The Walking Dead: “The Damned” Review

Previous episode – “Mercy”


Morales returning to the show was a strangely obvious moment. Characters do not get to live happily ever after in The Walking Dead, especially not in an episode called “The Damned”. When he and his family drove off into the sunset during the very first season, it always seemed likely he would make a return.

It is a full eight years since Morales left the show. You have to assume that his story is every bit as gruesome as the one we’ve followed over the last 7 seasons. This guy is definitely not the same man who led his family away from Rick.

This full circle does two things. It gives the show some continuity, season 1 did happen after all, it remains one of the shows’ strongest seasons, and this return ensures the events of Season 1 remain a part of the plot. However it does make the world of The Walking Dead feel rather small. Two guys have driven considerable distances away from each other and survived virtually insurmountable odds, yet find themselves face to face years later. Funny old world we live in.

Perhaps this has been in the making since the very beginning. Probably not, but when the original camp was attacked by walkers on the night Amy died, Morales fought with… a baseball bat. Did they really plan it from the beginning? I would claim it.

The damned

In possibly the best scene of this episode, scary saviour boss lady suffered a fairly standard walker death in the middle of an intense and seemingly endless shootout. The scene itself was nothing too special, at this stage, chunks out of necks are a fairly standard way to die.

But it was the concept behind the action that made the scene so strong. These people, whether we know them or not, have been living with walkers for years. Walkers have become a part of every day life – we’ve seen walker pets, walker lovers, walker ornaments, even walker guards. Yet, during this fight scene, these guys forgot about the danger.

They had forgotten that each of their fallen allies had become a time bomb. Miss Lady’s look of realisation as they began to reanimate was dreadful but incredibly well done. I found myself mirroring that look, because I had forgotten too.

We have become so used to the walkers, we forgot they were dangerous.

Rick has a shocker

The dream team (Rick and Daryl) always have their best moments when the guns aren’t being fired. As they wend their way through an apparently deserted compound , its all the things we’ve seen hundred of times before; empty cupboards and dark corridors, but it’s where both characters are at their best.

I’m not yet convinced the man Rick hung on the wall was a Savior. The compound did not contain the guns Rick and Daryl were looking for. And this man who attacked with extreme aggression did not have a gun or any kind of weapon. Saviors are always armed. This looks like we just found the Morales family hideout.

In the build up to the visceral fight scene, we see a prison cell similar to the one Daryl inhabited for much of last season. Could this man have been a prisoner of the Saviors? It seemed to me he was simply fighting to protect his daughter – something Rick realises moments later in a distressing moment. We’ve spent the last four seasons following the life of Judith. Rick of all people knows the importance of protecting your child.

He catches a glimpse of the murderer in the mirror, but everyone is a murderer now.

In Summary

The eighth season of The Walking Dead has started promisingly. Let’s hope these strong beginnings receive the service they deserve.

Simon Ostler

I am currently training to become a Journalist. I write best when my subject is something I enjoy. I have spent time working with CAR Magazine and Parkers.

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