Mercy (The Walking Dead, Season 8 premiere)

TWD is back and we had the first confrontation of the new storyline, ‘All Out War.’ Rick and our group prepared an elaborate plan to attack the Sanctuary. They (actually, Daryl did most of the “footwork”) gathered a mass of walkers via explosives, heading for the Sanctuary; they got rid of the Saviors on watch, gathered the forces of the Hilltop, the Kingdom and Alexandria and armored their vehicles. Dwight is also involved in the planning and is playing a very dangerous game. He is definitely a hot contender for this season’s death draft because Negan is bound to find out (maybe, he already did, which would explain how not surprised he was by the arrival of Rick and the group.

However, the episode begins with a weird encounter of Carl with a stranger looking for food. Before Carl can really talk to him, Rick scares him off by shooting into the air, believing in a compromise of giving him the benefit of the doubt and caution. Carl, however, believes that does not suffice, again hinting at the development of Rick and the group (or at least a part thereof) into the thing they strive to destroy – a despotic hegemony of a certain group. Rick’s questionable ferocity is also demonstrated when he angrily lets a Savior he stabbed be eaten by a walker. Fast forward to the end of the episode, we see Carl leaving some food at the place of the encounter with a ‘Sorry’ sign. The stranger is creepily observing Carl, so we’ll probably see that guy again – and I have a feeling he does not mean good news. Michonne telling Carl Alexandra’s safety is in his hands did not really add to my trust.

The episode has some very weird time jumps that were not doing anything emotionally for me. We see old Rick and Michonne does not look any older 😀 It shows wht he is fighting for and the episode really tried to stress it’s not all about Rick. I like, however, that he will follow Maggie as a leader after this is over. Unfortunately, I have a hunch that we might not come to see this, given how reliant on Rick the show is. Maggie crazily insists she join them despite being pregnant.

As the group arrives at the Sanctuary, Rick offers any of Negan’s officers to surrender and switch sides but predictably, no one takes that offer. Negan produces Gregory, who is rebuked by the group as the Hilltop stands behind Maggie, despite Gregory’s threats to ban rebels and their families. Simon pushes Gregory down the stairs as he’s no longer useful (I feel like they should have known that even earlier) and later during the retreat, Gabriel turns around and tries to save Gregory, who, like the wimpy asshole he is, steals Gabriel’s car and escapes without him, leaving Gabriel eventually to trapped in a trailer with Negan (who weirdly is not concerned about being stuck in a trailer surrounded by an army of walkers). The episode ends with Negan announcing Gabriel is gonna shit his pants.

After the refusal of the offer and Gregory’s rebuke, Rick and his group start shooting at the Sanctary building, breaking all windows. Before they leave, Rick takes a picture of the place, so I guess there is a plan behind that because they sure wasted a lot of ammo if not. Then the group heads to different Savior outposts (among which is the one that had previously cleared). One of the last scenes is Rick’s speech urging them to join the fight and announcing that they have already won.

Not a great premiere in my book as the confrontation was a little bit underwhelming, especially for it being the 100th episode, and the slow moments of the episode did not do anything for me emotionally. I am interested in the plan to take down the Saviors, as our group has never displayed such a degree of preparedness and planning.

Title image © by Gene Page/AMC, taken from AMC’s official website

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