This week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Monsters,” is a huge step up from last week’s episode, which was too preoccupied with gunfights to actually move the story along. In fact, I was surprised to find in this week’s episode that Aaron’s group was still engaged in the very same gunfight that began in the first scene of episode two. In retrospect, most of last week’s episode felt like a prologue to this week’s — the two episodes easily could have been combined into one better, more impactful episode.
That said, if this is the payoff to last week’s episode, it was worth it.
Let’s begin where we left off: With Morales returning to the series for the first time since episode six of the first season. Sadly, it is short-lived. As expected, Rick keeps Morales talking just long enough for Daryl to sneak in behind and shoot Morales to death with an arrow. Rick, however, would have preferred to keep Morales alive, but Daryl — still clearly traumatized by Negan’s abduction of him — is not interested in sparing any of the Saviors’ life. “Don’t matter,” Daryl tells Rick when Rick informs him that he just killed Morales (who also spent time outside of Atlanta with Daryl. “Don’t matter one bit.”
The situation repeats itself at the end of the episode when Rick convinces a Savior to step out from behind a tree by promising to let him go in exchange for information. The kid gives the intel on the location of some heavy artillery, but instead of letting him go, Daryl shoots him in the head, much to the dismay of Rick, who had planned on following through on his promise.