‘The Walking Dead’ 8×03 Review: Monsters

The Walking Dead once again tested Rick & Co. and the viewer on how far we’re willing to go to defeat the enemy in “Monsters.” It was an episode of self reflection for many and the death of others. Eric, one of the only shining examples of LGBT representation on The Walking Dead, was killed. And many died in protecting King Ezekiel because of what he meant for his people.

Let’s discuss The Walking Dead‘s “Monsters”!

The Death of Officer Friendly

While it sucks that Morales was only there for a couple minutes, his appearance is important. We all need reminders of the person we were when the person we have become has started to spiral out of control. I believe Rick is spiraling out of control and slowly turning into the person he hates and that killed multiple members of his family.

For some this is just the price you pay to survive. But do you really survive when you become like your enemy? Or do you die right along with them and are part of some great cosmic joke born out of survival? I believe it’s the latter and it bothers me that’s so many people on The Walking Dead are okay with becoming what they fight against.

Daryl is okay with it when he shot that man that Rick gave his word to. Morgan is okay with it when he shot that man chained but escaping and when he fought against Jesus, a man on his side of the fight. And Tara is okay with it when she stood by and let Morgan and Jesus fight or when she pretended to shoot one of the people they have hostage.

Now I’m not naive. I know that some of the captured have done horrible things. But we have to find another way so we don’t become what we hate. This is why people like Maggie and Jesus are essential. They are willing to give another option a chance because they know that they don’t want to become the thing that they are fighting and that at the end of the day, when the dust has settled, these people will be their neighbors.

Rick, Maggie, Tara, Morgan, and Jesus must trust each other and work towards becoming a people and community that isn’t just surviving by the skin of their teeth. They must work to become a people thriving against the impossible. And they can only do that if they work together.

The Death of Eric & More LGBT Representation

I know that they were in the middle of a gunfight and that stuff like this happens in the apocalypse, but did you really have to kill a gay man by shooting him? Have you never heard of the Bury Your Gays trope? Because no matter what you intended, you walked right into that trope and destroyed more LGBT representation, which you severely lack in the first place.

Eric could have been saved. He could have taken that baby to the Hilltop with Aaron. Instead he died alone while a gunfight raged just a couple hundred yards away. Now I’m not blaming Aaron for doing what Eric asked and helping his people win the fight. I’m blaming the writers for thinking that this was the way to give Aaron a shake-up and much-needed drama for the rest of the season.

It’s not like as viewers we want to see couples fighting and surviving together. (We do.) It’s not like LGBT characters on TV always survive the impossible in general or while in a relationship. (Anyone remember Denise?) And it’s not like we want to see healthy couples that reflect reality making it through their day together. (Again, we do want to see that.)

Eric’s death has left a sour taste in my mouth. By no means am I quitting the show yet. I’m willing to give them an opportunity to show me what else they have because of all the years I have invested in it. But I won’t forget what happened to Eric and how it broke one of the loveliest LGBT couples on The Walking Dead and in the Apocalypse.

The Death of Many to Protect the King

I was genuinely surprised at the willingness of many to protect the king from death. I’ve always seen King Ezekiel as a performer, someone playing the part to keep his people alive and motivated. I never took a chance or paused to understand what he meant for the people he ruled over.

When things got really dark and they thought that they were going to fail or die by the hand of their enemies, King Ezekiel pushed them to keep going. He lighted a fire under them that made them feel capable and worthy. He continued to show them day in and day out that they could survive and thrive despite the crazy and dire circumstances that were around them.

Because of the way he made his people feel and the symbol he represents, many gave up their lives for him. Without hesitation they saw and felt that he must keep going for the survival of the Kingdom. As someone who’s never gone through something like that or felt something so strong, it’s hard for me to connect with what they were feeling that enabled them to do this.

Nevertheless I see them. I see why they went into battle with Ezekiel. And I see why they protected him with his life. The King lives for the good of the people and humankind.

Favorite Scene from The Walking Dead‘s “Monsters”:

Kal giving Gregory the middle finger and arguing with him about eating a little girl’s pancake. Kal is the hero we need in the apocalypse and Gregory always deserves to get the middle finger.

Check out the trailer for next week’s episode titled “Some Guy”:

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

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