The Walking Dead 8.03

‘The Walking Dead’ 8.03 Recap: “I Did Not Eat Those Pancakes!”

If last week’s episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ was all shootin’, shootin’, shootin’, this week’s is all talkin’, talkin’, talkin’. It’s a total snooze and one of the worst episodes this show has had since… well, since that all-Tara episode last year. Come to think of it, that wasn’t very long ago, wasn’t it?

Still hoping to find out what happened with Gabriel and Negan? Ha! Don’t be so naïve. That cliffhanger goes totally unacknowledged for another week.

Not an Armory

Morales, that guy you’re still struggling to remember from Season 1 (I’ve seen clips of footage with him in the show and yet still draw a complete blank on him), holds Rick at gunpoint. Rather than just shoot him and be done with it, he decides to hold him there and talk. Morales claims that all Saviors are under orders to take Rick alive, which is awfully convenient. They talk a lot. Morales gives an utterly clichéd “We’re just the same, you and I” diabolical Talking Killer speech and Rick protests, “No we’re not!” This goes back and forth for a while – “Yeah we are!”, “Nuh uh!”, “Yuh huh!!”, etc. [Note: Not actual quotes, but close enough.]

It never once occurs to Morales that Rick might not be alone in the building, so he very stupidly stands with his back to an open door until Daryl finally comes along and kills him. Rick tries to point out that they know the guy, but Daryl doesn’t care. He’s not playing around anymore. (Foreshadowing!)

The Saviors that Morales called enter the building, leading to a bunch of shooting until Rick and Daryl run low on ammo. (Now they run out of bullets?) Rick uses his last shot to blow up a fire extinguisher and create a smokescreen, which allows him and Daryl to steal some Savior guns and kill the rest.

Was the battle that Aaron led outside the same building where Rick and Daryl are? I thought it was in a totally different location, but this episode leaves me confused again. Anyway, Aaron and Eric peel off from the skirmish so that Eric can find a quiet spot and sit against a tree. He tells Aaron to go back and finish the fight. He’ll be fine. He just needs to sit there and bleed out for a while. Aaron agrees that this is a good idea and leaves his boyfriend all alone with a gaping bullet wound in his gut.

Shockingly, by the time the battle is over, Aaron moseys back to the tree, feeling elated at his victory, but Eric is gone. Following a trail of blood with his eyes, he sees what looks like Eric’s shambling corpse stumbling away. Aaron cries big ugly tears.

Rick and Daryl eventually exit the building. Rick remembered that baby in the nursery and brings it out with him, but he has no time to deal with babies. Aaron volunteers to take it back to the Hilltop. Something makes me suspect that he doesn’t have a properly installed child safety seat in his car.

After everybody else leaves, Rick and Daryl prepare to head out when someone fires a shot in their general direction and misses wide. The two of them take cover, and Rick calls out offering the shooter a deal. If he’ll surrender and tell them what they want to know, Rick will give him a car and let him leave unharmed. When questioned why he should be trusted, Rick promises, “A man’s word has gotta mean something.”

A young guy steps out from behind a tree and puts down his weapon. Rick asks where the machine guns he expected to find are, and the Savior tells him that they were moved to Gavin’s compound a few days earlier. Daryl promptly shoots the guy dead. Promises mean nothing to him.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Jesus, Morgan and Tara lead their procession of Savior prisoners back to the Hilltop. Morgan and Jesus continue to bicker over whether to kill them or not. Jesus feels certain that Maggie will side with him that they can’t execute people who have surrendered.

The Obnoxious Savior (if he has a name, I didn’t catch it) keeps needling Morgan and getting under his skin. Jesus once again has to stop Morgan from killing the guy. When they get distracted by a herd of Walkers rolling down a hill towards them, Obnoxious Savior and the small group of prisoners that he’s tied to make a break for it and run through the woods. Morgan chases after them and shoots one prisoner dead. Jesus runs up and, again, stops him from killing any more.

At this point, Morgan’s had enough. He and Jesus get in a fight while everyone else stands around watching, like some schoolyard scrap. Jesus wins and Morgan seems to come to his senses. He admits that he’s not right in the head and walks away, abandoning everyone to be alone again.

Back at the Hilltop, Gregory arrives first. He begs Maggie to let him in, swearing that he’s seen the error of his ways and pleading for mercy. Maggie grudgingly relents, saying that, “He’s not worth killin’.” Comically, just moments later, Gregory is appalled when Jesus arrives wanting to let other Saviors into the compound. Maggie agrees to let him lock them up in some trailers in the back. This does not seem like a viable long-term solution.

You Had to See That Coming

Ezekiel continues giving more inspirational speeches vowing that, “We will lose not one of our ranks!” This of course signals that somebody’s gonna die before the episode is over. At a certain point, it looks like his squad walks into a Savior ambush, but it turns out to be a double-ambush and his people kill all the Saviors.

As the episode wraps up, it looks like perhaps Eric is going to be the episode’s one sacrifice. However, just when Ezekiel thinks that his team has successfully taken a Savior compound, a high window opens in a farm silo and a machine gun pokes out, opening fire and mowing down a bunch of people from the Kingdom.

Episode Verdict

Just three weeks into the season, this episode feels like a big time-waster. All the dialogue between characters just reiterates points made last week. The fight between Morgan and Jesus is laughably pointless, and how many times do we need to watch Morgan give up on the group to go live on his own like a hermit?

The quick dispatching of Morales only serves to emphasize how unimportant the return of that character was, and Eric was much too insignificant a character to be worth the way his death is built up as a major loss

Even the big zombie set-piece this week, involving a bunch of Walkers falling down a hill, is really lame.

For as much crap as people give Chris Hardwick for his job as rah-rah cheerleader on the ‘Talking Dead’ aftershow, I almost can’t imagine how difficult it must be to feign excitement for an episode this weak. That is genuinely hard work.

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