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The Walking Dead - S8E1 - Mercy

Previously on The Walking Dead, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”

Undeterred by the Junkyardigans’ betrayal and another near-victory for Negan, Rick and company decide to take the fight to the Saviors. “Mercy” unfolds in true The Walking Dead fashion with flash-forwards and flashbacks designed to make you question the plan and whether or not it will be successful. It doesn’t always work, but it sticks here; the tension builds steadily and the stakes actually feel high.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

It’s not clear how much time has passed since the season seven finale. Enough time for Judith to be an older toddler (though I’m sure we’re not supposed to notice or believe that actual years have passed), but pregnant Maggie’s stomach is still annoyingly flat. Enough time that they’ve managed to track the Savior’s lookout posts and other compounds, and monitor a traveling herd of walkers. Enough time that Carl is once again over his father’s shit. Enough time that Daryl and Dwight have devised a communication system that involves shooting arrows at each other with their crossbows. Enough time that Morgan is once again killing motherfuckers with no qualms or regrets. No word yet on whether or not Tobin and Carol have had the “Girl, where the hell you been?” talk.

Then there are the glimpses of the future featuring a completely gray-haired (and thinning haired) Rick who walks with a cane, Carl with more bass in his voice, Judith now walking and talking like she’s ready for kindergarten, and Michonne still looking like yesterday cause melanin is magic. These scenes are made even more confusing when they’re spliced with extreme close-ups of a red-eyed, sweaty Rick, and it doesn’t look like he’s doing well at all.

Back to present day, though, and Alexandria has now formerly aligned with Hilltop and The Kingdom. They’re about to launch a multi-pronged attack that relies on luring a herd of walkers with gunfire and explosives and depositing them on the Sanctuary’s doorstep. While Carol, Morgan, Daryl, Tara, and others handle that, Rick, Maggie, Jesus, Gabriel, Enid, and Ezekiel lead their crew to the Sanctuary to draw Negan out. Rick offers Negan’s five lieutenants (Simon, Gavin, Dwight, Regina, and Eugene) and anyone else who wants it, safe passage if they give up now. Negan, though? Oh, he gotta die. Dems the rules.

This is all for show, of course, because once they hear the explosions that signal the walkers arrival, Rick and crew lay down a shitton of gunfire meant to be the final beacon for the herd. As they prepare to leave, Rick has to be coaxed by Gabriel to stop firing on Negan and go. This isn’t about Rick. This isn’t about revenge. Except it kinda is. Still, Rick leaves, but Gabriel stays behind to help Gregory who has been discarded by the Saviors after they realize he no longer controls Hilltop. Since no good deed goes unpunished, Gregory thanks Gabe and then promptly steals his car and leaves Gabe to seek shelter from the incoming herd. He hides in a trailer and finds that he’s now sharing space with none other than Negan. Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The first part of the plan was a success if you don’t count losing Gabriel and Negan still breathing. But the there’s little time to celebrate as they now have to dismantle Negan’s many outposts, and Carol and Ezekiel are met with a grenade when they arrive at their first one.

Bites & Pieces

While setting up for their ambush, Carl runs into a man who’s more crazy and hungry than he is sketchy, but that doesn’t stop Rick from firing warning shots to scare the man off. Later, Carl returns to the spot where he saw the man and leaves food and an apology note as the stranger watches from the bushes. Awww. Carl’s bout to get a friend, y’all.

Michonne, Carl, and Rosita sat out the action to stay behind and guard Alexandria.

The look Negan gives Gavin when he requests some more time to ponder Rick’s offer was hilarious and it almost certainly will come back to bite him in the ass or head… with a barbed-wire covered baseball bat.

What did you think of the episode? Leave your brief thoughts below or on our Facebook post for this review, and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast. 

The Walking Dead S8E1 Review Score
  • 8.5/10
    Plot - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Dialogue - 8.5/10
  • 9/10
    Performances - 9/10


Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Norman Reedus, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Khary Payton

User Review
5 (2 votes)
About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

9 Comments on The Walking Dead - S8E1 - Mercy

  1. I literally don’t understand what happened in this episode. Seems like an art house film gone really wrong.

    It’s official-I’m only in this now for your podcast wrap up. Maybe it can save the show for me cause I’m over the monologues, ridiculous plans where ALL the generals show up to the battlefield, and on and on and on.

  2. For the Podcast

    I didn’t hate it. Just not sure if I liked it either. But I didn’t hate it. I think I was just so disappointed with last season that my bar is pretty low with them.

    Love how conveniently Carl, Michonne & Rosita are left behind in Alexandria so Chandler Riggs can go to college, Danai Gurira can be her fabulous self in Black Panther and Christian Serrano can spend time with her new baby. We will probably see them sparingly this first half of the season.

    Why not kill Negan when he was right there!? Why waste so many bullets?

    That’s all I have to say. That & I love me some Kang Ezekiel & all his fine ass extraness!

    Can’t wait to hear the podcast cause y’all will make everything better!

    Btw, I know you probably didn’t watch Talking Dead but Hardwick asked Danai Gurira why she still looked so good & Rick was old af. And she answered honestly. Cause black don’t crack!

  3. For the podcast:
    I didn’t miss WD but I’m glad it’s back.
    I thought it was a good episode; we’re finally getting some action!
    I enjoyed rick & co battle strategy & how they’re started taking it to the saviors.
    the “who’s got the bigger balls” showdown b/t Negan & rick was also good! We’re not seeing crazed rick but perhaps he’s more merciless & brutal….he counted to 7 b4 shooting; Me, it’s 10 then Bam! That’s why I probably wouldn’t survive the apocalypse 😄 Btw where was apocalyptic trekkieJanis & her junkyard crew?
    As 4 Gregory, I would’ve shot him on sight…such a f%# coward & douchebag 2 boot… leaving father Gabriel who stayed behind to save his worthless ass! I don’t know where he’ll go…..the hilltop is now Maggie & he would not welcome.
    Dream sequence-alternate reality or the future. Rick looks like modern day Abe Lincoln w/that cane & what’s the significance of the owl?
    Carl is becoming such the man but that hair-I can’t……he needs 2 do something cause I’m having Farrah fawcett 70s hairstyle flashbacks. Did any1 watch TD last night; I think he’s trying 2 grow a beard & Ms. Danai looked stunning!
    That’s it 4 this week; hope it’s not too long🙂

  4. For The Podcast:

    Hey everybody, and Fuck New Zach to you all!

    This episode was kinda meh when you think about it. I completely lost my shit when everyone was just burning ammo for no real reason. That and the white ex-cop literally shooting off any diversity on set, because Trump’s Muslim Ban apparently still exists in the post apocalypse. Can we not get rid of the brown folks, especially when Bangs is still getting those pay checks?

    Did yall see? Eric got a whole line! He’s so fucking dead. Long live JARON. And if Nina and John are still saying Jesus is sketchy, may I remind yall that Trump’s Saviours ain’t ever gonna let no Gay Jesus in their midst. Yall be tripping if you think they’d ever be that tolerant.

    Finally, Gregory had the strength of 10 white women in this episode, because he really thought he was the manager, only for Apple Care to rescind that shit. Daryl did the shittiest impersonation of Drogon’s fields of fire, and we got enough pep talks to make me think we were watching The Flash.

    Cheers yall. Hail to Kang Zeke! I can’t wait for the next Eugene Bethisode 😒😒😒

  5. For the podcast: for the 100th episode, this wasn’t great, just ok. I was a little disappointed and underwhelmed but there were some great moments sprinkled throughout. Like Negan letting Rick know they both know his dick is bigger but he’s also comfortable enough to accept the fact if it wasn’t. Negan’s “who asked you” look to Gavin after he requested a break. Simon pushing Gregory down the stairs and of course the richonne. Dream Rick looking like Michonne’s sugar daddy was a highlight for me. My favorite moment however, was Rick being extra levels of petty and taking pictures of Negan crowering on the ground. He ain’t shit but I love him. What do you guys think Rick meant when he told maggie “after this, I’m following you”? I like Maggie being the leader of the hilltop but that’s it. That’s all for me, can’t wait to hear the podcast.

  6. For the podcast: Okay I know I may be the 33rd person to ask this… but why didn’t they just shoot Negan and his lieutenants? I’ll say it before and I’ll says again… THIS DUDE JUST GOT A BAT. I need heavy splainin’ here. And I thought shooting windows only worked with vampires, 30 year old men in their parent’s basement and Metal Gear bosses. More splainin’ please! And I guess the trashies were only bought for one fight? Maybe Negan had a bogo coupon? Is it harder to tie together a story than it is to throw special effects at a screen? I guess this is to be expected of writers who thought it a good idea to name a character Tara, but just backwards. The big bucks indeed. I could go on, but all in all… it was entertaining.
    Alex the Taxman
    PS- laughs aren’t deductible John… but I’ll think of y’all fondly as I process your returns and mail out the bills… because, well the white men are watchin O_O

  7. Hi Nina, Donald and John!
    I might be the only one, but I enjoyed this episode.
    I was perplexed that Maggie’s stomach is still flatter than a pancake, but let’s be real, this is the walking dead. Judith ages slower than shit and changes skin tone and hair color like its her job. Maggie will just suddenly be 8 months pregnant as soon as its convienent.
    The Rick dream stuff bugged me. I can’t really pinpoint why.
    Gabriel is so dumb. But I kind of get why he tried to help whimpass Gregory.
    I think the trash pan kids will be back. And was that a preview of our crew at
    That’s all I’ve got. Sorry if its too long. I’m bad at feedback.

  8. For the podcast: hey Nina, Donald & John….listen I’m sorry you have to watch this…🤦🏾‍♀️ this was like a bad student film that wouldn’t end. It was like a TV version of MOTHER. Ok, had some good moments but I was sooooo bored. The long intense and slightly out of focus shows on a damn cane handle and flowers. 😒Boring speeches that made me watch to become a savior. 😒And I literally wanted to hit Carl in the head so he’d stop wearing that damn hat.😒😡 Here on out I’ll listen to the podcast first and if it sounds good I’ll go watch the episode….or if I hear about some OMG moments….maybe🤔.

  9. Hey Nina, Donald, John

    this episode was…. okay. But I did notice 1 major development. The Kingdom’s influence is spreading! No way Daryl and Burn Victim Daryl decided to communicate via scroll without the influence of The Kingdom. Scrolls, BMX Knights it’s like an afternoon at Medieval times but without giant turkey legs. Y’all think they gonna do a King Arthur story line next?

    oh, and I am excited for cult leader Rick in season 14.

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