The Crazy Way The Walking Dead Handled Morales' Story

morales with gun on the walking dead season 8

Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Walking Dead's latest episode, titled "Monsters."

Last week's Walking Dead was capped off with the return of Atlanta survivor Morales, whose surprise reappearance was coupled with the shock that he was now within the ranks of Negan's Saviors. This week's episode cut Morales' return short, offering a small bit of explanation for his current situation before Daryl took him out of the land of the living for good. I imagine there will be a lot of irate fans expecting Morales to have had a bigger arc in the story.

When Morales came back last week, I was mistaken in thinking that he had a full idea about who Rick was whenever his name would get spoken by the Saviors. It wasn't a very sensible assumption, since there would be little reason for that connection to happen in Morales' brain, considering not a whole lot of intel is at anyone's disposal in this society. So it was a much better move for him to not make the connections between Rick Grimes and "Rick from Alexandria" until seeing him. That had to be a very weird feeling for Morales, and not one coupled with reflections of the good ol' days.

It's like finding out that the unseen executive making your life a living hell at work was someone you went to summer camp with as a teen. Just, with more gore than most non-Crystal Lake camps have. I wonder if Morales had a conversation with one of the other Saviors and made a point of mentioning Rick, like, "Yeah, I knew a guy by that name back in the day, nicknamed Officer Friendly. But his son had both of his eyes, so it's probably not the same dude."

On the more solemn front, it was sad to hear that suspicions about Morales' family's fate were on the mark. They were killed on the way to Birmingham, putting a sizable dent in that mission. That doesn't justify him siding with Negan's tyrannical bombast, but at least Negan wasn't involved with his wife and kids' deaths, since that would have been an uglier situation. It almost seemed like Morales might actually make a change of heart about who to side with -- such is the convincing manner in which Rick Grimes says things -- but Daryl went and shot him before that could come to any sort of fruition.

For years, actor Juan Pareja has kept fans' hopes alive for Morales' potential return, and he was overjoyed to get a chance to finally make that reprisal happen. When explaining how Morales' comeback came about, Pareja naturally offered no hint that he would be re-exiting the show so quickly. It probably wouldn't have made much sense to keep Morales around after turning him villainous, but people likely still wanted to see him get more to do after being gone for so long. Or to at least get a better death than "Impulsive Daryl." What do you guys think?

While we're disappointed to see that familiar face only stick around for less than an episode's runtime, there's still a lot more Walking Dead Season 8 to go. It airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see when all the other big shows are still yet to come in 2017, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.