We just hit the ground running with ‘The Walking Dead’ season eight premiere! War is officially a GO as Rick and his allies initiate a well strategized attack on Negan and the Saviors.
The 100th episode and season eight premiere of The Walking Dead opens on a tense note. We start with a close-up of Rick (Andrew Lincoln), followed by a small piece of the dream-like sequence we first saw in the trailer. It’s a cane in a white room with music playing in the background. Back to present day we see other survivors building, plotting, planning and preparing for war. Then we jump to Rick, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) standing in the back of a pickup truck delivering a powerful “this is our world” speech. “There’s only one person who has to die. And I will kill him myself, I will,” Rick tells the group, which includes people from The Kingdom, The Hilltop and Alexandria. As he’s speaking we see Dwight (Austin Amelio) get a note delivered via an arrow courtesy of Daryl (Norman Reedus). The note reads “tomorrow”. Dwight responds, but we don’t immediately get to see what he wrote back.
We see multiple flashes of Rick standing over Abraham and Glenn’s graves. Mourning? Regretting? Finding the inspiration to go after Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) once and for all? Then we’re back to the cane. The white room. And, finally, we see the bearded Rick laying in bed. It’s a quick glimpse followed by a close up of Rick covered in dirt and sweat. It seems that these flashes are actually fever dreams, and sweaty, defeated close-up Rick are the actual glimpses into the future.
In one of the coolest Walking Dead moments, and a throwback to the pilot, Carl (Chandler Riggs) stops at an abandoned gas station — just like Rick did way back when. There he runs into a man who looks a little worse for wear, but before he can get anywhere with him Rick comes running in and scares him away with gunfire. Interestingly, Carl is pissed that Rick scared the guy away instead of trying to recruit him. Rick doesn’t trust anyone though, and believes that anyone they come across now could just be one of Negan’s many Saviors. Meanwhile we see glimpses of how they are slowly but surely securing their place in the war — starting with taking out all of his look outs. Though their plan, or plans, are unclear to us, it is made blatantly obvious that no one is going into this blindly. They’ve never been more prepared.
There are some very tender moments in this episode, too. The moment Rick leaves his house and leans down to kiss the top of Judith’s head is incredibly sweet. We also now see Judith as a little girl, no longer a baby, with shoulder-length blonde hair as she sits in the street drawing on the pavement with chalk. She is oblivious to what is going on, which is exactly what Rick intended. Then we see Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) embrace and share a passionate kiss to say goodbye. Next up is Carl, who is almost as tall as Rick now, and the two pull each other into a tight squeeze. “This is the end of it,” Rick tells Carl before getting in his truck and driving off. The moment is followed by extreme foreshadowing when Michonne tells Carl that this is his show now. Foreshadowing much? Whoa.
Rick Gets A Head Start In The All Out War
Daryl, Carol (Melissa McBride), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Morgan (Lennie James) set a trap for the Saviors with a walker herd and a truck explosion. It works perfectly, setting the Saviors out to find out what caused the explosion. With the Saviors outside of the Sanctuary, we watch as Dwight turns a blind eye to two of the lookouts getting killed. This allows a group of Rick’s people to drive in completely unnoticed, and once they are settled they make their presence known by firing off gun shots into the air. Moments later, Negan walks outside. He’s joined by Dwight, Simon (Steven Ogg), Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and two others. Rick offers them one chance and one chance only to surrender, promising them life after the war. The only one who seems to break a sweat over this is Eugene while Negan laughs at Rick’s offer to his men.
Then Negan brings out a surprise: Gregory (Xander Berkeley). He tells them that The Hilltop stands with Negan and that anyone from The Hilltop who goes against them will be kicked out, as well as their families and loved ones. The people from The Hilltop hesitate, but ultimately don’t budge — and Maggie tells Gregory they aren’t going anywhere. Jesus (Tom Payne) chimes in with a real doozy: “The Hilltop stands with Maggie.” Simon throws Gregory down a flight of stairs and Rick gives everyone one more chance to surrender. They don’t, obviously, so the gunfire begins. As this is happening, another trap set by Morgan, Carol, Daryl and Tara blows up the Saviors who left earlier to inspect the first one. Brilliant.
They use the RV to blow through the gate as Daryl draws the walker herd straight towards the Sanctuary with multiple explosions. We see that Negan is still outside and limping to find cover, leading us to believe he’s been shot. Rick spots him hiding and shoots round after round until Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) stops him and reminds him this isn’t about him. Rick snaps out of it and hops in his truck to leave, but Gabriel gets distracted when he spots Gregory wandering around. Gabriel tries to save Gregory but the known jerk turns on him, steals his car and bails leaving the former priest to fend for himself as the herd arrives. Gabriel desperately tries to find a place to hide and finally finds a door that opens. Once he’s inside the pitch black trailer he hears a voice: Negan. Gabriel is now trapped with Negan as the Sanctuary becomes overrun with walkers. Cool.
In another dream-like flash, the older, bearded Rick gets out of bed and uses his cane to walk through his house to chastise Michonne for turning off the alarm. Carl walks by, though we can’t see him, telling Rick that everyone is playing hooky. An older (but still little) Judith comes running out yelling, “Daddy!” as we find out that wherever they are is about to have a festival. Judith leads Rick to the front door and we see that he’s in a community, eerily similar to The Hilltop with some serious Kingdom vibes. Whatever this dream-like sequence is is somehow connected to the dirty, sweaty, terrified-looking Rick we are also seeing flashes of. There is a lot of talk of the future in this episode, so is this Rick’s deluded daydream or are we actually seeing his future?