The Walking Dead hasn’t received a lot of love over the last few seasons. It seems that everyone has an opinion on where the show should head and what the characters should be doing. There is even a “quitter’s club” at some websites debating the merits of each episode. I never understand why a show cannot just be enjoyed. Sure, there are times that you will be upset over things that happen, but unless a show just turns to complete garbage every week, perhaps we should accept that shows are going to have some ups and downs in them. I felt that season seven was one of the better seasons of the show, and season eight promises to be even better. The show’s 100th episode titled Mercy kicked off with lots of action, and promises of a fast-paced season. Below is our recap of the season eight premiere… spoilers follow!
Mercy (S8, Episode 1)
Rick stands over Sasha’s grave as the rest of the community is prepping for battle. They are making weapons and equipping their vehicles with steel plates. Later, we see Rick talk to the group at the hilltop recalling the bigger world that Jesus promised him when they first met. He tells the group that this is their chance to make their own bigger world. Ezekiel chimes in to voice his support of Rick’s plan as Shiva roars in support from the back of a truck. Maggie assures the group that if they keep their faith in each other, the future will be theirs. Rick vows to the group that he will kill Neagan himself.
I have been wondering since last season if Dwight would keep his word to help Rick and the group. Well, in Mercy, it appears that he is so far. Dwight is outside when an arrow lands close to him with a message attached to it. The message contains a one word warning of “tomorrow”. Dwight sends a message by arrow back to Daryl. We find out later that Dwight has given Daryl a list of Negan’s lookouts positions. He makes his way down it, taking them out one by one with Morgan’s help.
Carl pulls up in an old van and pulls a gas can out. HE is searching for gas when he hears a voice at an abandoned gas station. He cannot locate the source of it. It is of a ‘traveler’ asking for help. Rick runs up shooting at towards him, but not at him, to scare him off. He’s worried it could be a spy for Negan. Carl later returns to the site and leaves a few cans of food with a note that says, “I’m sorry”.
Prior to Rick’s speech to the group, we see the group back at Alexandria as they are preparing to head out to meet the members of the Hilltop and the Kingdom. Father Gabriel and Rick discuss it being one person that started the revolution they are about to embark upon. Rick says it is not about him, which becomes a theme throughout the episode. Rick says goodbye to Lilith, Michonne, and Carl and hops in a truck at the lead of their caravan of reinforced vehicles. Rosita remains behind with Carl and Michonne.
Rick silently takes out a sentry in the wilderness. As the sentry lays dying, he tells Rick that his son will dies. Rick cuts a half-electrocuted walker that had been tied to a power pole loose to feast on him. He then signals the caravan waiting in the distance to come forward. The caravan arrives to meet Ezekiel, Maggie, and Jesus with their respective groups. As the camera moves through the group we see Jerry convince Enid to use armor over her sternum by saying “duuuudddddeeee”. As the group departs, Rick tells Maggie, “After this, I’m following you.”
While this has been going on, Tara and Carol have been timing something from an overpass and taking notes. It becomes apparent that they timing a horde of walkers as it passes underneath them while they sit atop the overpass. Daryl, and Morgan join them later as they watch the horde of walkers approach. They leave and as the horde approaches, one of the abandoned cars blows up, which causes Negan’s soldiers to leave to investigate. Morgan, Enid and Carol leave in a car while Daryl remains on his motorcycle. Daryl then leads the walkers, setting explosions along the way to ensure they follow.
Rick’s attack starts shortly after this with the silent takedown of two rooftop sentries. The caravan pulls in directly afterwards and everyone takes cover. They fire a few shots to get Negan’s attention and wait. A door opens and Negan appears with Eugene, Simon, and a few others. Negan tries to talk Rick out of exchanging fire by telling them that by moving forward, they are about to die.
Rick calls out each of his men by name, and tells them that they and all of the Saviors have a chance to survive if they surrender right now. Negan tells him that he doesn’t have the numbers for the fight. Then he says, “Simon”, and Simon retreated into the building and brings out Gregory, who voices his support for the Saviors. He says any Hilltop residents who take part in the attack will have their families thrown out of the Hilltop. Maggie looks at the Hilltop members and tells them to do what they need to do. Jesus yells out that the hilltop stands with Maggie.
While they talk, Negan’s crew that had left to check out the explosion that they set runs right through Carol’s trap, and triggers another explosion. Rick looks at Negan and says, “You’re gonna make me count?” He then proceeds to count backwards from ten, but starts firing at 7. Negan runs inside as Rick and the group proceed to shoot out all their windows. The RV has been rigged with explosives, and blows a huge hole in Negan’s building.
Negan stumbles out with Lucille in hand. Rick spots him and is determined to kill him, but Gabriel talks him into leaving by reminding him that its not about him. Rick leaves and Gabriel is about to follow him, but he spies Gregory begging for help. Gabriel gets out of his car to help him as the horde closes in. He tries to tell Gregory to be patient and they will escape, but he doesn’t listen and steals Gabriel’s car, leaving Gabriel alone.
The group has fallen back and is awaiting Gabriel. He is not coming so they decide they have to move to the next outpost. When they pin down a guard he throws a smoke grenade blocking their view.
The walkers are taking over Negan’s complex as Gabriel tries to find a place to hide. He ducks into a trailer, but Negan is holed up in the same place and greets him with “I hope you got your shittin’ pants on.”
In between the action of Mercy, we kept glimpses of Rick as old man. One of them had Weird Al’s classic “Another Rides the Bus” playing in the background as Rick daydreamed of himself as an old man. One of the times, he wakes to find Michonne and Carl in the kitchen. Then later, he we see him with an older Judith (6 to 8?), and talking about going out to the festival. Rick takes her by the hand and they walk out the front door.
It was a good start to the new season of The Walking Dead and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds. Tell us what you though of Mercy in the comments below!