"Monsters" is the third episode of the eighth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the one-hundred and second episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 5, 2017. It was written by Matt Negrete & Channing Powell and directed by Greg Nicotero.

Plot

Conflict with the Saviors leads to unintended consequences for the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and Alexandria; morality proves tricky in wartime.

Synopsis

Deep in the woods, Ezekiel rallies and motivates his troops, over three dozen strong for the upcoming assault on the nearby Savior outpost. Carol notes that the Saviors most likely have the advantage of superior numbers, but agrees with Ezekiel that the Kingdommers have strategy on their side. Ezekiel is confident that if they stick to the plan, they will not lose a single person. Over the radio, the Saviors organise their forces. Later, Ezekiel leads a small number of his regiment through the woods, where they soon hear Saviors whistling. They are quickly confronted by a group of around 20 Saviors, who hold them at gun point. Carol emerges from the long grass with the rest of the Kingdommers and shoot the Saviors from behind, while Ezekiel's group drop to their knees and open fire as well, killing them all and sustaining no casualties.

Meanwhile, at the Office Outpost, Rick is held at gunpoint by Morales who orders him to disarm, realising that he is the "Rick from Alexandria" the Saviors had been told about. He calls Rick a monster, and reveals that Negan has ordered Rick, the widow, and the king be kept alive if possible. He questions Rick's motives and angrily tells him that the Saviors will settle the score. Outside, the Battle rages on as the Saviors take more casualties. They receive Morales' order to return inside and do so immediately, killing the two men Rick and Daryl took with them. Aaron helps a gravely injured Eric away from the fight, and leans him up against a tree. The bullet went straight through his abdomen. Aaron regrets encouraging him to join the fight, but Eric disagrees. He tells a distraught Aaron to get back in the fight, which he reluctantly does. 

Elsewhere, the Hilltop and Alexandrian forces that attacked the Satellite Outpost are escorting around 30 captured and shackled Saviors along a road at by armed guard. Jared annoys Morgan by whistling loudly. Jesus remarks that they aren't far from the Hilltop, but Morgan is still angry with the decision to spare the lives of the Saviors. Jesus insists it was the right thing to do despite, telling him that no matter what they've done, they're still people. He firmly says that they don't execute people. Morgan retorts that he has in fact done so in the past.

Back at the Office Outpost, Rick inquires of Morales' family, and he reveals that they died on the way to Birmingham not long after they left the rest of the group. Morales refuses to accept Rick's sympathy even when he reveals some of the many people he has lost too. Rick recounts Glenn's horrific death at the hands of Negan, and how he met Maggie in the apocalypse, much to Morales' surprise. Morales tell him that he lost his mind after his family died, and that on his way north, he was found by the Saviors, giving him a sense of purpose since they saw value in him. Thus he declares himself to be "Negan" too, and tells Rick that they are the same; two assholes ready to do whatever is necessary to survive. He taunts Rick when he tries to reason with him, asserting that "Officer Friendly" died with the others. Just then Daryl arrives behind Morales and fires a bolt through his face as he turns around, despite Rick's protests. Daryl asks if he found the guns, and Rick replies in the negative. As they prepare to leave, the surviving Saviors from outside attack. 

On the road, Jared continues to annoy Morgan, eventually mocking Benjamin's death. As Morgan snaps and holds him at gunpoint, a number of walkers roll down a nearby hill towards the convoy and chaos erupts. Two Saviors are killed, and as the Militia members are preoccupied with the threat, a group of 10 Saviors led by Jared make a break for it, running off into the woods. Morgan gives chase, firing at them as they flee. When he catches up to them, he kills the one that caused them to slow down, and is only stopped from executing the rest by Jesus' intervention. Dianne and 3 other Militia members escort the Saviors back to the road while Jesus tries to reason with Morgan, who insists that the Saviors will not and cannot change. He begins to mentally break down, ranting about how things never change. He insists that the Militia have to be killers just like the Saviors in order to survive. Jesus says that after the war is won they will have to find a way to live with the Saviors, but Morgan refuses to listen. He attacks Jesus who dodges his attacks and kicks him back. Morgan forms up with his Aikido and attacks again.

Ezekiel reminds his troops that the Saviors they just took out were only one garrison from a compound of three. Later, they stealthily take out the three guards stationed at a building occupied by Saviors, before entering and killing the inhabitants, the first of the locations that make up the Outpost. Shortly thereafter, they ambush a second group of around 40 Saviors, killing them all. In the office Outpost, Rick and Daryl are pinned down in a hallway by six Saviors. Morgan and Jesus continue to fight. Jesus tries to get through to him, but Morgan is unresponsive, and continues to attack, to Jesus' confusion. He is able to avoid Morgan's strikes with his stick, and take advantage of the openings he leaves to wear him down. Still Morgan refuses to stop. He scores a hit on Jesus' stomach, severely winding him, and another on his arm, but Jesus blocks the third hit and kicks Morgan away. As he goes in for another kick, Morgan manoeuvres back out of his reach, and takes his standing leg out from beneath him. He tries in vain to score several lethal hits as Jesus dodges and gets to his feet, knocking an increasingly erratic Morgan to the ground. He uses trees as cover to evade most of Morgan's strikes but is eventually apprehended and knocked to the floor. He manages to get to his feet and disarm his opponent, knocking him away with another kick. When he returns him his stick, Morgan holds it to his throat as Tara and Dianne arrive. Morgan finally snaps out of his trance, in a state of confusion, realizing what he has done. He tells Jesus that he isn't right, but that doesn't make him wrong either. He concludes that he can't be a part of the war, and leaves on his own.

Meanwhile, Rick and Daryl are on the cusp of running out of ammo. Rick shoots a fire extinguisher, creating cover to take out the Saviors at close range as Aaron and the Militia arrive with supporting fire, killing the remaining Saviors. 

At the Hilltop, Enid is on guard duty when she spots Gregory arriving in the car he took from Gabriel at the Sanctuary. He pleads to be let back in. Maggie meets him at the gate and asks him what he's doing back at the colony after what he did. Gregory lies about finding the car empty, and arrogantly tells her that he built the Hilltop long before Maggie arrived. Maggie furiously tells him to shut up and stop pretending he didn't try to sell the community out to Negan. He protests that he was trying to save lives but Maggie tells him the people are fighting for a better life. She calls him a coward, and reveals that Kal told them that Gregory wanted to warn Negan of the Militia's intentions to fight. Kal overhears Gregory insulting him, and gives him the middle finger. Maggie makes to leave Gregory on his own outside the walls, but changes her mind when he desperately pleas for mercy, saying that he was scared and unsure if they could win in a fight against the Saviors. He apologizes and makes a scene. After listening to his pathetic cries, she lets him in, telling Enid that he isn't worth killing. Just then, Jesus' group arrives with the captured Saviors. Gregory immediately insists that they can't stay, but Maggie sends him away while she talks to Jesus. Tara says she agrees that they shouldn't be allowed to stay, and Maggie notes that with families and children at the Hilltop, the arrangement would be dangerous. Jesus insists they can't kill those who surrendered, and makes plans to keep them under armed guard in two empty trailers.

The battle at the office outpost is over; it is a victory of the Militia. Numerous reanimated Saviors are put down. Rick takes polaroid photographs of the carnage. Wounded Militia soldiers are transported away in a pickup truck and the dead are prepared for burial. Aaron returns to where he left Eric, but finds him gone. In the distance, he sees the reanimated corpse of his boyfriend, shambling towards an oncoming herd. He breaks down in fits of sobs, and is escorted away by Scott. Rick retrieves Gracie from the building, and Aaron volunteers to take her to the Hilltop since he planned to go there with Eric after the battle to inform Maggie.

Rick and Daryl prepare to part ways, with Rick intending to talk to the Scavengers alone. They take fire from a lone Savior, Todd, hiding behind a tree. Rick negotiates his surrender by promising his safety if he tells them where the missing heavy guns are. He gives the man his word. Todd, injured from the battle, cautiously emerges and tells them the M2 Heavy Machine Gun were moved to Gavin's outpost to the west, the day before. Daryl shoots him dead, much to Rick's shock. He remarks that Ezekiel's forces are at Gavin's outpost.

There, Daniel reports to Ezekiel that they sustained no casualties in the assault. He is delighted with the news, and informs Carol, who remains cautious and tells him they need to sweep the compound to be sure there are no survivors. He agrees and lets Carol take point. While his men begin putting down the Saviors as they start to reanimate, Ezekiel tells Daniel that it was them or the Saviors. He notices a window in one of the buildings and realizes they are being watched. He yells for his troops to scatter as the Saviors begin to rain .bullets upon them with the M2 heavy machine gun. His closest advisors swiftly knock him to the ground, shielding him from the hail of bullets as they sacrifie their lives in the ambush. 

Other Cast

​Co-Stars

Uncredited

Deaths

Trivia

  • Last appearance of Morales.
  • Last appearance of Eric Raleigh.
    • The adaption of Eric's death in Issue 118 is altered in this episode in which he dies from blood loss via being shot in the stomach instead of being shot in the head and dying instantly.
  • Last appearance of Todd.
  • Last appearance of Daniel. (Alive)
  • This episode marks Ross Marquand's 25th appearance on the show.
  • Eric dying, Gregory being allowed to return to the Hilltop, and the Kingdom's ill-fated assault to the Savior compound is adapted from Issue 118.
  • The episode's title comes from two instances:
    • Morales calls Rick a "Monster".
    • Gregory calls the captured Saviors that are sent to the Hilltop Colony "Monsters".
  • Eric bleeds out and dies lying underneath a tree, just like Jim died the same way in "Wildfire", but from a walker bite. Additionally, they both willingly die alone and turn into walkers, without being put down afterwards.
    • This continues this Season's trend of making call-backs to events that happened in Season 1 to celebrate the milestone of one-hundred episodes. Among other call-backs, the bloody handcuffs in "The Damned", Morales' return, and the gas station scene from "Mercy" that mirrors the first minutes of "Days Gone Bye".
  • Morales refers to Rick as 'peaches' in this episode, most likey a nod to the Georgia Peach, as Rick was born in Georgia.
  • With at least 89 deaths, this episode has the largest death count among episodes of the series so far, beating JSS, which has at least 31 deaths, however it has the most named characters deaths.
Episodes of The Walking Dead
Season 1 "Days Gone Bye" • "Guts" • "Tell It to the Frogs" • "Vatos" • "Wildfire" • "TS-19"
Season 2 "What Lies Ahead" • "Bloodletting" • "Save the Last One" • "Cherokee Rose" • "Chupacabra" • "Secrets" • "Pretty Much Dead Already" • "Nebraska" • "Triggerfinger" • "18 Miles Out" • "Judge, Jury, Executioner" • "Better Angels" • "Beside the Dying Fire"
Season 3 "Seed" • "Sick" • "Walk With Me" • "Killer Within" • "Say the Word" • "Hounded" • "When the Dead Come Knocking" • "Made to Suffer" • "The Suicide King" • "Home" • "I Ain't a Judas" • "Clear" • "Arrow on the Doorpost" • "Prey" • "This Sorrowful Life" • "Welcome to the Tombs"
Season 4 "30 Days Without An Accident" • "Infected" • "Isolation" • "Indifference" • "Internment" • "Live Bait" • "Dead Weight" • "Too Far Gone" • "After" • "Inmates" • "Claimed" • "Still" • "Alone" • "The Grove" • "Us" • "A"
Season 5 "No Sanctuary" • "Strangers" • "Four Walls and a Roof" • "Slabtown" • "Self Help" • "Consumed" • "Crossed" • "Coda" • "What Happened and What's Going On" • "Them" • "The Distance" • "Remember" • "Forget" • "Spend" • "Try" • "Conquer"
Season 6 "First Time Again" • "JSS" • "Thank You" • "Here's Not Here" • "Now" • "Always Accountable" • "Heads Up" • "Start to Finish" • "No Way Out" • "The Next World" • "Knots Untie" • "Not Tomorrow Yet" • "The Same Boat" • "Twice as Far" • "East" • "Last Day on Earth"
Season 7 "The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be" • "The Well • "The Cell" • "Service" • "Go Getters" • "Swear" • "Sing Me a Song" • "Hearts Still Beating" • "Rock in the Road" • "New Best Friends" • "Hostiles and Calamities" • "Say Yes" • "Bury Me Here" • "The Other Side" • "Something They Need" • "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life"
Season 8 "Mercy" • "The Damned" • "Monsters" • "Some Guy" • "The Big Scary U" • "The King, The Widow, and Rick" • "Time for After" • "How It's Gotta Be"