two things can happen now. Either we’ll see a rift form between Daryl and Rick, or this will all just serve to show Rick how far they’ve fallen so he can get the group back on the right track.

The 4 characters most likely to die in The Walking Dead season 8

Where’s Negan?

It’s probably quite purposeful that they haven’t shown Negan again since episode 1. Having the villain out of the picture highlights Rick’s struggle with himself as the most important part of the show. It allows viewers to focus on Rick’s psyche rather than on Negan’s antics. Ultimately, whatever happens with Negan will probably be in service to Rick’s character development. Would Rick spare him in the end or show him mercy in some way? After all, what’s the point of living in a world free from Negan’s oppression if you can’t live with yourself afterward?

Recap and discuss the show with us all season on our Talking TV With Liz & Lindi podcast!

The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9/8c

(All images property of AMC)


Liz & Lindi

Pure Fandom was created by fangirls and best friends, Liz (Pochop) Prugh and Lindi Smith. Their site - along with several other expert fan contributors! - brings you updates and breakdowns on shows like 'The Walking Dead,' 'Game of Thrones,' 'The Originals', and more. Liz & Lindi have written for Entertainment Weekly, AOL, HelloGiggles, and frequently host Comic-Con panels around the country. They are dedicated to putting a comedic and fun twist on all things fandom.

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