The Damned was another uneven episode of The Walking Dead. I’d happily trade off the artistically creative segments for some basic character logic. Slow motion close-ups of the cast to kick off the episode don’t work when there’s 12 characters.
Tara and Jesus had an interesting philosophical discussion on taking prisoners, but in the end, Tara had a more convincing argument. Jesus implored that the Alexandria Alliance were better than cold-blooded murder. This ignores the fact that Rick and company kicked off this war by killing Saviors in their sleep at an outpost. Or that the whole point of this mission was to catch the Saviors with their pants down and shoot a lot of them without warning?!?
Jesus’ argument lost even more ground when their prisoner turned the tables on them and crushed pregnancy medicine for Maggie just because he could. In no encounter has any of the Saviors proved themselves to be decent, honorable or sympathetic characters. They’re bullies who get off on other people’s pain. Maybe Jesus was watching another show last season? Of course the biggest question Jesus failed to answer is if the tables were turned would the Saviors be so willing to keep them alive without the emotional and physical torture?
Thankfully Morgan had no problem making decisions. After two of his grunts get killed, Morgan goes into full Terminator mode on the Saviors. It was a glorious sight watching the former pacifist turned reluctant warrior finally unleash some pain. I’m concerned Jesus’ idiotic decision is going to get Morgan or Tara killed and watching this subplot play out is going to be very frustrating. Too bad Jesus convinced Morgan not to kill the Savior responsible for killing Benjamin. This is not a damned if you do situation, kill these guys and avoid them taking you or your friends out later.
Aaron led the Alexandria B-team on an assault at another outpost. We’re just two episodes in, but one problem that’s going to be a continual struggle all season is caring about these random redshirts. Sure, there’s some regular faces from Alexandria, but I’d still need a program to remember their names. Random thought: where the heck is Heath? With this new army, there’s gonna be a lot of people dying that I could care less about.
Aaron’s crew had a brilliant plan with their attack. Keep the Saviors bottled up, kill a few and let the newly created walkers take out their former buddies. That plan was great, which is why it was confusing they felt the need to charge instead of sticking with what worked. Eric got shot and with no doctor in the house, things don’t look too good for him.
I’m so grateful for Khary Payton. There’s rarely a bad King Ezekiel and The Kingdom scene and it’s in large part to Payton truly understanding how over the top to play him. The Kingdom was trying to stop a lookout from warning another Savior outpost on their pending attack. Along the way they encountered a particularly nasty looking walker — is there an infestation among walkers now? Ezekiel decreed there will be no fantasies of failure.
It’s taken a lot to make Carol find her smile again, but Zeke’s fake it till you make it baby is the Just Win Baby slogan of The Walking Dead. We’re quickly reaching the point I’d rather just watch an hour of The Kingdom than most of the others.
That includes Daryl and Rick now. I think they were on another gun run, which seems silly considering no one is tasked with grabbing weapons from dead Saviors in fights. There was one great shot of Rick coming through a hallway that really stood out. Rick tangled with one guy and left him hanging, then had a reunion with Morales from the Atlanta days. One million gold stars if you remembered him without binging Season 1 recently. More importantly, why would anyone leave a baby unattended with people running around their hideout? And is there any reason five grunts from Team Tara & Morgan or Aaron & Eric didn’t go with Rick and Daryl?
And what’s up with Negan and Gabriel’s pants?
The Damned concluded with another weird slo-mo segment. This played out weird as if to make the events seem more important. No one really thinks Rick is gonna get killed by Morales so that cliffhanger didn’t really work. Tara and Jesus seem destined for a stupid storyline and it’s looking like The Kingdom is going to have to work hard to keep this first half of the season interesting.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC