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The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 2 'The Damned' Review

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The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 2 ‘The Damned’ Review

Redundant themes and poorly edited firefights make for one of the worst episodes to date.

Are you ready to shoot out more windows? Well you better get ready, then, because “All Out War” is officially in full swing!

Jeffrey Dean Morgan was on vacation or something the week this one was filmed, so we don’t get any resolution to Negan and Gabriel being stuck in a trailer together. What we do get, however, are the good guys going on separate missions to various Savior outposts.

And bullets. So, so many bullets.

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 2 'The Damned' Review

No Time to Reload

The episode opens with a Savior named Mara making sure we all know she’s mean by chewing out someone over an insignificant issue. She even does that thing where she asks the a question and then tells the person to shut up when they try to answer. Classic.

Anyway, when she tries to radio in and doesn’t get a response, Mara immediately realizes something is amiss. Moments later, Aaron and a crew of tertiary good guys roll in and start firing more rounds of automatic weapon fire than five seasons of The A-Team

…and they just keep firing. It’s ridiculous. I’ve seen better ammo conservation from teenagers playing paintball.

The entire scene is so poorly edited that you can’t tell what’s going on beyond lots of gunfire and people yelling. Mara eventually realizes she’s lost the battle, which immediately cues up a bullet-proof walker to come and take a chunk out of her neck. On the good guy side, both Tobin and Eric suffer what appear to be mortal wounds.

Don’t feel bad. I had to look up who they were, too.

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 2 'The Damned' Review

SHIVA!

Ezekiel and Carol lead another group hunting for the dude who threw a grenade at them. If he reaches the next outpost, their plans for a stealth attack are done.

Ezekiel spends most of this time speaking like a low rent version of Gandalf about how they will surely prevail in their mission no matter the odds (even going so far as to say they should “fake it till you make it”) while Carol rolls her eyes at him. After a while, though, she appears to find The King’s perpetual optimism somewhat endearing.

Unfortunately, their hunt continues to be fruitless. Just when it appears they aren’t going to catch their target in time, Shiva comes from out of nowhere and tears into the dude. But before you go screaming “Deus Ex Machina!” at Scott Gimple, it turns out the next outpost had already learned of their imminent attack. As expected, Ezekiel sees this as no obstacle to their mission.

$10 says he and his team get their asses kicked next episode.

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 2 'The Damned' Review

T-1Morgan

Jesus, Tara, and Morgan lead another group of expendable extras on an outpost extermination mission. Morgan boldly declares that he “doesn’t die,” which I’m going to consider a very meta joke for the show’s hardcore audience and not a painfully obvious bit of foreshadowing.

Later, Morgan and two others split off from the rest of the group. This results in them getting taken by surprise and subsequently lit up with automatic gunfire (no head shots, though). As expected, the two people we didn’t know die, but Morgan’s paintball vest is more than enough to spare him. After staring at his dead and nameless compatriots, he gets up and somehow turns into a cross between The Terminator and John Wick, effortlessly taking out Saviors with single pistol shots without breaking a sweat.

Meanwhile, Jesus finds a Savior hiding in a closet who has pissed himself. Tara wants to kill him. Jesus says they should show mercy. As expected, Pee Pants Savior turns the tables and takes Jesus hostage. Jesus gets out of it, kicks the guy’s ass, and STILL refuses to kill him, much to Tara’s chagrin.

Later, they find a bunch of Saviors, who Jesus convinces to surrender instead of getting mowed down by gunfire. Then out of nowhere, Morgan shows up and happens to see the guy who killed Benjamin. Just as he’s about to kill him, Jesus stops Morgan and says “That’s not what we do,” which led perfectly into my favorite tweet of the night:

Morgan replied by asking “Then what do we do?”

Guess he forgot about building that jail cell back in Alexandria.

Blast from the Past

Rick and Daryl go searching for weapons. Rick ends up killing a dude who he thinks is hiding said weapons. Turns out he was actually just protecting his baby named Grace, who shares Judith’s uncanny ability to be completely quiet despite nearby violence and/or loud noises.

Rick feels guilty because I guess he never considered that The Saviors might be capable of reproducing. Unfortunately, his moment of misplaced self-pity is short lived when a random character from Season 1 who we were supposed to remember (but totally don’t) pulls a gun on him and says that he’s already called for back up.

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 2 'The Damned' Review

“I know this might be a bad time to ask, but how’s your wife?”

The Verdict

Rick feels guilty about killing. Again.

Two main characters are fighting about whether or not it’s right to kill. Again.

Morgan might be going crazy. Again.

Haven’t we covered all this before? It’s bad enough that the show is getting more and more redundant, but it’s even worse when the action is so poorly edited. Setting aside the fact that bullets must be falling from the sky every few days for them to be used so liberally, I honestly could not tell what the hell was going on for most of the Aaron vs. Mara firefight. Half the time I couldn’t even tell which side was shooting if it was a close up.

And speaking of close ups, how many minutes were wasted at the opening and closing of the episode with those tight fade ins of all the main characters looking like they were posing for a thoughtful Instagram selfie? Was there some sort of deep symbolism I missed, or were those three and a half minutes being used as filler because AMC’s fake gunfire budget was gone?

If it wasn’t for Shiva, Ezekiel and Carol’s chemistry, and Morgan going full-on Jack Bauer, I’m not sure I could find anything about that episode to like. Leave it The Walking Dead to turn gunfire into something boring.

Let’s hope next week gives us at least a glimpse of the more interesting storyline with Negan and Gabriel…or at least lets us see Shiva kill someone again.

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 2 ‘The Damned’ Review
Is it good?
Redundant themes and poorly edited firefights make for one of the worst episodes to date.
Ezekiel and Carol have great chemistry.
Shiva is awesome.
The same old themes are getting explored again in the most boring and predictable ways possible.
The firefights are ridiculously choreographed and poorly edited.
Character deaths and reappearances don't mean much if you don't know who they are in the first place.
3.5
Meh

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