With only two weeks of Fear the Walking Dead left, and the premier of The Walking Dead season 8 All Out War— along with the series 100th episode– coming up, fans are getting really excited. All of last season we saw Negan threaten and demean each main character, not only from the Alexandria Safe Zone, but the groups from Hilltop and The Kingdom as well. Although season 7 had several action-packed episodes, it also gave us some character-centric episodes which offered viewers development for each character that helps us gain context into the motivations. Let’s take a look at some the subplots that were explored.
There were a few Daryl-centric episodes in season 7. Right away when Negan took Daryl after he lunged at him after Glenn’s death, we see him being physically and psychologically abused by The Saviors. We watched as he was fed dog-food sandwiches, left in solitary confinement, and was made to listen to the same song, Easy Street, over and over again. They even staged a chance for him to escape just to torture him.
These tactics were used to try to wear down his mental capacity so that he would conform to Negan. However, we were really able to see Daryl’s strength as he endured all of the physical and mental abuse. And when Jesus finally orchestrated his escape, he wasn’t fearful of his safety (even though it was a trap last time); he ran for his life, mercilessly killing Saviors on the way. This has definitely blown up in Negan’s face as Daryl is back with his people, and he is out for blood.
Carol has dealt with a personal crisis throughout season 7. She hasn’t been able to reconcile the need to survive by killing with her lingering humanity. She underwent a character shift in her mental status, trying to live secluded outside of The Kingdom with the hopes that she wouldn’t need anyone. Morgan is the only one from her original group who knows she is there. When Jesus brings Daryl to The Kingdom, she asks Morgan not to tell him that she is there, but eventually he finds her. As they reconnect and when he sees the fragile state she is in, Daryl decides not to tell her about Abraham’s and Glenn’s deaths. It’s not until Rick arrives at The Kingdom that she finally finds out the truth.
This is the point at which she understands that just because she doesn’t participate in the bloodshed, doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen. If Carol had been there, would the outcome have changed? This question (regardless of its answer) is one of the guiding forces for Carol now. She has determined that engaging in the fight is no longer a choice, but an absolution.
Morgan’s case is very similar to Carol’s. We’ve seen his strength in the very first episode where he saved Rick and helped him adapt to the new world. We’ve seen his mental breakdown in Clear after the death of his son, as well. We’ve also seen him attempt to receive inner peace through treating everyone (regardless of their moral uprightness) with dignity and with his mantra that, “all life is precious”. It seemed right that he should be the one to walk with Carol as she embarked on her search for inner peace; however he experienced something that tore down his walls. Benjamin’s death was a catalyst for all of the rage that Morgan has ever felt. He starts by killing Richard, since his actions were directly responsible for Benjamin’s death. He then seeks out Carol and tells her about the deaths of Abraham and Glenn. Morgan is back, and he wants retribution. The staff that he used so beautifully as a self-defense tool now has been cut into a spear for vengeance.
Tara’s character has gone through a vast transformation as well this past season. She has gone from feeling responsible for the governor’s actions and a fragile part of the group to being a strong asset to Rick and Alexandria. We see this in her own character-centric episode, focused on how she handled Oceanside. The women of Oceanside believed they couldn’t trust her and they were going to kill her, but she was able to get Cyndie to trust her and help her to escape. Although Tara swore that she would not disclose their location to Rick, she finally told him about the guns so they could declare all out war on Negan and the Saviors. Rick used Tara’s connection with Oceanside to not only acquire guns for the war, but also potential warriors against Negan. Just like everyone else, Tara has endured losses, and has become a well rounded character with emotions and complex motives. Because of the group acquiring guns at Oceanside, Tara just may possibly be the key to their success.
As season 8 kicks off, we are going to have less character-centric episodes and more action-packed episodes that further the entire plot of the show. We will most likely see all out war for at least the first part of the season, if not the whole thing. Rick and his group have been dealing with Negan and The Saviors for a while, and it’s time for them to end this.
The season 8 SDCC trailer showed the groups preparing for just this situation. Then just as the trailer was about to be over, it showed Rick lying in a bed with a gray beard and a cane propped up against the wall. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple has already confirmed that it is not Rick waking from his coma, which coincides with what Robert Kirkman has already said, which is that the comic/show will not end with Rick waking up from his coma. Since we know what it is not, let us now speculate what it could be.
It could just be that this is a hint to a comic-book spoiler. After all out war in the comics, Rick takes an injury to his leg and thus needs a cane. We can also see that all out war has aged him quite a bit and that a time jump (just like in the comics) has occurred. If this is the case, a new enemy will surface. The question now is whether or not war will take the whole season or only until the mid-season break. Will the time jump happen at the midseason finale, or the season finale? All we can do now is wait for Oct. 22, 2017 for the season 8 to premier. “Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
To watch the AMC The Walking Dead season 8 Comic-Con trailer, click here: