"The Damned" is the second episode of the eighth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the one-hundred and first episode of the series overall. It premiered on October 29, 2017. It was written by Matt Negrete & Channing Powell and directed by Rosemary Rodriguez.
At Regina's outpost in an abandoned insurance office, a group of over a dozen Saviors are going about their business in the courtyard. The lieutenant, Mara, is overseeing activities and senses something is wrong. She orders the guards to lockdown the building, just as several vehicles from the Militia pull up at high speed, their occupants opening fire. Several Saviors are gunned down and the rest take cover as Aaron, Eric, Tobin, Francine, Scott, and numerous other Alexandrians exit their armoured vehicles and begin the assault.
Meanwhile, at the Satellite Outpost previously cleared out by the Alexandrians, Morgan, Tara, Jesus, Andy, Freddie and Dianne scout out the area. Having reclaimed the building, to provide extra protection from outside threats, the Saviors have constructed a moat surrounding it consisting of two fences filled in the middle with walkers. The group create a plan to distract the walkers, creating a gap and allowing Dianne to silently take out the guards with her bow.
Elsewhere, at the Savior lookout post, Carol and Ezekiel lay stunned by the explosion of the grenade thrown by the lookout. As they recover, they are attacked by walkers, and are able to take them out with the help of the half dozen Kingdommers accompanying them. The Savior, Nelson, has escaped, and Carol warns that he will almost certainly be heading to the outpost in the woods to the north to warn them, in which case they will lose their advantage. Ezekiel confidently declares that they will catch up before he can do this, and tells one of his men to return to the staging area to bring the rest of the regiment along with Shiva.
Back at the office outpost, the militia and Saviors frantically exchange fire. The Saviors are at a clear disadvantage, pinned into a relatively small area, outnumbered, and with inferior cover. Francine tells the others to keep them pinned so they will "have bigger problems than us." While this is happening, Rick, Daryl and three others enter the building from another direction, silently taking out the two guards. While the others stay behind to watch for Saviors retreating inside from the courtyard, Rick and Daryl go from room to room searching for the weapons armory. Outside, Mara tells her people to try and create an opening to exploit.
At the Satellite Outpost, the militia enter the building armed with silenced handguns, taking out patrols as they make their way deeper into the compound alongside approximately two dozen militia soldiers. They form up outside the various inhabited rooms and await Jesus' signal to attack.
In the office building, Rick scrutinises the layout provided by Dwight. Upon rejoining with Daryl and having swept the ground floor, they deduce that the weapons, including 50 calibers, must be upstairs. Outside, Mara assumes that the Militia are too cautious to push up, and decides to take the initiative instead. When Scott raises his concern about the Saviors spreading out, Aaron reiterates that the plan is to keep them penned in. At the Satellite outpost, Jesus gives the signal, and the Militia soldiers burst into the rooms and begin taking out Saviors, catching them by surprise. Morgan, Freddie and Andy prepare to breach a door, but before they can do so, a Savior opens it, and they promptly gun him down. Unbeknownst to them, at least half a dozen others were behind a corner, and before they can react, Andy is killed, Freddie is fatally wounded, and Morgan is concussed.
Rick and Daryl arrive on the second floor, and Daryl expresses doubt that Dwight's instructions were accurate, but Rick points out that they have been so far. He tells Daryl that they will use the heavy artillery to take out the Saviors in the courtyard below, bringing a swift end to the battle. They split up.
As they sweep the station, Jesus and Tara discover a Savior named Dean cowering in a closet, having seemingly peed himself in fear. He claims to be a worker from the Sanctuary forced from his family. Jesus decides to show mercy and let him live, but Tara is furious, desiring to kill all the Saviors out of revenge for Denise. Outside the room, Dianne, Oscar, and the others have been pinned down by Saviors, and the gunfire provides a distraction for Dean to take Jesus hostage, revealing his deception. Before he can shoot Tara, Jesus swiftly disarms him with his skills in martial arts. Regardless, he refuses to kill Dean, instead choosing to knock him out and tie him up, much to Tara's disgust. Over the radio, the Saviors order a retreat from the outpost, so they join the others to press the attack. Morgan awakens, wounded but alive. He loads two handguns and pursues the fleeing Saviors.
At the battle in the office courtyard, Tobin is shot in the shoulder and taken out of the fight. As some of the fallen Saviors begin to reanimate around her, Mara realises, too late, that the militia never intended to press an attack. She is swiftly set upon by a walker and killed. In the woods, Ezekiel, Carol and the Kingdommers pursue Nelson, leaving a trail for the others to follow. Carol is pessimistic of their chances if he makes it back to the outpost, by Ezekiel reasons that pessimism doesn't bare thinking about, and remains confident of a successful outcome. They discover fresh blood, indicating that one of them hit Nelson, thereby slowing him down. With renewed optimism, they pick up the pace.
Daryl searches the office block room to room and discovers a small cavity with a shackled handcuff and stale food; it is a cell for torture, similar to the one he was subjected to at the Sanctuary. Meanwhile, Rick finds a large living space, with a neatly kept bedroom. As he tries to break into a locked room, he is attacked by a Savior. The two grapple on the floor, the man pins Rick to the ground and repeatedly punches him in the face, but is forced off. They exchange blows and the man knocks Rick's gun away when he draws it. Rick finally gains the upper hand, kicking the man repeatedly before grabbing him in a headlock and demanding the location of the guns. The Savior denies the presence of any firearms, and as he is chocked out, an exhausted Rick throws him against a spike on the wall, impaling him.
At the Satellite Station, Morgan marches through the compound, killing every Savior he encounters in a trance-like state. He remembers the exchange he had with Rick several weeks earlier when he tried to talk them down from fighting the Saviors. Outside, Jesus leads the rest of the fighters to the back exit of the compound, intercepting around a dozen fleeing Saviors, including Alden, who appear to consist mostly of workers. Heavily outnumbered and outgunned, they surrender without a fight, but Tara angrily declares that even if Maggie listens to Jesus' reasoning, Rick will listen to hers. Meanwhile, Morgan continues his killing spree, before finally emerging outside. Still reeling and unbalanced, he is shocked to see the Militia taking hostages. He remembers his argument with Rick over whether or not it is worth preserving life, even that of an enemy. He is shaken from his trance when he sees Jared amongst the captured Saviors. He is prevented from killing him by Jesus, who insists that they do not kill those who surrender. Eduardo takes a polaroid photograph of the Saviors.
In the office building, Rick retrieves keys from the dead Savior's pocket, and enters the locked room. Inside, to his shock and horror, he finds a decorated child’s room, and a baby named Gracie, no more than a few months old, asleep in a crib. Realising that he had killed the infant's father, Rick reels in disgust and dismay.
Back in the woods, Ezekiel and the Kingdommers finally catch up with the retreating Savior, just as the rest of their regiment, over two dozen strong, arrive on their heels. Shiva intercepts the Savior and mauls him to death. In the office courtyard, the militia start to take losses as the Saviors desperately try to push them back. Francine is amongst those killed, shot in the chest when she became distracted. Eric whitnesses her death, and is visibly upset. Aaron and Scott attempt to get better angles on their adversaries, and Aaron sees that Eric is pinned down. He uses a Car to run over and kill three Saviors before rushing to his side. He is horrified to discover that Eric has been shot in the stomach and is bleeding profusely. He desperately carries him away from the firefight.
Ezekiel and his people regroup in the woods, where they hear on the radio that the nearby Savior outpost is sending out an active patrol, indicating that they know the Kingdommers are coming. Despite the concern of his closest advisors, Ezekiel is unfazed, and confidently prepares for the upcoming attack.
Rick comes across another living quarter in the office outpost, and discovers an old family photograph, which seemingly startles him. Just then, a man comes up behind Rick and holds him at gunpoint. As he turns, Rick is astonished to see Morales, alive and well, and clearly hardend by survival. He acknowledges Rick, who tells him that he was in Atlanta. Morales retorts that it was a long time ago, and firmly tells Rick that it is over; he reveals that he has called the Saviors back. A stunned Rick is at a loss for words.
- Juan Pareja as Morales
- Dahlia Legault as Francine
- Kerry Cahill as Dianne
- Daniel Newman as Daniel
- Carlos Navarro as Alvaro
- Peter Zimmerman as Eduardo
- Jeremy Palko as Andy
- Brett Gentile as Freddie
- Anthony Lopez as Oscar
- Joshua Mikel as Jared
- Adam Fristoe as Dean
- Lindsey Garrett as Mara
- Lee Norris as Todd
- Joshua Lamboy as Gracie's Father
- Tyler Buckingham as Satellite Guard #1
- Timothy Douglas Perez as Satellite Guard #2
- Jason Alexander Davis as Cafe Savior
- J. Top (Off-Screen)
- Roy (Off-Screen)
- Dino (Alive)
- Gracie's Father
- At least 8 unnamed members of The Militia
- At least 33 unnamed Saviors
- First appearance of Alden.
- First appearance of Todd.
- First appearance of Dean.
- First appearance of Gracie.
- First (and last) appearance of Dino.
- First (and last) appearance of Mara.
- Last appearance of Andy.
- Last appearance of Freddie.
- Last appearance of Nelson.
- Last appearance of Francine.
- Last appearance of Miranda Morales. (Photograph)
- The episode's title comes from Ezekiel's cry to his people: "The damned are upon us!"
- This episode marks Lennie James' 25th appearance on the show.
- This episode marks the return of Morales to the series who hadn't appeared since the Season 1 episode "Wildfire".
- He currently has the longest gap in appearances between episodes: 95 episodes.
- The attacks on the outposts and Eric being shot are adapted from Issue 118 of the Comic Series.
- While preparing to attack the Satellite Outpost, several references are made to the events of "Not Tomorrow Yet" when the Alexandrians previously attacked the outpost.
- Inside the Savior compound, Daryl finds room with a bloody handcuff and a sandwich, presumably of dog food, can be seen. This is reminiscent of the time Daryl spent trapped inside the Sanctuary in "The Cell", where he was also kept in a small room and fed dog food. This greatly implies that similar practices were also being employed at the Savior outposts in order to recruit others into their fold. It might also refer to his brother Merle Dixon, who was handcuffed and abandoned on a roof in "Guts" and had to eventually cut off his hand to escape.
- The portrait Simon took from Gregory in "Go Getters" is hanging on the wall in the Satellite Outpost, indicating this is the outpost under Simon's command.
- The stuffed rabbit in Gracie's crib looks exactly like the one older Judith Grimes is seen holding in the flash forward in "Mercy".
- In the scene where Morgan regains conscious, although Andy is seen to be dead with eyes opened, but when Morgan gets up, he is seen with eyes closed.
- In the scene where Aaron runs over two Saviors to get to Eric, one of the Saviors' body cracks the front windshield, but in the next scene, Aaron exits the vehicle and the windshield is not cracked and a Savior's leg can be seen resting on it.
- When Morgan exits the satellite outpost and sees Jared he is holding a rifle, however when Morgan approaches him the second after he sees him the gun disappears out of his hands.
- One of the Saviors was already ducking behind a table prior to the Alexandrians arriving in their cars.