Warning – this blog contains spoilers for The Walking Dead.
“Still Gotta Mean Something” was episode fourteen in The Walking Dead’s eighth season. With the war winding down and only two episodes left, the writers are showing just how brutal things have gotten.
Picking up after the gruesome battle at Hilltop that saw Negan’s right-hand-man Simon engage in biowarfare with the residents of the community, this episode had people missing and POWs on the run.
Series protagonists Carol and Morgan set off in search of Henry, the young child bent on revenge after the Saviors killed his older brother Benjamin.
Morgan continued to see hallucinations – after spotting visions of the deceased Savior lieutenant Gavin in the previous episode, he imagined Henry on multiple occasions. With his psyche more fragile than ever, the longtime character’s trauma spilled over beyond the search for Henry and took him straight on a mission to end the escaped prisoners.
It is likely Morgan will survive the season, as he’s already been confirmed as the crossover character for the spinoff show Fear the Walking Dead. Promos show Morgan mentioning losing himself after losing people, indicating he may bounce back from his chaotic frame of mind and embrace a kinder way of life after the war ends.
Though the track record for kids on the show isn’t good, Henry defied the odds by surviving. He was rescued by Carol at the last second, with his hiding spot being a clever throwback to the one Carol’s daughter Sophia used back in season two.
Henry may have been determined to avenge his brother by any means necessary, but he wasn’t the one who teased a dark change of character – that honor goes to the series’ leading man and main protagonist, Rick.
Though he’s been shown to use fists, blades, bullets, and even teeth to defend himself and his people throughout the course of eight seasons, he’s always been a man of his word. He follows through on his promises and operates by a code of honor though his methodology is somewhat brutal at times.
But everything changed when he and Morgan ended up captured by the prisoners, with major antagonist Jared arguing that bringing in “Rick the Prick” would help them regain Negan’s favor.
After being asked by one of the (seemingly converted) prisoners to show mercy if possible before setting out on his journey, Rick seemed to do just that. He gave his word to the prisoners that a fresh start was waiting for them at Hilltop if they agreed to cooperate. Though Jared wasn’t buying it, the other prisoners decided to free Rick and Morgan just as the building was overrun by walkers.
But right after, Rick and Morgan killed all the prisoners with Rick even admitting to a dying man that he lied to him. This dark scene could signal a big change for the longtime protagonist, and it continues to circle around the central plot point of whether the main characters are really the good guys.