Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Walking Dead Turns into a Shoot-’em-up War Game

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The Walking Dead 8×02, “The Damned”

If y’all remember last week, I had a short list of things that would improve this week’s episode. Lemme see…no Negan!! That’s a major plus. More tiger. Excellent! No Maggie or Michonne, boo! And Daryl’s hair is still stupid, but let’s all just give up on that one as a lost cause.

I’m not entirely sure what all happened this week on The Walking Dead, but I, your intrepid reviewer, will give it my best shot. Here goes…


There was a lot of shooting. And yelling.

Our team that got blown up last week wakes up to a band of walkers surrounding them. But, despite probably having concussions and other serious problems, they’re able to dispatch the zombies with no problem and head after the grenade-thrower in the hopes of catching him before he reaches the next outpost. The best part of this group was Carol and Ezekiel, because he kept making speeches and she kept rolling her eyes at him. I’m really ready for them to bang it out already.

They find the guy, but he’s already reached a group of Saviors. Just as they get there, so does the backup Ezekiel requested. Miss Kitty does her thing, and some bad guys get eaten. I love that tiger.

I ask for so little… (source)

Daryl and Rick are busy infiltrating some sort of government-looking building. They’re looking for guns, I think? That the Saviors are sending to the junkyard gang. They need to get the guns before the garbage pail kids do, and apparently that involves climbing up an elevator shaft rather than just taking the fire stairs like normal people.

Daryl doesn’t encounter any resistance, but Rick fights and kills a dude, then finds a baby, which seriously freaks him out. Just…pick up the baby and bring it with you, Rick. It’s a tiny baby. I seriously doubt it’s been Savior-indoctrinated yet.

Before he can decide what to do about this existential-crisis-inducing child, a dude shows up with a gun and apparently it’s a guy from back in Atlanta named Morales. That was 7ish seasons ago and they’re all dirty guys with beards now, so hell if I know who this dude is. He and Rick remember each other. I guess Daryl didn’t hear the gunshot from Rick’s first fight WAY on the other side of the building, so Rick’s on his own in a standoff with guy from Atlanta.

Not a BABY!!! (source)

Morgan, Tara, and Jesus, with a bunch of other people, are infiltrating a different Savior compound. Morgan draws a bunch of walkers to the fence, and the lady with the bow and arrow shoots the guards. Once inside, Morgan’s two comrades are shot, but Morgan lives and goes even crazier because what’s subtlety???

Jesus and Tara find a dude hiding in a closet who’s peed his pants. He claims he’s just a worker. Tara wants to shoot him, but Jesus insists on sparing him. He attacks and gets Jesus’s gun, but then Jesus does his kung fu action and gets the gun back. Tara still wants to shoot him, but Jesus knocks him out and ties him up instead. Tara isn’t pleased.

Morgan, meanwhile, is Rambo-ing (or maybe Terminator-ing) his way through the compound until he bursts outside. Jesus has lead their people to the backdoor, and the Saviors have all surrendered because they’re surrounded. Tara STILL wants to kill them, and so does Morgan, but Jesus is adamant. They’ve surrendered! Killing them is wrong! Tara says that while Maggie might listen to Jesus, Rick will listen to her, so they’ll all end up dead anyway.

Sorry, Tara, Rick’s busy freaking out about a baby. (source)

The final group of Our Heroes is leading a charge against yet another Savior compound. I kind of get the impression that the Saviors, as a group, don’t attract the best talent. The people in charge are bullies and the people not-in-charge are idiot peons. Basically, without Negan swaggering around, it’s all a big mess.

The lady in charge says that the group (led by Aaron) is too “chickenshit” to advance, so the Saviors easily have the advantage. What she doesn’t count on, after HOW many years living this way??, is the Savior dead turning into zombies. So yeah she gets her neck bitten out even though she has AMPLE time to dispatch the zombie dude, but she’s too busy reeling from the idea that they PLANNED on the dead becoming ZOMBIES like whaaaaat?!

Aaron’s boyfriend Eric gets shot in the tum, so…that’s no good. A stomach wound is pretty much a death sentence without surgery in any situation (especially for non-straight characters), much less the zombie apocalypse in the middle of a war. This show has a terrible track record with killing queer characters, so it’s really unfortunate to see another one. RIP, Gay Eric.


So, like the title says, most of this episode was shooting. Lots and lots of shooting. How do I review that? Aaron’s group and the Saviors they were fighting shoot kinda like Storm Troopers: not very well. Morgan has a Ph.D. in sniper. Tara and Jesus are profoundly at odds on when to pull the trigger.

Look, I don’t think it’s a great idea to kill prisoners either, and I’m sure amongst them there are one or two okay people. Just like Dwight has sort-of proved redeemable by feeding them all this intel…but honestly can you trust that?? That one dude peed himself on purpose just to look like he was scared so he could get the drop on them. They’re all indoctrinated into this “I am Negan” cult. I don’t think, just because they surrender, that they’re going to be able to join any one of these peace-leaning groups in a meaningful and comfortable way.

As for Rick and his baby meltdown…I guess the dude he killed was that baby’s dad, and he’s pretty upset about that, but honestly she’s very young and tiny. I’m sure he and Michonne could raise her up and she’d be none the wiser. Where’s her mom, that’s my question. And why did the Morales dude look pretty much exactly like the guy Rick just killed? I honestly for a minute was completely confused and thought maybe Rick hallucinated killing the guy, and this was the REAL guy.

Normally I’m 100% down with shows not giving me all the info, like letting the characters internalize some things. But honestly, his freakout over the baby was a little TOO internal for me, and I would’ve liked something. I don’t know what, since he was all alone, but something.

I just…this isn’t workin’ for me, y’all. Humans shooting at other humans for 45 minutes isn’t really what I signed up for. How long is the “all-out war” portion of this season gonna last? If it’s going to be much longer, might I request we forego all the other groups and just focus on Ezekiel and his ridiculous speeches and the faces Carol makes at him?

He’s ridiculous…and she kinda likes it. (source)

Images curtesy of AMC

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