As Season 8 of The Walking Dead moves closer to the conclusion of "All Out War," more obstacles are presenting themselves. We've watched Rick Grimes's mental state fluctuate for years now, as the hopelessness of the apocalypse takes its toll on him. But now it's Rick's comrades whose psyches seem to be most affected...
Does Season 8, Episode 3 Show Our Survivors Becoming Monsters?
In Season 8, Episode 3, titled "Monsters," Morgan declares that anyone who's still alive is a killer. He gets into a tussle with Jesus over this debate. When Morgan can't tolerate Jesus' stance any longer, he compares himself to the Saviors, claiming that they're no different. But Morgan tags on one exception: the Saviors will be dead and he'll be alive when everything is said and done.
This conflict shows how Morgan is changing. He wasn't always a killer. Not too long ago, he took a vow to no longer kill. But after killing one of the Saviors to protect Carol, he changed. Benjamin's death also seemed to negatively affect Morgan, evidenced by his brutal strangling of Richard shortly thereafter. Morgan is dealing with the internal conflict of processing what's happening around him. And he's apparently off to do his own thing again.
But Morgan isn't the only character who's changed recently. Daryl has become twisted due to the many losses he's suffered over the span of seven seasons.
Losing Meryl, Herschel, Beth, Glenn, Abraham, and all their friends in between was tough for Daryl to process. They'd become family in a sense, but Daryl never had a proper time to grieve. Always on the road, struggling to survive, Daryl just had to keep drudging through the mud. Now, it's weighing on him, as his killing spree in Episode 3 proves.
Is Daryl One Of The 'Monsters' Referred To In The Episode's Title?
In Season 8, Episode 3, Morales held Rick hostage. While they had a tense discussion, Daryl managed to sneak up behind them. An instant later, Daryl shot an arrow through Morales's head. Rick pointed out it was Morales, as if it would make a difference. But according to Daryl, "It don't matter, not one little bit." This change in demeanor shows how Daryl has changed since Season 1.
In addition to killing Morales, Daryl added yet another number to the body count later on in the episode. Rick convinces a Savior to surrender, assuring the man's safety if he complies. Rick even offers him a vehicle in exchange for information. And just as their deal seems to be going well, unprovoked, Daryl shoots the Savior, executing him without the slightest hesitation.
The scene echoes Carl's killing of the teenage Woodbury soldier back in Season 3, which shocked everyone. The question is, should Rick really be that shocked by Daryl's decision?
Over the past few seasons, Daryl has become increasingly volatile, mercilessly bludgeoning Fat Joey to death in Season 7, for example. But his execution of Morales and the unnamed Savior that confirms Daryl's compromised state of mind. His lack of remorse for executing an unarmed man shows that Daryl is becoming twisted in the post-apocalypse.
Two Things To Consider
The survivors going "dark" to beat the Saviors won't end for them after the All Out War does. If the core group of characters are forced to throw away their humanity for survival's sake, the emotional turmoil could leave them permanently changed.
Daryl is a perfect example, and he could be stuck in this state if someone doesn't do something about it — and that's where Rick Grimes comes in.
Now, you may be hesitant to believe Rick will stop all the pointless killing, considering that he's the one who started the war. But, after seeing Rick's face change as Daryl killed an unarmed man, there's a good chance that Rick is starting to realize what the zombie apocalypse is doing to his friends.
If the impression on Rick's face is any indication of the epiphany he's arrived at, he could be the one to say no more killing. In the process, he'd be preventing his friends from becoming any more twisted. Hopefully, Rick can address these issues before the situation gets further out of hand.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.
Do you think Rick's group are becoming monsters or just doing what they need to do for survival? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.