My Reaction – The Walking Dead “Mercy” (Season 8 – Episode 1)

The Walking Dead - Season 8, Episode 1
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Negan “I hope you’ve got your shittin’ pants on… Cause you, are about to shit your pants!”

So it’s that time of year again. The Walking Dead is back on our screens and this series is subtitled as “All Out War”. The end of Season 7 saw Rick and his merry men being visited by Negan and The Saviours. Just as it looked like Rick and Co. were cornered, the Hilltop and the Kingdom fighters showed up forcing Negan and The Saviours to retreat. We rejoin the gang in what would appear to be a short time after as Season 8 kicks off.

**Warning – Spoilers ahead**

Recap

Rick Grimes - Season 8 Episode 1Our episode starts with a montage of Rick, the Hilltop and the Kingdom, armouring up some vehicles an preparing for what we can only presume will be a fight of epic proportions.

After Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel give a motivational speech to our fighters, we head off to The Compound. Meanwhile, Daryl, Carol, Morgan and Tara are guiding a horde (a horde to rival the size of Season 6’s quarry!) along the road behind Daryl on his trademark bike. Along the way, our crew have set explosives along the road which Daryl sets off one by one to guide our walkers right into The Compound.

Daryl Dixon - Season 8 Episode 1As our fighters start raining gunfire on the saviours Negan isn’t able to get back inside and takes cover behind a metal shelter. Rick spots him and tries to kill him there and then but Gabriel notices his struggle and reminds Rick that this fight isn’t just about him and our fighters start to leave as the horde arrives.

Being the saint he is, Gabriel notices that Gregory is trapped and returns to help him, even though Gregory had sided with Negan. Gregory spots that Gabriel’s car is in reach and drives off leaving him to find shelter. Unfortunately, when Gabriel finds a safe place, it would appear he’s not alone as Negan is in the same trailer as him.

Negan - Season 8 Episode 1While the bulk of the episode was taken up by the storyline at The Compound, we also had a few other side stories. The most interesting one for me was the shot by shot recreation of Rick in Season 1, Episode 1, at the petrol station.

In this episode, however, we see Carl following a noise through a petrol station, much like Rick did in the beginning of the show. On this occasion though, just as Carl is about to speak to whoever is making the noises, Rick appears and fires some shots about their head to scare them off. Rick is obviously having trust issues, which is to be expected, however, Carl returns towards the end of the episode to leave some food for whoever was there, showing that Carl still has some of his compassion intact.

My Thoughts

While this may not have been as big, exciting or tense as previous opening episodes, such as “No Sanctuary” (Season 5) or “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” (Season 7), it was certainly able to hold it’s own. I loved seeing our 3 fighting communities coming together with strangers reassuring others that they’ve got their backs.

I feel it held a good balance of story and action, although I’m not sure if I was too keen on how many different timelines we were jumping between. The dreamy soft-edged old Rick scenes seemed to lack any depth and then we had random short clips of a sweaty Rick, before being cut away to one of the 2 main current timelines. Overall though, it was enough to draw me back in and I can’t wait to see how the ‘All Out War‘ storyline plays out and what other surprises Rick and the other leaders have in store for us.

I’d love to know what you guys thought in the comments below or come chat with me via @8dayssooner on Twitter.
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Mike x

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