Just … wow.
“Monsters” was pretty much perfection with regard to the type of episode I prefer on The Walking Dead.
Events moved along with a methodology, cuts were made from scene to scene intelligently, there were jaw-dropping moments and character studies galore. Definitely my cup of tea.
In the grand scheme of things, this type of episode comes up once in a blue moon. And that’s just the way I like it. Ply me with the same week in and week out and the chapters would get blurred, lost in the shuffle. I’m certain I wouldn’t appreciate them to their full potential as I do when they crop up unexpectedly. And Sunday’s was unexpected on several fronts.
And there were many of them. Some of the minor ones involved Ezekiel, Carol, Aaron, Eric (RIP) and Maggie.
But there are three in particular I want to mention and I’ll start with the lesser of them and work my way up to the wowzer. Bear with me.
First, Gregory and his sniveling, cowardly, excuse-effusing blather. What a pander monger. The dude is a sad excuse of a man, playing to whatever strengths he possesses on the one hand (which usually lean toward the side of some form of rebuke) and cowering behind pathetic rationale and poor justifications on the other. He’s the lowest sort of lackey to someone’s cause and the worst opportunistic leader of them all. The only thing he’s got going for him is the fact he’s a human being and that base common denominator deserves a modicum of worth, such that it is. Vacillating between good (rarely) and somewhat evil, it bears mention any time you deal with him it’s best to trust him as far as you can throw him. He’s just this side of getting shot because of his past actions. But not quite … and, often, that’s a crying shame.
Morgan: There were several moments during the show I screwed my face up wondering what Morgan’s deal was. The explanations for what he was doing and what he believed in were there … and then all of a sudden they weren’t. In the blink of an eye he morphed into almost mindless incoherence. And back and forth, back and forth. It’s almost as if you could see inside his mind every time that switch was flipped. His tussle with Jesus was off the rails, often a complete 180° turnaround from his previous “all life is precious” mantra. But that wild side of him wasn’t without basis. Often, he was correct in questioning what those Savior prisoners stood for, what they were capable of doing. It was the back and forth fight inside his mind that was the real problem, triggered by doing right, then crossing over into ending the problem they presented once and for all.
And the kicker? The kicker was when he admitted to Jesus he wasn’t “right” in his mind, that he was confused in his thinking process. Whoa. Shades of “Clear” back in season 3 of TWD.
And then there was Daryl. The dude was on a mission … and focused as all get out in accomplishing that mission. Don’t cross him, he’ll mow you down. We saw it all through the hunt for those firearms at that Savior compound where Rick and Morales came face to face. And there, right there, when Daryl unexpectedly came across the two … that was the jaw-dropping moment. When Daryl took out Morales without a hint of hesitation, regardless of Rick’s plea at staying his hand from killing him. Boom. Shocking. (Note from Captain Obvious: Morales’ reappearance didn’t last too long, did it?)
That moment revealed tons about Daryl’s state of mind right then. No hesitation. Instant response. Unadulterated protection of a comrade without second thought. It wasn’t even a knee-jerk reaction. He simply saw the situation, assessed it automatically and reacted. It happened in less than the blink of an eye. The awe-inducing thing about it was Daryl didn’t have a single qualm whatsoever about what he’d done. Boom. Done. Time to move on.
That was cold. Necessary in his mind but cold nevertheless.
See what I mean about these moments? It’s not even that they sneak up on you. They’re just there, right there. In your face and reactive. Sometimes, you blink and you miss them. Other times they happen and linger, offering you the chance to absorb their consequences or consider their meanings.
It happened with Sophia’s discovery in season 2’s “Pretty Much Dead Already”. It happened when Carol took matters into her own hands with Lizzie’s psychotic behavior in Season 4’s “The Grove”. And with Beth’s demise in “Coda” from season 5. In “18 Miles Out” from season 2 with the conflict between Rick and Shane, especially the silence between them on their way back to Hershel’s farm. And a handful more.
What? You detect a pattern above? Yes, there’s a pattern, with the exception of “18 Miles Out”.
Often those moments revolve around a death. But not necessarily. Sometimes, on the rare and special occasion, they smack you up alongside the head as they did in this latest chapter.
And they are a joy to behold in the midst of the continuous nightmare that is The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday at 9:00 PM on AMC.
What did you think of this episode’s big reveal? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. We want to hear from you!