To paraphrase Independence Day‘s President Thomas Whitmore and Dylan Thomas, the October 22-debuting eighth season and 100th episode of The Walking Dead makes it very clear that AMC’s zombie apocalypse blockbuster has no intention of going quietly into the collapse-of-civilization night.
Coming off the near-record-high ratings and much-hyped double-death brutality of the October 23, 2016 Season 7 opener, it was almost inevitable that TWD‘s previous season would come across as anti-climatic and take a ratings hit for what executive producer Gale Anne Hurd now sees as a transitional year.
Back this weekend for a pivotal Season 8, the series based on Robert Kirkman’s comics led by Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan and Norman Reedus starts off mournfully and methodically for its 100th episode, and not long after the events of Season 7 finale which included the sacrificing of Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green). No spoilers here, but the episode is a commendable benchmark for any show on broadcast and cable, and also shows TWD has found its groove again, as I say in my video review above.
Yes, there are still some of those Season 7 script issues and time shifts that hinder the story and the action. Yet in a case of truth in advertising, the ever-expanding show quickly and explosively charges into the “All Out War” promised and proclaimed by AMC, with the Jeffery Dean Morgan-portrayed Negan villain, his gang and allies. In a nice nod to TWD‘s history and depth, the Season 8 opener also pays homage to the series’ past and some of its fallen heroes.
Despite the valid criticism of last season, the behind-the-camera big-bucks lawsuits and the officially promised Fear The Walking Dead crossover that has led into the opener, the 100th episode, “Mercy,” penned by showrunner Scott M. Gimple and directed by Greg Nicotero, effectively rallies the troops on all levels, with Lincoln’s Rick Grimes rediscovering the steel in his spine.
So take a look at my Walking Dead Season 8 review above. Will you be watching on Sunday? What do you think the 100th episode should contain?
This review was originally published on October 19.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.