As Season 8 of “The Walking Dead” continues, it’s clear that the impact of “all out war” will be felt by every party involved. Episode 3, titled “Monsters,” presents the Alexandria alliance with difficult war time decisions. As several characters learn, an error in decision making has a devastating and deadly price. Here are the best moments of triumph and defeat from “Monsters.”
Officer Friendly – Rick (Andrew Lincoln) continues his surprise standoff with Morales (Juan Gabriel Pareja) from the previous episode. Morales is in disbelief that he knew the famed “Rick from Alexandria” at the beginning of the outbreak, and remarks that the two men have made the same journey. “Well, I guess we aren’t the same,” he says, “because you’re a monster.” Rick attempts to paint Negan as the monster by bringing up the murder of Glenn, but Morales counters that Negan gave him purpose after the death of his family, saying, “Somewhere along the way, ‘Officer Friendly’ died, just like them.” Before he can pull the trigger on Rick, Daryl (Norman Reedus) slips into the room and executes Morales with the crossbow. Rick is unable to separate the man Morales became from the peaceful man he once knew, but not Daryl. “I know who he is, it doesn’t matter one bit.”
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Morgan Alone – Jesus (Tom Payne) continues to find himself at odds with Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Morgan (Lennie James) as they escort Savior prisoners to the Hilltop. “We kill, but we don’t execute,” Jesus commands. When a group of walkers starts tumbling down a hill toward the group, a portion of Saviors use the opportunity to make a run for it. Morgan pursues them into the woods, catching up quickly and fatally shooting one of them. Jesus intervenes, saying he anticipates peace time after this war. “We’ll have to find a way to live with them.” Morgan, reverting back to his “Clear” persona, attacks Jesus. The two trade blows and Morgan refuses to relent until he is knocked down and disarmed. “I’m not right, but that doesn’t make me wrong. I can’t be a part of this.” The mentally unstable warrior leaves the group behind.
Maggie in Charge – For some reason, Gregory (Xander Berkeley) returns to the Hilltop thinking he’ll be welcomed back. But Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is furious and demands to know where Father Gabriel has gone. She is hesitant to let him inside, noting that he was at The Sanctuary to sell out his own people. But Gregory begs for mercy in a pathetic display and Maggie opens the gate for him. When Enid questions her decision, Maggie simply states, “He’s not worth killing. Not yet.” I firmly disagree, Maggie. Jesus arrives shortly after with his prisoners, arguing they should be allowed inside “because they surrendered.” In her second request for lodging in one day, Hilltop’s new leader allows the prisoners to be locked up in a set of trailers.
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Last Kiss – The courtyard battle from last week is still raging, but Aaron (Ross Marquand) is hurriedly escorting his injured boyfriend Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) away from the fray. Eric is weak and bleeding badly, and Aaron props him against a tree to wraps his wound. Aaron regrets getting his lover involved in the fight, but Eric reminds him that the cause is worth it before urging Aaron to go help their friends win the battle. They tearfully say they love each other and share a tender kiss before Aaron heads to the courtyard. But when the battle is won, Aaron returns to the tree to find his boyfriend missing. To his horror, he spots Eric shuffling towards a herd of zombies. He has turned. Aaron sobs uncontrollably and tries to run to Eric, but Scott holds him back as Eric joins the horde of undead.
A Man’s Word – Rick and Daryl fight their way out of the outpost to join their comrades in victory outside. After sending everyone home (including baby Gracie who is in the care of Aaron), a bullet whizzes past Rick’s head. The two duck for cover and call out to the lone Savior to come out of hiding. Rick tells the man that they will let him go if he provides information. The man is hesitant, but Rick gives him his word, claiming “a man’s word has to count for something.” The Savior comes out of hiding and reveals that all the guns were moved to a new outpost the day prior to the attack. Daryl, quite trigger happy this episode, shoots the unarmed man in the head, undermining Rick’s “word.” The big question here is how did The Saviors know to move the guns ahead of the ambush?
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“And Yet I Smile” – Ezekiel (Khary Payton) repeats his call-to-arms speech from last week to inspire his troops, and claims, “We will lose not one of our ranks.” His plan works extremely well as the Kingdommers are seen slaughtering Saviors by using expert strategy on their way to a large outpost. When they reach their destination victorious, Carol (Melissa McBride) sets off to sweep the interior for weapons. A young Kingdom warrior looks regretfully at the bodies on the ground, but the King reminds him it’s “we or they.” After providing this reassurance, Ezekiel spots a gunman in the window of the outpost and orders his army to scatter. Bullets rain down from an automatic weapon, cutting through Ezekiel’s men. Several lieutenants cover Ezekiel with their bodies to protect him, falling to the ground as they take bullets. It’s unclear if the King is hit, but it may once again be up to Carol to come to the rescue.