Rick and the communities have finally banded together and are ready for all-out war in The Walking Dead season 8 premiere, which is also the 100th episode. They have their first attack planned down to the second. So can they finally take Negan and the Saviors down?

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Preparing for War

The Walking Dead season 8 premiere, titled “Mercy,” begins with Rick and the others all preparing for war. Rick gives a very inspiring speech as he stands with King Ezekiel and Maggie. They found a bigger world and have come together for it. It’s theirs by right — and they’ll do what it takes to get it. Only one person has to die, though, and Rick will kill him himself. Ezekiel adds that Rick’s his brother and Maggie’s his sister. And Maggie adds that they’ll live in uncertainty for a while, but the future and their world is theirs if they have faith in each other.

The show then flashes back to the gang’s preparations for the upcoming fight. Carol, Tara, Morgan and Daryl are all planning something. Plus, it looks like the gang has a new ally! Dwight and Daryl have been passing notes via bow and arrow, which is just fitting for them. The community members have also been busy taking out the Saviors at the lookout spots they found out about.

Carl, meanwhile, goes to a gas station to get more gas when he hears a voice. He pulls his gun as the guy talks about how he was shot and needs help. He says it’s important to help travelers and to have mercy. The guy hasn’t eaten in days. Carl finds the guy, who says he just wanted some food. It looks like Carl might help, but Rick shows up and shoots over the guy’s head to get him to leave. Rick tells Carl that the guy could have been a Savior spy, but Carl’s not buying it. They won’t have enough hope if they act like this.

Finally, Gabriel tells Rick that everything’s ready. Rick is still in shock that one guy, Negan, started this. Gabriel tells Rick that he — one guy — became a leader and started the resistance. But Rick says it’s not about him, and Gabriel agrees because Rick made it that way. Rick says goodbye to Judith, Michonne and Carl and says, “This is the end,” as he heads out with a bunch of armored cars. Michonne, Carl and Rosita are pretty bummed to be left behind, but Michonne reminds Carl that he gets to be in charge of Alexandria.

Rick attacks another lookout guy, but he doesn’t die right away. While Rick rummages through his stuff, the guy says he saw Rick beg before. He swears Rick will beg again and that his boy will die. Rick sets a Walker loose, and the Walker kills him. Then Rick ushers the cars over.

Finally, everyone from the different communities gathers. Maggie promises Rick that she’ll be a part of the beginning of the war before her pregnancy stops her. Ezekiel offers to let her stay in the Kingdom and use their doctor, but Jesus says they’ll get theirs back. Rick tells Maggie that the Hilltop’s lucky to have her and he’ll be following her after all this. Then they go to give their speeches and get ready for war.

The Ultimatum

Tara, Carol, Morgan and Daryl have been waiting and timing something on a bridge. But whatever they’re waiting for doesn’t happen. Finally, a herd of Walkers shows up. They were just a little late. They leave just before an explosion goes off. That’s when Dwight sends some Saviors out to check it out.

Rick and the others, meanwhile, show up at the Sanctuary ready to fight, with Maggie leading the charge. They all shoot into the air to let Negan know they’re there.

Negan, Simon, Dwight, Eugene and some others come out. And Negan’s not impressed. He says he’s not going to just let his people walk out and die like Rick’s about to. He asks what Rick wants, so Rick gives him an ultimatum. He says they all have a chance to survive if they surrender right now. Again, Negan’s not impressed. Rick doesn’t have the numbers for this fight.

The Hilltoppers Make a Choice

Just then, Gregory comes out and announces that the Hilltop stands with Negan and the Saviors, and any member of the Hilltop that goes against them won’t be welcome in the Colony, their families will be thrown out and they should go home now.

Maggie tells the other Hilltoppers that they’ll do what they need to do. Jesus sides with her. And nobody leaves. “The Hilltop stands with Maggie,” Jesus yells. Yas queen. Simon gets pissed and shoves Gregory down some stairs. Maggie’s really grown into a strong leader, and I’m so excited to see what happens now that she’s the official leader of the Hilltop.

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All-Out War

Tara and the others make it to another bridge near a booby trap they set up. A Walker almost sets it off, but luckily Morgan gets to it in time. Then the Saviors’ cars show up and set off the booby trap. Carol, Tara and Morgan all go their separate ways as the herd of Walkers approaches. Only Daryl stays behind. He drives his motorcycle and starts setting off explosions as the Walkers follow him.

Rick, Negan and the others see Daryl and the others’ explosion, and Rick informs Negan that the explosion is the lieutenants he’d sent out. He counts down from 10 for Negan to surrender, but he only gets to seven before he starts shooting. And it’s on. They shoot out all the windows in the Sanctuary. They even blow up an RV so they can get into the Sanctuary. Rick gets kind of lost in it, until Gabriel reminds him they have to go and this isn’t about him. Rick takes a final moment to snap a picture of the destruction just as the Walkers that Daryl had led show up.

The only problem? Gabriel has to try to save Gregory right when the herd of Walkers approaches. But Gregory steals Gabriel’s car and drives off, leaving Gabriel to die.

While he waits, Carl goes back to that gas station and leaves some food and a note saying, “Sorry.” The guy watches from the bushes. Is he a friend, a Savior spy or someone else? And will we even see him again?

Phase 2

After the fight, the others all meet up at their next locations and get ready for their next set of attacks. Ezekiel and his people meet up with Carol, and Daryl meets up with Rick to wait for Gabriel. Gabriel doesn’t show, so they have to leave. Daryl asks if Rick is okay, but Rick says it isn’t about him.

Soon, Morgan and Tara start planning an attack on a Savior’s outpost, Daryl and Rick attack another, and Carol, Ezekiel and their others attack another. But one of the Saviors sets off an explosion at the outpost that Carol and Ezekiel are attacking and a bunch of Walkers.

What Will Happen to Gabriel?

Gabriel, meanwhile, is still trapped and surrounded by Walkers at the Sanctuary. He manages to get inside a shed. But guess who’s there? It’s Negan, of course. “I hope you’ve got your shitting pants on because you are about to shit your pants,” Negan grins.

Old Man Rick

Fans have been speculating about old man Rick ever since they saw him in the trailer. And we finally see him in the Walking Dead season 8 premiere. Throughout the episode, Rick dreams about himself as an old man in a peaceful world with Michonne, Judith and Carl. They’re all getting ready for a big festival, and there’s a big owl outside, according to Judith.

We also seem to see another version of Rick. There’s a very teary, distraught Rick standing by some stained glass throughout the premiere. At the end of the premiere, the emotional Rick whispers “Mercy prevails over my wrath” to himself. The guy at the gas station had said that quote. It’s from the Quran, and the guy got nervous because he said something Islamic.

In the end, Rick clears his head and goes to deliver the speech he gave at the beginning of the premiere.

Well, the gang did pretty well during their first fight, and we’ve seen how both Rick and Maggie have grown as leaders, but the future is uncertain.

What do you think will happen to Gabriel now that he’s stuck with Negan? Are Carol and Ezekiel okay? Where will Gregory go now? And will Rick and the others win the war? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of AMC)

Robin Lempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV