Forget the Rick-Negan War, a Much Bigger Conflict Is Brewing on The Walking Dead

All photos: Gene Page/AMC.

Wow. The struggle between Rick and Negan we’d been teased with for 2 full seasons might have arrived—and remains to be in full-swing—however a unique battle is happening concurrently, and it’s arguably the extra essential one. For eons, Rick has preached to his folks it’s “us” or “them.” Now, he’s lastly beginning to see he might have gone too far—and for these he’s main, it could be too late.

Basically, “Monsters” takes all of the subtext of the ethical quandary on the coronary heart of The Walking Dead and makes it textual content. There are at the least two overt conversations that set out the difficulty as clear as could be. The first is between Jesus and Morgan, as they escort the (very) mbadive group of Saviors they’ve taken prisoner again to Hilltop. Both Tara and Morgan are livid about it; Tara badumes that Maggie may have them killed slightly than allow them to within the colony, whereas Jesus hopes they are often imprisoned in among the trailers out again till the battle is over. Morgan, then again, is clearly occupied with taking pictures the captives at any minute. Jesus sees the homicide in his eyes, after which this dialog takes place:

Jesus: We made our determination.

Morgan: Nothing’s been determined.

Jesus: Well, nothing’s everlasting besides impermanence, I suppose. In that approach I’ll agree. But we’re taking these males to the Hilltop. That’s the place have been going, and that’s what we’re doing.

Morgan: You know the way harmful this. Who these persons are.

Jesus: No matter what they’ve carried out, they’re folks. There are many sorts of hazard, many sorts of dying. I kill, I’ve killed. You do, you might have. But we don’t execute.

Morgan: I’ve.

To be truthful, a lot of the “good guys” of The Walking Dead have executed folks, most particularly Rick—and let’s make clear execution as killing those that pose no quick hazard—but it surely’s gotten extra widespread not too long ago, arguably ever since Rick executed drunk, abusive dipshit Pete Anderson again within the season 5 finale (with Mayor Deanna’s permission). Since then, Rick has determined all his issues appear like nails and could be solved with a hammer, and that hammer is dying.

But after killing that child’s father final episode—regardless of it being a really clear “Rick or him” state of affairs—coming face-to-face with Morales has all of the sudden made Rick keep in mind that there are alternatives different than killing. He is aware of Morales, though it was just for a short time; regardless of the actual fact Morales has bought a gun on him and is looking the Saviors to take him (Negan needs Rick, “The Widow” Maggie, and “The King” Ezekiel taken alive), Rick decides to attempt one other approach.

Morales gained’t have it, although, as a result of he is aware of who Rick has turn out to be, as a result of having joined the Saviors he’s turn out to be the identical factor. I’ll let him clarify it (though I’ve edited it a bit for readability as a result of Morales is a little bit of a rambler).

Morales: As quickly as I noticed you. I knew you’d made the identical alternative as me. From there to right here. Shit. Well, I suppose we ain’t the identical guys we was, huh? ‘Cause you’re a monster.

Rick: We’re not the identical.

Morales: How’s that?

Rick: Look at you.

Morales: Look at me? Look at us, Rick. Look at us. We’re two badholes who’ll do no matter we’ve to simply to maintain going. The solely distinction is I’m the one holding the gun. That doesn’t make me any worse than you, Rick. That simply makes me luckier. ‘Cause let’s face it. If it wasn’t me? If it was you holding the gun? I’d be brains out on the ground proper now.

Rick: You don’t know that.

Morales: And you do? Huh?

Rick: I do know I wouldn’t need to.

Morales: Come on. Is that the very best you are able to do?

Rick: I’d at the least attempt to discover one other approach.

Morales: Yeah? Why? ‘Cause we knew one another for a couple of days again firstly?

(Rick mumbles)

Morales: You need to know what I feel? I feel you possibly can discuss all you need. You can say all of the phrases—Lori, Shane, Andrea, Glenn—they’re all useless. Somewhere alongside the way in which, Officer Friendly died proper together with him. Just like I did. With them. That’s what I do know, Rick.

Morales is 100 p.c not unsuitable. Rick hasn’t tried to seek out one other approach in years, and it’s actually solely this second, after realizing he killed a father defending his child, then seeing somebody he used to know—that he finds himself eager to resolve this case with out killing. But that’s when Daryl pops in and shoots Morales within the head with a crossbow.

Rick shouting, “Wait, no!” to Daryl was satisfying to me, simply because it a lot have been to Herschel up in post-apocalyptic zombie heaven, even when it was too late. There was an actual chance that Rick may have gotten Morales to modify sides, however Daryl killing him—when he may have simply caught him up from behind and compelled him to drop his gun—erased that chance. That, coupled with the infant Gracie scenario, leaves Rick shaken.

And the hits maintain coming. At the top of the episode, a lone Savior fires at Rick and Daryl from behind a tree. Realizing the man must be alone, Rick tells him to drop his gun and are available on out; Rick provides him his phrase that if he tells them what they need to know, he can take a automotive and depart. The Savior does so, and explains that the weapons Dwight had advised them have been there had been moved the day gone by to a different compound. And that’s when Daryl shoots the Savior within the head, too.

Rick is extremely dismayed, however he has nobody accountable however himself. In the final episode, Morgan distinctly remembers Rick’s directions to the group “to kill them all,” extra particularly that they have to kill all of them to be secure. For that Rick, mercy was not an choice.

It’s a lesson that Morgan has taken to coronary heart, and arduous. He’s gone again to the dead-inside killing machine he was earlier than he met Eastman and have become TWD’s non permanent Prince of Peace, the position now held by Jesus. So when there’s a shock zombie badault, and a gaggle of tied-up Saviors use the chaos to flee, Morgan is all too joyful to run by means of the woods to hunt them right down to kill them. Since their palms are sure and so they’re tied collectively, it’s not that onerous for him to catch up and shoot one down, however Jesus stops him from killing a second. Morgan is fed up with Jesus’ mercy, and badaults him.

To be clear: Morgan needs to kill the unarmed prisoners so badly that he’s prepared to combat—possibly even kill—his comrade Jesus to take action. I’ve actually thought The Walking Dead could be dense typically, however I can’t think about that they need anybody to consider that Morgan is in the proper right here to badault Jesus. It’d be as if he have been attacking Glenn, one other man who wouldn’t execute anyone, it doesn’t matter what Rick preached. Jesus takes Morgan down, though not simply, and Morgan leaves, saying he “can’t be part of this”—“this” being not killing their prisoners. The relaxation proceed to Hilltop.

At Hilltop, this all comes full circle when Gregory the Weasel arrives and begs to be let in. He’s betrayed Hilltop to the Saviors, threatened to evict households, and arrived in Gabriel’s automotive with out Gabriel. He has no abilities apart from sucking and being weaselly, neither of which might badist him survive if Maggie refuses to let him again into Hilltop. Eventually, after it’s clear she gained’t be letting him in, Gregory stops posturing and admits he fled as a result of he was scared, and that he joined Negan as a result of thought the Saviors would win. It’s not likely an apology, and Maggie is wise sufficient to know that—and to know that if he lets him in, he’ll nonetheless be weaselly and shitty and pose a possible hazard. But she lets him in, as an alternative of leaving him outdoors to die. She chooses mercy.

And that’s when Jesus, Morgan, Tara, and several other dozen tied-up Saviors present up, and the micro-problem of whether or not to spare Gregory turns into the macro-problem of what to do with all these prisoners. Putting them within the trailers means bringing enemies contained in the partitions, exposing the households there to hazard, and presumably squandering precious meals provides on feeding their enemies. Killing them means eradicating the likelihood that they’ll badault once more… but it surely additionally implies that they’ll need to dig a mbad grave. That’s… that’s not good.

I’m nonetheless apprehensive, as a result of for the previous a number of seasons anytime it seemed like Rick and the others have been approaching an ethical quandary they’d merely begin firing, however I don’t recall The Walking Dead ever being so direct and overt about asking whether or not compbadion has a spot in a world like this, if there’s a worth in exhibiting mercy to those who would do you hurt. Based on the primary two episodes, this may clearly be the query of the season (or at the least the half-season). Based on all of the seasons which have come earlier than it, nonetheless—and Rick’s red-rimmed eyes from the premiere—I’m afraid we already know what the reply is.

Assorted Musings:

  • In different storylines, Aaron’s husband Eric, who was shot within the intestine final week, sends Aaron to go end the badault on the compound and dies and turns right into a zombie and Aaron could be very unhappy. We’ve spent so little time with Eric—and never way more with Aaron not too long ago, actually—that this didn’t have a lot affect.
  • Meanwhile, Ezekiel remains to be smiling and speaking about how his group goes to badault their compound and never lose a single man, which clearly means they appear to take your complete compound with out shedding a single man, however are mainly standing round gloating earlier than they really sweep the compound, then some Saviors pop up from the compound’s home windows and Ezekiel loses a number of males. It’s dumb and apparent.
  • That zombie badault was preposterous. So not solely do the zombies one way or the other pop up proper subsequent to them with out anybody noticing, but it surely seems they failed to note them regardless of the actual fact the zombies have needed to actually tumble down a small hill to get to them. Also, seeing zombies journey and summersault down that hill was deeply, deeply foolish.
  • Morgan is sporting the armor of the child who was killed within the notorious cantaloupe episode. I hadn’t seen earlier than. Symbolically it’s highly effective, however when you understand Morgan is sporting measurement XS armor it’s extremely tough to not see how goofy he appears to be like.
  • Xander Berkeley’s efficiency as Gregory when he was making an attempt to speak himself again inside Hilltop was pleasant. He is so comically the worst that he’s mbadively entertaining. “I did not eat [that little girl’s] pancakes!”
  • Also pleasant: Once Maggie mercifully lets Gregory inside Hilltop and Jesus exhibits up with the prisoners, Gregory immediately abandons all the things he was saying about people having fears and making errors and the way forgiveness is vital to begin shrieking about how the Saviors couldn’t probably be let inside Hilltop as they’re completely irredeemable. Gregory is simply the very best at being the worst.

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