Are we having fun yet?
After coming out of the gate swinging on The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 1, this installment could have easily taken the typical route of past seasons by easing off the gas and giving us a chance to catch our breath.
That didn't happen, and it was a pleasant surprise. The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 2 kept the pedal to the metal, with Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom continuing their relentless assault on the Saviors.
While the premiere focused solely on the onslaught at the Sanctuary, this episode revealed the larger picture of Rick's plan in sticking it to Negan and kicking him while he's down.
With four separate plans of attack put into effect concurrently, it made for a well-paced episode. And thankfully, there were no pesky flashbacks or flashforwards to disrupt the action at hand.
After doing some damage to the Sanctuary -- and Negan's overinflated ego -- on the Season Premiere, Aaron lead one of 3 additional follow-up attacks on the Saviors.
Aaron has come a long way from being the scout and recruiter for Alexandria that he once was and leading the assault on the Savior outpost proved that he can definitely hold his own.
However, the same can't be said for Eric, who ended up taking a couple of rounds to the abdomen. I wouldn't be surprised if Eric doesn't make it. Judging by the amount of blood soaking through his shirt the situation looks pretty dire.
Who would even tend to Eric's wounds, or anyone else's injuries for that matter? The closest thing Alexandria had to a doctor was Denise, and she was killed by Dwight on The Walking Dead Season 6 episode 14, and the Hilltop lost Dr. Carson when Negan needed a last-minute replacement.
With the recent shortage of physicians, who is even tending to Maggie's pregnancy at this point?
What really surprised me was just how poor a shot the Saviors are. They're just as bad as Aaron, Tobin and the gang. For a group that is so worried about conserving ammunition, they sure wasted a great deal of it during that gunfight.
Holding the Saviors off long enough for the dead to turn into walkers was a pretty slick move, but the effect was ruined because of the female Savior's exposition.
Did she really need to let the viewers in on what was happening? She may as well have just broken the fourth wall and looked right into the camera while she was saying it.
It was pretty hokey.
Poor dialog aside, the gunfight at the compound was intense and provided enough action for a majority of the episode.
Jerry: Protect the king!
Ezekial: Protect yourselves!
Tara, Morgan, and Jesus lead a separate attack of their own at another Savior base. Unsurprisingly, characters we've never seen before up until this point ended up getting themselves killed.
That was some seriously poor formation they set up behind the door, but at the same time, these aren't tactically trained fighters.
What boggled my mind was why the group didn't take the weapons of their fallen team members if they're so concerned with building and sustaining artillery.
I'm also incredibly surprised that the group just left Morgan behind and didn't even bother to check on him to see if maybe he was still alive?
Jesus and Tara have significantly different views on how to handle the Saviors. Jesus refuses to kill, and it almost cost him his life when he turned his back on Dean.
Jesus is learning the hard way that showing the Saviors mercy is not going to get the job done. He should take some notes from Morgan, who he himself has finally found that killer instinct again.
By the way, watching Morgan relentlessly hunt down the Saviors within the compound had me grinning from ear to ear.
It was disappointing though that Jesus stepped in when Morgan went to kill Jared. I'm surprised though that Jesus was able to talk sense into him since Morgan was completely zoned out and in Terminator mode.
Benjamin's death on The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 13 is still very fresh in Morgan's mind, so you can rest assured that Jared will get what's coming to him sooner rather than later. And there is no one that I'd rather see get a spiked staff through the face than Jared.
Jesus: It's not what we do.
Morgan: Then what do we do huh?
Rick and Daryl were on a mission in locating the Savior's weapons cache. While he didn't find any weapons, Rick did find someone that he didn't expect.
That big shock came near the end of the hour when one of the Saviors was revealed to be none other than Morales, one of the original Atlanta survivors whom Rick helped escape the city on The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 2.
Only this time, they were on much less friendly terms.
Many fans including myself have always wondered what happened to Morales and his family after they left Atlanta. The last time we saw Morales on The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 5, he mentioned that his plan was for his family to head to Alabama.
Obviously, something happened along the way since they presumably never made it there.
Actor Juan Gabriel Pareja recently teased the possibility of his character making a return to the series at some point. And while it has always been a possibility that we would see Morales again, that didn't make the reveal any less shocking.
When I heard his voice after sneaking up behind Rick, I knew immediately who it was and it totally blew my mind.
I can't remember the last time The Walking Dead genuinely shocked me, but that scene left me with chills.
Will Rick be able to persuade Morales to side with him? I wouldn't count on it, especially considering that Morales is likely a far cry from the man Rick parted ways with more than seven seasons ago.
To be fair, Rick has changed quite a bit himself.
Rick did save Morales back in Atlanta by getting him out of the city and back to his family safely, so it goes without saying that Morales owes him one. However, if he has truly changed due to his affiliation with the Saviors, then that won't matter and Rick will need to take him out.
It's worth noting that when Rick originally met Morales, he was with Glenn, Andrea, Jacqui, Merle, and T-Dog, all of whom are now dead.
There's no denying the coincidence, so I wouldn't expect Morales to stick around for too long.
It's not about revenge, it's about getting it done.Tara
It's unlikely that Rick will get Morales to side with him, just as Negan was ineffective at persuading Daryl and Sasha to fight alongside the Saviors.
The exception, of course, is Eugene, that guy's allegiance will go in whichever direction the wind blows.
The flashfowards have essentially removed any sense of danger for Rick since we know that he survives the war with Negan. I am though looking forward to seeing how the Rick and Morales situation plays out; however, I doubt either is interested in catching up at this point.
As a follow-up episode to the premiere, I could have done without the Carol/Ezekial side plot involving tracking down the Savior escapee.
Don't get me wrong, I love watching Jerry dispatch walkers with his ax as much as the next person, but I would have much rather had more focus placed on Morgan, Tara, and Jesus or Rick and Daryl's weapons raid.
On the other hand, we got to see Shiva in action again which is always a delight!
The Walking Dead Season 8 hit the ground running and so far, I'm completely on board.
This episode definitely kept the momentum going that was established during the Season Premiere, and based on where things ended, it doesn't appear to be letting up anytime soon.
- Morgan still believes that his curse is to remain alive as everyone else around him dies. I hate to say it, but I would not be surprised if Morgan does not make it out of the season.
- Rick finding the baby in the crib gave him a huge gut punch. He definitely didn't expect it, and it brought home the fact that these people have families and people that they care for, just like Rick and his group.
- Perhaps I'm alone in this, but I sense something brewing between Carol and Ezekial. I know everyone's still holding out hope for Carol and Daryl to hook up, but I just don't think that's in the cards. Sorry folks!
- I'm happy that we earned ourselves a break from Negan during this episode. The character received way too much focus throughout The Walking Dead Season 7, and it suffered as a result. Although, I am eager to find out how the situation with Father Gabriel will play out.
What did you think of "The Dammed"?
Hit the comments below and let me know.
Remember, you can always watch The Walking Dead online right here at TV Fanatic.
The Walking Dead returns with a new episode on Sunday, November 5 at 9/8c.
Steven Ford is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.