After months of waiting, agonizing over what to expect and worry about who would possibly survive the impending war, The Walking Dead finally came back. During what is not only The Walking Dead's 100th episode, but also the start of a very impressive eighth season, war is about to be waged. Rick has a war to get underway against Negan, Negan is deviously plotting to take Rick down and the Sanctuary might just be turned against the rest of the survivors. The Season 8 premiere, "Mercy," turned out to be a harbinger of the epic war to come in the season that will mirror that "All Out War" storyline from the Walking Dead graphic novels; in all truth, we can't wait to see how this pans out.
But this episode in particular — "Mercy" — wasn't just an episode about war. It was a beautifully shot episode, chock-full of callbacks to so many memorable episodes. Interestingly, it seemed most of the callbacks made during the 100th episode were directly linked back to the first episode of various seasons. It will certainly be interesting to see if callbacks like this continue throughout Season 8, which callbacks corresponding to a particular episode number across various seasons.
Here are five of what I think were the biggest and most noticeable #WalkingDead callbacks from "Mercy."
Note: Major spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead Season 8 premiere, "Mercy."
1. Rick Wakes Up In A Hospital And The Old Man Rick Flash Forward
It wasn't the first scene of the very first episode, but Rick waking from his coma in Season 1, Episode 1 is where his nightmare and our favorite show really started. We had Rick looking at the flowers and a clock saying 2:17 back then. In "Mercy," we had flowers and a clock but now, the time is saying 8:22. Those times probably mean something really important, like Bible verses or perhaps it's clueing us into an epic episode ahead.
Either way, what a great way to start Season 8.
2. Carl And Rick Walking Through Abandoned Gas Stations
Again, in Season 1, Episode 1, we found Rick walking through a gas station, gas can in hand. He was surprised by a little girl, who he thought to be alive at first, but we all know how that ended. It was his first bullet-through-the-head walker kill.
In "Mercy," Carl is walking through a gas station, can in hand, and some random dude starts babbling at him about being hungry. This guy isn't a Walker, but Rick appears all the same and scares the stranger off, allowing him to live for the time being.
But wait, the scene can't end without a zombie appearing for Rick to kill, can it? And that it did, calling back to Summer, the teddy bear girl from the first gas station scene.
3. 'You're Gonna Make Me Count?'
Season 7, Episode 1: Man, it seems like eons ago, doesn't it? #Negan was king, Rick was grovelling, and Abe and Glenn were shuffled off of this mortal coil. But before Negan got Rick to beg and kneel and get his ugly cry on, right before it, he made Rick hold a machete and told him to cut Carl's arm off. A few moments, and a whole lot of snot bubbles later, Carl still had both arms and Rick had officially bowed to Negan.
In "Mercy," the tables were turned considerably when the time came for Rick to goad Negan out of his safe spot at the Saviors camp and into a battle. As Rick and the rest of the Hilltop survivors gathered behind their armored cars, Rick slyly reeled off Negan's counting line back to him, making sure to get him good and worked up.
4. Daryl Walks The Walkers
Probably one of the most memorable bad-ass #Daryl moments from Season 6 was from that season's first episode, when Rick & Co. freed the Walkers from that big pit. Daryl, in one scene, was seen going all Pied Piper on them and leading them down the road.
A short scene, but dude...what kind of crazy bad-ass does that? Daryl, that's who. It was good to see him back at his old tricks again in "Mercy," leading a massive horde of Walkers right to Negan's front door.
5. Walkers Surround The Tank
The final scene of the season premiere was a sly little callback to the first episode of Season 1 yet again, This time, it was the final scene which was being called back to through the final scene in "Mercy." Back then, Rick was trapped in a tank, Glenn had just called him a dumbass, and Walkers were swarming the war machine.
Now, seven seasons later, Negan and Gabriel are trapped inside a building of some sorts, with walkers surrounding it, and it's not Rick shitting his pants this time — it's Gabriel.
Did any other eagle-eyed Walking Dead fans spot any other callbacks to previous episodes? Let me know what I missed in the comments!