The seventh season of The Walking Dead saw the evil Negan muscle in on Rick's territory and put his mark on the post-apocalyptic world. While Jeffrey Dean Morgan's performance as the villainous character was praised, the season itself proved rather controversial for several reasons, including its unusual narrative structure, not to mention the brutal murder of Glenn and Abraham. But despite it's drawbacks, Season 7 culminated with a shocking finale that saw Rick and the other Alexandrians fight back against the murderous tyrant and his group, the Saviors.
After several months of waiting, #TheWalkingDead returned to screens on Sunday night and it was well worth the wait. The season premiere (which also happened to be the show's 100th episode) delivered on all accounts and made for one of the most enjoyable episodes of the #AMC series thus far. Before we get excited for what's to come next week, let's take a look back at the 5 biggest moments from the Season 8 premiere, "Mercy."
1. A Plan Is Set In Motion
The premiere began with a montage, as Rick delivered a powerful monologue to his followers, telling them how this is their world and they need to take it back from the heinous Negan. While we heard the leader speak, viewers were treated to several different scenes, interspersed between the primary action, which mostly focused on Daryl and Rick taking out all of the lookout points used by the Saviors. This move suggested they needed to gain entry to Negan's compound. It became clear pretty early on in the episode that Rick and his team had a solid plan and it set the premiere off to an exciting start!
2. Rick And His Team Arrive At The Sanctuary
It was made clear to viewers pretty early on in the episode that, following the Season 7 finale, the Alexandrians have now teamed up with the residents of the Hilltop and the residents of the Kingdom, as they all share one common goal: to dispose of Negan and the Saviors. Under the leadership of Rick, Maggie, Ezekiel and Jesus, the team decided that now was the perfect time to attack.
Another montage sequence revealed that a lot of planning has gone into their attack and, before long, the team arrived outside Negan's sanctuary in well-armored trucks. With the help of Dwight, they disposed of the guards. Rick waited and after he gave the signal all of his fellow teammates shot their guns. After a moment, the villainous Negan exited the compound.
3. The First Skirmish
Despite being cornered by his enemy, Negan didn't look too troubled. Why? Because, like he always does, he had a plan. Negan opened the door once again and this time Gregory, leader of the Hiltop colony, exited the building. Maggie and Jesus looked at Gregory, a look of disgust forming on the faces. Gregory called out all of the Hilltop residents that were standing beside Rick, telling them that if they oppose Negan, then they will lose their homes.
However, thanks to a little persuasion from Jesus, the Hilltop residents stayed put. Eventually, Rick grew tired of waiting and starting shooting. There was a confidence in Rick's demeanour that he was lacking last season. Negan and his Saviors took shelter back in the compound as Jesus, Maggie and everyone else starting firing at the building. If that wasn't enough, the Alexandrians sent an RV rigged with explosives into the Saviors compound which exploded, sending pieces of shrapnel (and a lot of walker guts) flying everywhere. An injured Negan exited the building and Rick shot repeatedly at him, but he was unable to get a clear shot. Accepting that this wasn't about his vendetta with the tyrant, Rick left before the herd of walkers arrived at the scene.
4. Gabriel Is Trapped With Negan
As the war waged on and the herd of walkers entered the Saviors's compound, Gabriel got in his vehicle and headed for the exit. However, he discovered that Gregory was in danger and, being the good Samaritan that he is, he decided to go and rescue him. As the two hid behind a wall and waited for the gunfire to subside, the villainous Gregory decided to make a run for it and steal Gabriel's car.
Poor Gabriel was left stranded as the herd of walkers came closer and closer, so the preacher headed for the closest door he could find, entering a dark shed. However, he was dismayed to discover that Negan was hiding in this shed too. The tyrant laughed and told Gabriel that he's better have his "shitting pants" on. Oh dear, our beloved Father Gabriel is in for some tough times in the future!
5. Old Man Rick
Throughout the episode, viewers were treated to several scenes of a much older looking Rick. After waking from his slumber, this aged Rick made his way to dining room of his Alexandrian home with the help of a walking stick. When he arrived, he found Michonne and Carl sitting at the table, both looking extremely happy.
If that wasn't enough to warm your heart a much older Judith entered the room. As of right now, we're unsure if this was just one of Rick's fantasies or if it was a snapshot of the future. I don't know about you, but I'd love to see Rick get his happy ending.
We're definitely ready for war after that awesome season premiere of The Walking Dead. With the residents of Alexandria, the Kingdom and the Hilltop all united with one goal, Negan and his Saviors had better up their game if they want to defeat Rick because, right now, our fearless leader has the upper hand. But for how long will it remain that way? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
What was your favourite moment from The Walking Dead Season 8 premiere? Tell us in the comment section below.