TV reviews

The Walking Dead 8×03 – ‘Monsters’ – Review

The Walking Dead continues to plod on through their ‘all out war’ as the latest episode tries to force in a discussion about morals, does nothing with the previous episodes cliffhanger reveal, and kills another LGBT+ character.

I’ve complained about The Walking Dead having a lack of action in the past, that the series can at times feel slow and boring, but I’m starting to believe that the introduction of a gunfight every episode is not the way to resolve this. I know that the series is trying to push the idea that our heroes are at war, but they need to do something more interesting with the concept, because a season of this is going to get very old very fast.

Picking up where the last episode left off, we find Rick (Andrew Lincoln) facing off against Morales (Juan Gabriel Pareja). It’s come as little surprise that Morales and the rest of the Saviours have come to view Rick as a villain, in the same way that they think about Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The Saviours don’t see themselves as bad guys (just look at what they call themselves), and of course Negan would be telling his people that Rick is a Monster.

What the episode tries to do with this, however, is to have the characters question if they are actually monsters, if they’ve moved beyond the characters that they started as. Well, yes, of course they are. Let’s not forget, the war between the Saviours and Ricks people started because the ‘good guys’ murdered a load of saviours in their sleep. That’s not something that good people do so easily. Perhaps it’s a good question to have our heroes ask, but it feels like it’s come a few seasons too late. It would have worked much better back during the conflict with the Governor, but it just falls short of the mark here.

This question echoes with some of the rest of the cast though, with Jesus (Tom Payne) still arguing with Morgan (Lennie James) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) about whether they should be taking Saviours prisoner or killing them. Whilst I can understand Jesus’s desire not to just kill everyone they come across there are so many problems that taking people prisoner raises.

Where will they keep their prisoners? Will they have to remove people from the fight to guard them? How much resources such as food and water will they lose on keeping them alive? What happens if they break out? It’s too big of a problem to be practical.

Unfortunately, this disagreement over how to handle the prisoners leads to conflict between Morgan and Jesus, with the two of them literally fighting over it. Whilst the fight between the two of them is visually interesting, and goes to show off just how good Jesus is at hand to hand combat (something we’ve not seen in a very long time), it feels without purpose, especially as it resolves nothing.

The episode also sees Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) dieing as a result of the wounds he received in the previous episode, bringing to an end the shows last surviving visible gay couple. Whilst the episode tried to elicit emotional impact from the moment, concentrating on Aaron’s (Ross Marquand) reaction, because we hardly knew Eric it had little impact. Though what it is sure to do is annoy many LGBT+ fans of the series as it yet again destroys an openly gay couple.

The Walking Dead seems to want to deliver top quality action every episode this season, but hasn’t even delivered it once yet, instead giving us the same bland gun fights again and again. Sadly, the series has lacked any kind of character development or growth either, with people appearing to just be going through the motions. Hopefully the series will begin to improve soon, otherwise ‘all out war’ could very quickly become ‘all out bore’.

The Walking Dead airs every Monday in the UK on Sky. Let us know what you think of the season.

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