THE WALKING DEAD RECAP S8EP1 MERCY

Paul Mendoza

“If we start tomorrow right now, everything we’ve beaten, everything we’ve endured, everything we’ve risen above, everything we’ve become …if we start tomorrow right now, no matter what comes next, we’ve won …we’ve already won!” Rick Grimes

The Walking Dead returned with their 100th episode and the beginning of All Out War between the Grimes Gang and The Saviors. It was a good season opener and it looks like the season is going to be action packed. You can see what the backbone of the season is going to be already. Everyone wants vengeance but how far do you take that? What will winning this war mean? What will it cost not just in lives but in what humanity is left? I think they are setting up the idea that Negan may not die when the dust clears and The Saviors are defeated. Could he survive to become one of the good guys?

There were rousing speeches by Rick, Maggie and King Ezekiel who laid a little Henry V on the crowd. Rick and Maggie talking as if by defeating Negan it will be smooth sailing going forward. Rick pledging to Maggie that once this war is over he will be stepping down as the leader and following her instead. I’m afraid they will be in for a rude awakening. Unless the show is ending this year, I’m assuming there will be something worse than Negan coming along. But, for now, we fight this war. And the war is just getting started.

The episode played out very methodically, plans being made but you really didn’t know what the plan was. Daryl and Dwight exchanging messages via arrow. Daryl, Carol, Morgan and Tara on a mission to draw a horde of walkers to The Sanctuary. Savior guard posts being taken out. Cars and the RV being fortified with metal shields, very Mad Max like.

Eventually Rick, Maggie, Jesus and Ezekiel drive their fortified vehicles up to the Sanctuary gates where they are greeted by Negan and his executive team which includes Dwight and Eugene. Rick tells them they have one chance to surrender and this was it. Negan trots out Gregory to say that The Hilltop stands with Negan. But that ploy didn’t work because no one at The Hilltop recognize Gregory as the leader anymore.

“The Hilltop stands with Maggie!” Jesus shouts.

And just like that, Simon pushes Gregory down the stairs. Gregory is so pathetic! Rick starts counting back from 10 but only gets to 7 before he opens fire. They shoot up the joint! Meanwhile, Daryl has been riding his motorcycle and settle off explosions along the way to draw the walker horde to The Sanctuary. Soon enough, they arrive as Rick thinks he has Negan cornered and wants to take him out. But Father Gabriel reminds him that ‘this isn’t about you’ and it was time they had to go. Only Father Gabriel sees Gregory and because he’s a priest and a good guy he decides to get out of his car and go help him. Bad move. Gregory takes off for the car and drives away leaving Father Gabriel behind. Stupid! Sure enough father Gabriel finds refuge and wouldn’t you know it, Negan is there in that room with him.

“I hope you got your shittin’ pants on. Cause you, are about to shit your pants.” Negan tells him.

My friends were upset at Father Gabriel and worried that Negan will use him to get Rick to trade with him or compromise but we’re past that (I hope) There is no more bargaining. Its winner takes all. Which leads me back to what will be the focal point of the season. How far do you take vengeance? Is there still mercy in these characters?

The episode plays with time as well. We see a future that is peaceful and happy where Rick is older, gray and walking with a cane. Judith is older and talking. Is this a dream or is this an actual time jump we’re seeing? We also see a third separate time frame. We see a weary, bloodshot eyed Rick who seems to be in emotional distress. When is this? In the closing scene of the episode Rick says something that will be his characters dilemma this season.

“My mercy prevails over my wrath.” Rick Grimes

What does this mean? Who is he talking to or about? There is a lot to ponder here and I hope the season rises to the level of what is being promised or at least to the ambition of this first episode. I enjoyed it and I’m ready to see some risks taken this season and expect a lot of action and death. Be prepared.

SIDE BITES

I really like Tara’s look and attitude so far. She’s chewing on a Twizzler and wearing funny looking shades and she has an attitude of cold anxiousness to kick ass. She reminded me of C. Thomas Howell in the original Red Dawn. She seems to be someone who has crossed over into a hardened soldier who is seeking revenge. Will this bring her to a bad end?

I like the call back to episode 1 with Carl walking down the road, carrying a gas can and looking into cars just as Rick did way back when. We even see Rick notices a young girl walker just as he encountered in episode 1. Nice.

Morgan is not on the fence anymore! He is in battle mode and he’s pretty damn handy with that staff.

Scott Gimple says there going to explore Negan more this season so I hope we get that Negan back story episode I thought we’d get last year.

We’re of and running! Welcome back Walking Dead!