REVIEW: The Walking Dead 8.03 ‘Monsters’ is an introspective look on the real villains
After last week’s utterly boring ‘The Damned’, in which our heroes spent a lot of time running through corridors and shooting, we didn’t expect a lot from ‘Monsters’. Thankfully, ‘Monsters’ sought to offer fans the reverse side of the coin. Where ‘The Damned’ was the action, ‘Monsters’ was the emotion. It didn’t work quite as well as combining the two episodes might have done, but it was a welcome reprieve from the nonstop action.
The emphasis in ‘The Damned’ was clear: to kill or not to kill? ‘Monsters’ weaved colour into this narrative by examining two characters that are some of the most torn by that choice. Firstly, Morgan. Morgan, who as we know, last left the show a paragon of violence. He returned a different man – defined by his unwillingness to kill other humans. Since his return, he has struggled with this desire to not kill, before finally returning to the Morgan we remember after witnessing Saviour brutality. His inner conflict is evident through his exchanges with Jesus and – finally – his fight with Jesus, symbolising his own inner battle with himself. In Morgan, we see something of an addiction to the violence. Finally, Morgan walks away again.
Elsewhere, it transpires that Morales’ return was fleeting but memorable. He questions Rick’s morals, stating the damning truth that if their places were reversed then he would already be dead. It’s enough to make Rick ponder who the real monsters are.
This is retreading old ground for The Walking Dead. A theme of the series has always been whether these protagonists we follow are the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ guys. In all reality, there is very little difference between the Alexandrians and the Saviours. Is this something that the characters ought to simply accept? Or do they strive to be better? Can they ever be better – in a world where your worth depends on your ability to survive and dominate?
It’s not original content by any means, but it is still a welcome change of pace for the Walking Dead, which has recently become too focused on warfare. One must wonder whether two episodes (probably three, based on the ending) based on the same uninspiring events were really necessary. Fortunately, there is enough good to focus on for now.