Tuesday , 28 March 2023

It’s All-out War on Walking Dead!

“Those who use and take and kill, we end them.”

We are less than three months away from the premiere of season 8 of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and a new trailer released at San Diego Comic Con reveals that we’ll be in the midst of an all-out war between Rick Grimes and company, the Hilltop and the Kingdom vs. Negan and his not-very-merry band of Saviors (and perhaps, those double-crossing garbage people). Last season ended with Sasha taking one for the team and, with the aid of Eugene, zombiefying herself and giving Alexandria a chance against Negan as all hell broke out. With the Hilltop and the Kingdom joining the fray (Carl owes Shiva the tiger a steak dinner for sure), a clear message has been sent to Negan that his reign of terror and fear will not continue without a fight. Here’s a look at what we can expect come October 22nd and beyond:

For starters, things don’t look too well for Father Gabriel. Would Negan be willing to take out a man of the cloth? He certainly doesn’t appear to be a religious fellow, so yes, he probably would. With a cast that’s larger than ever, we can expect to lose some regulars and/or semi-regulars in the first half of season 8. And if last season’s premiere was any indication, where we said goodbye to two series regulars, it could happen as soon as the first episode back. Lucille is no doubt thirsty after a long drought, so it can be expected that Negan will be taking a swing or two before very long.

“I’ve been fighting since the farm….can’t stop now.”

After the unsettling scene between Negan and Father Gabriel, we get a slew of images, similar to the exclusive preview scenes shown at the end of Talking Dead, which don’t give away much, but, taken out of context, offer tantalizingly cryptic looks at what lies ahead. There are team-ups, like Michonne and Rosita driving together; someone peeking around a corridor; an eyeball peering through a hole in the wall; someone attempting to cut themselves loose; Dwight getting a mysterious note; and a stuck zombie in the woods reaching for a bag, to name a few. After Rick gives a rousing speech that this “bigger world is ours by right,” the trailer changes tone and takes off to show glimpses of zombie hordes, explosions, gunfights, stunts and all the types of incredible action sequences the show is known for, and carries out like no other, except for HBO’s Game of Thrones. It’s interesting to note that the two greatest, most talked about and highly-rated shows on television, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, are at similar junctures in their plotlines, that of separate groups coming together to fight a common enemy. Whereas GoT is bringing its fantasy world to a conclusion, TWD still has a long ways to go (but more on that later). After being forced to kowtow to Negan to protect his family, it’s good to see Rick fully in charge once again and ready to take the fight to the enemy. And Maggie, as she has been showing over the past season, has become a strong and admirable leader in her own right. With her leading the Hilltop, and Ezekiel commanding the Kingdom, Rick has some amassed some key allies to form a formidable front to take on the Saviors. That includes Carol the peaceful, cookie-baking homemaker back to her bad-ass, ass-kicking self. And please let Jadis and her double-dealing garbage people get tossed to the trash heap before too long – they are nothing but dirty, stinkin’ trouble.

“Thank you….for being such a cool dude.”

No matter what goes down, and who gets killed this upcoming season, let’s hope that Jerry is not one of them. He was instantly likable the moment we saw him, and this little exchange above, before what looks like a deadly skirmish for him and King Ezekiel, just reiterates why we love him. Same goes for Shiva the tiger, who appears to be in a pretty dire situation himself, surrounded by walkers. Here are some other things to look out for this coming season, based on the trailer and what went down the previous season. What is up between Morgan and Jesus going at it? At first, one might think they are just in training together, but seeing them battling each other again in the woods, it appears there might be a mild disagreement between them to say the least. C’mon guys, we need you to be on the same team if we’re going to win this war. One big wild card among all the players has got to be Dwight. After being humiliated and scarred by Negan, and losing his wife in the process, Dwight is not a huge fan of the man. While he hasn’t entirely forsaking his leader, perhaps waiting for just the right moment, all the signs are there, from the note he left behind at Alexandria for Daryl, to the ‘tomorrow’ note we see in the trailer. Rick having a man on the inside of the Saviors’ compound could be what makes the difference in this war. As for Eugene, where the hell is he anyway, as he’s the only one offhand we don’t see in the trailer. Negan if anything is a smart, astute, observant man, and after what happened with Sasha, he is apparently suspicious of Eugene now, which doesn’t bode well for Eugene.

On top of everything revealed or hinted at in the trailer, the biggest surprise is left for the end – an older, gray-bearded Rick waking up in a bed, flowers and cane at his side. It harkens back to the very first episode where Rick awakened from his coma in the hospital to an apocalyptic world overrun by the living dead. Could this entire nightmare have been a dream, ala Dallas, or St. Elsewhere? Most definitely, no. Robert Kirkman and the producers have pretty much said that would never be the case. We have seen flashbacks so perhaps this is a flash forward, like in Lost, or simply a way to show that when all is said and done, Rick survives all this one way or another. Despite the incredibly large cast of characters, bigger than ever now, this has always been Rick’s story from Day One. It begins and ends with Rick Grimes, so maybe giving us what could be a potential look at the end is meant to remind us of that. As for that end, at the recent SDCC, Kirkman stated that he does have an end in mind, for the comics, that is, and that it may be coming sooner rather than later. That doesn’t mean the television version has to fall in line with that. While it could end up at the same place, they could fill up the in between time with more stories and characters if the show continues to be such a huge success, and of course, if Andrew Lincoln remains committed to the series as well. That looks to be a ways off at least, but in the meantime, The Walking Dead returns on October 22nd on AMC. And don’t forget the second half of this season’s Fear the Walking Dead beginning on Sept. 10th.

“No matter what comes next, we’ve won!”