The Walking Dead 801 “Mercy”

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 It’s finally here! The “All Out War” season 8 of The Walking Dead came in with a bang! When last we left the series, the communities had banded together in a rescue mission that, if failed, would have ended with Carl getting his arm severed from his body. However, Shiva, King Ezekiel, The Kingdom and Hilltop fought the Saviors and the Heapsters back and secured Alexandria for Rick and his group.

    

  Now we have the three communities working in tandem. In this episode each of the leaders, from their respective groups, give a battle-cry speech in which they outline causes for war against the Saviors. Having all the leaders together agreeing to fight is such a motivation for everyone. This time our groups have carefully planned the their calling card to the Saviors, and now Negan knows they mean business.

   Tara, Carol and Daryl have teamed up to lead a herd of walkers to take over the Sanctuary as Rick and the rest armorize their vehicles for an assault. Everything goes according to plan; as Daryl rides his bike he detonates explosives so that the walkers will follow him.

  Along the way, we see callbacks from previous episodes. Carol leans against the concrete overpass where there’s a large flower drawn. It, of course, brings up the “look at the flowers” episode where Carol had to kill Lizzie. This episode shows how Carol became the bad-ass that she is today, and how she is now trying to come to terms with that.

 

  Another excellent callback is how Carl mirrors Rick at the gas station during the pilot episode. He drops his hat in the same way that Rick did, and laid down to look underneath a vehicle. But what made the whole scene tie together was the walker that Carl sees– it’s the same little girl who played the “teddy bear” walker in the pilot episode. What a great circumnavigation!

 As the groups get ready for battle, Dwight and Daryl exchange messages using the crossbows. Dwight gives them the locations of the lookouts, which allows Rick  to take each one out, eliminating the situation the got into to when Maggie was sick and they tried to get her to the Hilltop. Rick is leaving no stone unturned this time.

 

 Since it is the season opener, the episode only gives us enough information so we salivate for more. The timeline is a little confusing; showing what appears to be a flash-forward to a happy society where the communities are waiting on a festival. Rick is considerably older and now carries a cane. Judith is about seven years old and everyone seems happy. Contrasting this is a close-up of red-eyed Rick Grimes. He definitely looks like he’s been bested again; he looks lost and shaken. There is a stain-glass picture hanging above his head and a reflection across his face. The question is, which timeline are we in now? Are the events from All Out War in the past, and we are viewing them as memories? Or is future Rick just a hallucination?

 

 This is only the beginning of what is going to be a great season. You can watch AMC’s The Walking Dead on Sunday nights at 9pm.

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