– by Anthony Esteves

A squad is quietly assembling their firearms and organizing their supplies. A woman grabs her radio and starts checking in with different sections of the compound. There’s no answer for a while. Finally, when one of them answers, the armored cars of the Survivors come roaring in, blasting their rifles at the entire compound.

Nothing like a surprise attack to start off an episode.

Picking up right after last week’s premiere, this season is living up to its promotions and marketing: “All Out War.” The Survivors are attacking on all fronts. Carol riding along with The Kingdom. Tara, Jesus and Morgan on another front. Rick and Daryl in search of the Saviors’ stockpile of firearms, following a map given to them by Dwight. Through these fronts, the Survivors command what seems as an all out assault on all Savior compounds

In the middle of this joint operation, different members of the alliance face moral predicaments regarding their enemies. Morgan is pushed to a point that goes against what he’s practiced in the past. Jesus tries to keep the group’s humanity while Tara wants cold justice. King Ezekiel infuses positivity and a divine outcome, one that Carol isn’t so sure of at first. Aaron leads his front while keeping an eye on Eric. Daryl comes face-to-face with a past trauma and Rick feels an emotional drawback to his ultimate intended goal; one that has a personal impact on himself, especially as a father.

Moreover, someone from Rick’s past makes a reappearance in this episode…with a gun pointed at Rick’s head.

The feeling of intensity that hovered over the premiere episode continues in this one. McCreary’s score assists in the pulse-pounding anxiety as our allied fronts approach each closed door, counting down to the appropriate time to kick them door and confront whatever may be on the other side. The cinematography by Duane Manwiller and Michael E. Satrazemis is masterful, providing beautiful and eerie silhouette shots of our favorite characters, not to mention an amazing angle during two clean head shots on a couple of Saviors.

This much needed war is providing everything it needs to in a series like this. Season 7 presented the suffering of the main characters and everything they had to endure from Negan. Season 8 provides the retaliation these characters desire, but also shows the errors in judgement that may be made when trying to achieve said result. As the season continues, we shall see how far this retaliation takes us.

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