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Catch Up On 'The Walking Dead' With These Recaps

Season 8: Episodes 1 through 3

Image: AMC

The Walking Dead returns this Sunday. So, this is a good time to catch up on anything you missed before the mid-season premier. 

Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 1

Spoilers for the Walking Dead below.

The Walking Dead, like every show that’s been on this long, has had some ups and downs, but this is the stuff people have been waiting for. Rick versus Negan. Justice for Glenn and Abraham. A tiger? It all comes down to this. The episode hides the group’s initial plan. The viewer is left to observe the action as it takes place. This is a nice change, as usual, we get to see the plan, and then get to see how horribly it’s executed.

There were some really cool Zero Dark Thirty type action scenes where the lookouts are slowly taken out one by one. Also, the decision to show how well timed everything had to be was a good idea. The group had mostly bumbled their way through their the last couple seasons. One almost forgets that despite the Savior’s brutality, Rick’s groups is a coterie of high experience killers. In fact, from an outside perspective, Rick would seem nearly as brutal and violent as Negan.

They armor up and it’s time for speeches. This is one of the areas I’d like to talk about. The speeches, for the most part, are well done. Although, I think Andrew Lincoln is a fantastic actor, and for the most part I like Rick, but his speeches always fall flat to me. Everything Lincoln does is perfect; they just need better words. Every time you think you’re going to get William Wallace at Stirling Bridge, it sounds like a speech some kid wrote for school.

However, King Ezekiel and Maggie save Rick. I love every word King Ezekiel says, and I could watch him all day long. But, if anyone other than Khary Payton played him, it would feel ridiculous. Although, the tiger helps a lot. More shows should have tigers. Maggie also delivers. It makes sense why she registers though. She’s been with the group for a long time, and she was always one of the leading members. She was being groomed to lead Alexandria. She saved the Hilltop. The people respect. She’s an excellent foil to Negan. Negan, and Rick to a certain extent demand allegiance, but people want to follow Maggie. Really, Maggie should be the mob boss, with Rick being the enforcer. She also works as a symbol for the cause, as she has the most reason to hate Negan.

There’s another patented Walking Dead standoff. Why no one just shot Negan I will never know. I get they need to stretch the war out but stop putting the simple solution there. Also, Gabriel gets caught in the retreat in a room with Negan. Also, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has to be getting antsy; he has like three movies and seven television pilots to shoot and hang out with Norman Reedus all the time. I couldn’t tell, but I think we heard bat swings as the episode closed, so maybe his watch as ended. It’s too bad, I like the Boondock Saints version of Gabriel.

Also, they kept switching Rick’s perspective. It went from Old Man Rick to current Rick, to Rick standing over Glenn and Abraham’s graves, to Rick crying under a stained glass window. Stained glass Rick makes me think someone dies. Maybe Carl? (Which wouldn’t be that bad. Chandler Riggs is an awful actor and nothing he does makes sense anymore. More on that later.) Maybe Maggie? That would be terrible. If it’s Shiva the tiger, I will quit this show though.

Random Thoughts:

Why is Carl suddenly so nice? He should basically be a serial killer now. He’s been murdering people since he was ten. He shot his mom in the face. He should be the terminator now.

Jerry trying to give Enid the body armor was cool. More Jerry doing things.

Again, tigers are awesome.

Why did they waste what seems like 4,000 rounds on the windows of the Sanctuary? Fire discipline people. This also goes for Kingdom group that almost get’s blown up. They see one guy and everyone emptied their magazines. They really need to watch Keanu Reeves doing firearms training on Youtube.

Also- leading up to the premier I was watching all the old episodes they show on AMC. I noticed two things.

Does anyone miss Shan?. I get why he had to die, so Rick becomes the brutal leader he is now. Also, after watching the Punisher, John Bernthal’s Punisher could show up easily and it would be awesome.

Daryl used to talk so much. There are whole episodes where he’s just yakking away. I think Daryl hasn’t said seven words since season 4. Though it kind of works for him. Plus, Norman Reedus is too busy signing autographs for 18 trillion people that show up at his meet and greets.


Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 2

Episode two builds off what happened last week. I thought it was a strong episode, and so far I like the pace they’re keeping.

Spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead season 8 episode 2.

This will probably say more about my attention span than the direction of the show, but I thought the first group we see were people from the Kingdom/Hilltop. I thought they were going to get ambushed by Saviors and turns out THEY were Saviors and the groups show up and wrecks shop. Well, at least as well as the B-team can. Aaron is there. I don’t know if he counts as B-team, but his husband dies ( or at least appears to). I don’t know Aaron’s husband’s name, and that’s not a great thing. Also, they should find a way to incorporate Ross Marquand’s impressions into the show.

Jesus, Tara, and Morgan go back to the outpost where everything started. Lenny James kills it with the “I don’t die” line and it’s true. Lenny James explains after the show that it’s a curse, and I’m glad he did. I just thought it was a cool line, but I’m not that intelligent. He’s got this wandering samurai vibe and it works. There should just be a Morgan spin-off. I’ll watch Lenny James do anything (also he’s great in Jericho and that show was amazing and only got one and half seasons). Also, it’s proved true when the redshirts die and Morgan gets up and John Wick’s his way out of the building. I thought for sure he was going to flip when he saw the guy who killed his friend (I have no idea what his name was and I’m too lazy to look) and goes back to killer Morgan and starts massacring prisoners.

Tara and Jesus find a guy who pees his pants and pretends to be innocent. Jesus tries to save him. Tara wants to say what everyone is thinking and that’s to tell Jesus that he’s not JESUS Jesus. (I apologize that sentence made no sense). But, he ends up taking a group prisoner. So go Jesus (the Walking Dead version).

King Ezekiel’s group makes progress towards their goal. He and Coral quarrel over whether to be pessimistic or optimistic going into battle. The King drops kingly lines, and then momentarily breaks character and tells Carol that he’s going to “fake it till he makes it” and it’s worked for him so far. He also tells some dude to release Shiva, and if you’re going to tease a tiger. Best deliver on that problem. If I’m never going to get direwolves on Game of Thrones so Jon Snow can flirt with dragons, then I demand double helpings of CGI tiger. [Editor’s Note: I realize AMC and HBO have nothing to do with each. I just meant television in general.] King Ezekiel rallies the troops. I thought we were getting a King’s Speech moment but the sword raise will do. However, I would have killed to have King Ezekiel drop the St. Crispin’s Day Speech from Henry V. (If you’re unfamiliar it’s the “Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more” speech. I’m a dork. Sue me.)

Rick and Daryl are doing something I guess. I didn't pay that close attention. I believe Dwight told them they needn’t take care of that area. Anyway turns out there’s a baby there. Rick probably just killed her dead. He all the sudden has remorse for the first time since season 4. And the guy shows up from back when Daryl was blonde and racist.

Random Thoughts:

TIGER!- I could watch the tiger kill people all day. And then she just sat there and got petted. Who’s a good tiger?

In another universe. Carol and Morgan decide to take Negan out on their own. Morgan goes crazy and Negan comes back to the Sanctuary and everyone’s dead and there’s graffiti everywhere. Negan turns around and around and all he hears is the word “Clear” and gets stabbed in the throat.

No Negan???? What gives. And I need to find out the state of Father Gabriel’s pants.

Talking Dead is usually pretty boring unless Yvette Nicole Brown is on. First, the big guy from This is Us was on. He’s super cool. And, Chris Hardwick is right. The show should just be Tom Payne and Alanna Masterson hanging out and talking. It'd be much more interesting.

My joke reminded me. What gives with Daryl’s hair? Shouldn’t all the time in the sun have turned it light? Someone with more hair knowledge please tell me.

Edit: I forgot to mention that King Ezekiel's delivery of "And yet I smile" was one of coolest moments in the show's history.

Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 3

The episode opens with the King rallying his troops. He confidently reminds everyone that they will lose not one member. So I expect everyone to die in the next thirty seconds. The kingdom’s soldiers trick the Savior group by pretending to surrender. They also ambush another group closer to the compound. The whole thing reminds me of The Patriot. And it makes sense. The rebel alliance is much smaller and less equipped than the Saviors so their guerrilla warfare tactics are needed. Plus, it fits with their theme of overthrowing an oppressive tyrant, though, if King George had had Lucille things might have gone differently.

Things go pretty well for Ezekiel and Carol. The tiger makes an appearance. Carol smiles. Of course, the Walking Dead has never been the most subtle show. So immediately after the King reiterates that they have not lost one member, the Saviors open up on them with machine guns. I think Ezekiel is okay. But I’m pretty sure the red-headed knight (I’ve affectionately been calling him Red Leader but that's because I can’t resist a Star Wars reference). Really, I just want to make sure the tiger is okay.

There’s a small part about Aaron and his husband. I feel really bad but I don’t really care. Aaron’s husband has been on the show for three seasons and has about seven seconds of screen time. Aaron has much better chemistry with Daryl anyway so maybe we can see that happen.

Gregory shows up at the Hilltop. So have to admit that, despite being a feckless weasel most of the time, it took guts to show his face at the Hilltop. He’s so pathetic that Maggie lets him stay. She should have made him kneel though.

Morgan and Jesus continue to debate over what should happen to the prisoners. Tara is there too I guess. (For some reason I find Tara a hopelessly boring character, which is weird but Alanna Masterson is super fun and witty in every interview). Morgan is about to shoot the Saviour that looks like he would be friends with the meth heads from Orange is the New Black. Walkers arrive because we need an action set piece. Some of the Saviours' escape and Morgan goes after them. This is one of those instances where sometimes really dumb things need to happen in order to see cool things happen. Did the Morgan and Jesus fight to make a whole lot of sense? No. Do I really want to watch a warrior monk fight a hair model in the zombie-infested woods? Absolutely.

They bring the prisoners to the Hilltop. Everyone except for Jesus thinks this is a dumb idea. I can tell you what I want to happen even though it won’t. Maggie could bash all the prisoner's heads in and then send the picture to Negan with the words “I’m Negan” written on it. I think Rick might be doing something similar, but it really should be Maggie.

Speaking of Rick.

Rick is still in the standoff with Morales. They start talking. I thought for sure this might be a way they overthrow the Saviors. Morales could be a double agent. I was sitting there thinking “Okay, but isn’t that already Dwight’s job?” And then Daryl shoots him in the face and it was great. Rick and Daryl fight their way out until they are rescued by Aaron. Aaron takes the baby to the Hilltop. Rick is busy being Ansel Adams when someone takes a shot at them. He’s alone and Rick talks him into giving up. They get what they want from him, and then Daryl shoots him in the face.

Daryl has had one of the more interesting arcs in the show, Most of the characters started good and got harder as society broke down, like Rick and Carol. Daryl started out rough around the edges and softened in the apocalypse. After his internment though, he’s stone cold. Some of it has to be the guilt he has over Glen too. It’s good he’s with Rick though. Rick needs to be reminded they’re at war.

That’sit for this week, Next week’s episode looks great too, I hope they can keep it up.

Random Thoughts:

How Jesus’ hair stay so perfect? Rick and Daryl look like fry cooks from an Alabama waffle house and Jesus looks like he’s in a Pantene ad. I bet he just has a huge stock of conditioner at the Hilltop.

Shiva made it again. Nothing better happen to her. You could take Judith and the new baby, but I want my CGI tiger.

I realize that King Ezekiel’s thing is Shakespeare (he also sometimes reminds me of Shakespeare from The Postman) but it would have been great if he yelled: “Fly You Fools” when he saw the machine guns.

I didn’t watch the Talking Dead last night but Norman Reedus was on it and I assume it was mostly a promo for his AMC show, I like Norman Reedus but that show is so boring, Although it’s cool how great he is with the fans, People SWARM him wherever he goes and he loves it. I heard he takes home some crazy money from autograph signings.

JUST ONCE I would like them to sneak a Mcmanus family prayer into a scene where Daryl kills some dude.

No Negan again this week. It makes sense because Jeffrey Dean Morgan has 42 TV spots to do and 17 movies that you’ve never heard of. Plus doing every talk show ever and teasing coming back to Supernatural again.

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