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The Walking Dead: The Damned

More of the same. Not that "the same" wasn't really cool, because it was.

It's exhilarating to see our guys finally fighting back, and not haphazardly, but with careful planning and precision. This episode followed the action as the Alexandrians, the Kingdom and the Hilltop (AlexKingHill for short?) carried out coordinated attacks on multiple Savior outposts using intelligence given to Rick by our buddy Dwight.

I got a bit confused about how many Savior outposts were getting hit and by whom. But I don't think the exact details are important, because the theme was war itself. The episode began and ended with closeups of our main characters literally caught up in the fog of war, and much of the conflict was about the element of risk, and how one applies the articles of the Geneva Convention after an apocalypse.

The risk part was argued by the supremely confident King Ezekiel and the battle scarred, cautious Carol as they tracked an injured man through the woods wondering if he had made it to the outpost in time to warn them. Carol has always been a favorite of mine, and I've fallen in love with King Ezekiel – not just because he rescued a great big cat, but because of every faux Shakespearean sentence that comes out of his mouth. For me, the best scene in the episode was when Ezekiel was happily pontificating about how it was his job to project confidence in order to lead his people, and then he glanced around and dropped his mask with Carol, saying, "Fake it 'til you make it, baby." I love these two characters, and I love them together. Are they turning into a couple? Could I say that I'd be very okay with that?

The second part, the treatment of prisoners of war and innocent bystander babies, turned out to be a massive problem. Seriously, what can they do with all of these people? While there were flashbacks to Rick saying that everyone had to die (that was from the episode when they first tried to take out the satellite outpost, I think) it's a lot more difficult in practice when you're faced with a whole lot of guys standing there with their hands up.

Much like Carol and Ezekiel, Jesus and Tara demonstrated the opposing viewpoints when they happened on a terrified guy named Dean who surrendered to them. Dean told them that he was simply a worker at the Sanctuary who was forced to cook and clean at the outpost, and that he'd been forced to leave his wife and children behind. And yes, it turned out that Dean was a bad guy trying to fake them out, but what if he'd been telling the truth?

There were more complications when Rick and Daryl searched the upper floors of one of the outposts looking for guns and Rick fought and killed a man who was trying to protect, not guns, but his baby girl, Gracie. Rick then stumbled over a character from season one, Morales, who was probably a friend of Gracie's dead father. So now what? Did Rick just make a permanent enemy out of Morales? Rick can't kill a baby, but what do you do with her? Who is going to raise her? There's no Child Protective Services or foster homes out there now, just as there are no prisons and no P.O.W. camps.

Of course, another big element of the risk component is that good guys are most certainly going to die. A minor supporting character named Francine died in this episode (I checked, and she'd been in twelve episodes), and worse, Aaron's husband Eric was gut shot. I really don't want Eric to die, but given the lack of doctors and medical supplies, he probably will.

Interestingly, Morgan was shot, but didn't die. And then he outright said, "I don't die," which immediately got me worried that he might. Although maybe he should, because Morgan has turned into a walking tragedy. He lost his son Dwayne, and then he lost his mind. He regained his sanity because of his friend Eastman and his philosophy of peace, and then he lost both. Carol has gone through a similar set of trials, but she's still reachable and sane. Morgan has become stone cold, an automaton, and I've been wondering how much of the Morgan we cared about is still in there, and if we'll ever see him again.

One of Morgan's new prisoners of war is the nasty guy with the long hair that picked up tributes from the Kingdom. He's the one who killed young Benjamin, Morgan's protege, isn't he? I bet he's not long for this world.

Bits and pieces:

-- Tara saw "Tommy says kill the bitches" scrawled on the wall at the satellite outpost. On Talking Dead, showrunner Scott M. Gimple said it was intended to be a reminder of the previous assault on the satellite outpost where our guys were the bad guys.

-- Daryl found what appeared to be a prison cell with empty handcuffs and a pool of blood beneath, a little reminder of Merle. We're getting a lot of reminders of season one, aren't we?

-- Gracie's name was written on the wall over her crib so we'd know who she was after we saw the tattoo over her father's heart that said "Grace Be God."

-- I love the "armored cars." Every time we see them, they make me smile.

-- Carol and Ezekiel were talking about the oddness of what happened to a particular walker in the woods. What was going on there?

-- Ezekiel petting Shiva looked a little CGI, but I still loved it. I know I shouldn't have fallen in love with Shiva because animals on this show tend to die horribly, but I can't help it. It's the cat lover in me.

-- The title of this episode is "The Damned." Who are the damned? Our guys, because they're damned if they do and damned if they don't, I assume?


Ezekiel: "To our foe! Then to his compound. Then to certain victory."

Jesus: (to Tara) "I'm not going to shoot someone with his hands up, and I'm not letting you."

Dean: "Do you know how hard it is to piss yourself on purpose? It's like your dick knows you're wearing pants."

Carol: "It's not just a few walkers. You know that, right?"
Ezekiel: "Yes. And yet I smile."
Carol: "Why?"
Ezekiel: "Do I feel the supreme confidence? Or is my lot, my job, to simply project such certainty? No and yes. Yes and no. And then finally, yes to both. Fake it 'til you make it, baby."

Ezekiel: "We move forward. As we move the very world forward."

Tara: (to Jesus) "It's okay. We can do it the hard way. Because even if Maggie listens to you, Rick will listen to me."

Morgan: "We came here to kill them. We're supposed to."
Jesus: "They surrendered. It's not what we do."
Morgan: "Then what do we do?"

So far, so good. Three out of four fallen outposts,

Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.

1 comment:

  1. While I like how the Alexandrians are fighting back I get really annoyed by the A-team like shooting with bottomless magazines in drawn out firefights, like the one we had with Aaron Tobin and Eric, and previous episode assault on Sanctuary.


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