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[Review] “The Walking Dead” S08E01: Mercy

Well, it came and went, that moment Walking Dead fans around the world have been waiting for; the season eight premiere.  This past week social media and television alike were inundated with gentle reminders that AMC’s crown jewel was making its way back.  The Walking Dead is entering its eighth season with mixed reviews as a lot of fans have not been happy with certain directions the show has taken; some have stopped watching altogether as viewership numbers saw a significant drop in season seven.  In the U.S., season seven came on strong with roughly 17 million viewers but ended with just over 11 million for its lowest season closing total since season two.Well, it came and went, that moment Walking Dead fans around the world have been waiting for; the season eight premiere.  This past week social media and television alike were inundated with gentle reminders that AMC’s crown jewel was making its way back.  The Walking Dead is entering its eighth season with mixed reviews as a lot of fans have not been happy with certain directions the show has taken; some have stopped watching altogether as viewership numbers saw a significant drop in season seven.

As a fan, I get why some people have abandoned the show whether it be repetitive storylines, the cop out with Glen surviving the dumpster attack or the loss of a favorite character.  As a whole, I would say I liked season seven but I do understand why others did not.  One thing for sure is that The Walking Dead has a solid fan base that will watch no matter what with one exception:  I think viewership gets cut in half if Daryl (Norman Reedus) gets killed off.

Let’s get back to the task at hand, my thoughts on Mercy, the season eight premiere.  I guess I’ll start with my honest opinion; it was OK.  Yes, you read that correctly, it was just OK.  It is pretty much what I expected it to be with the exception of the strange future scenes involving Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and a six-year-old Judith (Kinsley Isla Dillon).  I am not quite sure where they are going with this and although it may have worked for Breaking Bad (another AMC hit) I’m not sure how it will play for The Walking Dead.

As I stated before it was what I thought it would be.  Rick feeling confident arm in arm with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) the leaders of their societies taking the fight to Neegan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his cronies.  I did like the whole zombie herding effort that took place throughout Mercy as the gang had a plan that worked swimmingly with all hands on deck and an assist from Dwight (Austin Amelio).  As usual, the effects were second to none as the walker effects seem to get better with each season even if it’s just a disembodied head groaning for a meal.

To me, some of the lines were very forced and corny.  For instance as the camera was panning the army consisting of representatives from each community as they were arming up to face the saviors there was a gentleman that was showing a little apprehension and he was talking to a woman from the kingdom and this was what was said: woman “I got your back”, man “you just met me”, woman “we all just met each other”.  I get what the writers were trying to do and would have still gotten it without the cheapness of the scene.  It just seemed needlessly forced.

The other bit of dialogue that went overboard was just about everything Ezekiel said.  I’m not sure if it’s the dialect he uses but when he gets on his high horse it just seems very silly to me.  What comes to mind is the Jeopardy skits on SNL where Darrell Hammond plays Sean Connery but in that case, it works because it is meant to be funny.  If you’ve never seen it go to YouTube immediately and you’re welcome.

Lastly and this may get some of you upset and it actually began last season is that some of Negan’s lines are just not funny and maybe it’s because the shock value has worn off.  It has nothing to do with Morgan’s acting I think it just plays better inside the context of a comic as opposed to on screen.

All that being said I am looking forward to finding out where season eight takes us, I am looking forward to what the heck is up with the future Rick scenes, I am looking forward to my new favorite character Jerry’s (Cooper Andrews) direction and I am looking forward to Carol (Melissa McBride) being a dominant force again.  Mercy was written by Scott Gimple and directed by Greg Nicotero who as always does a fantastic job of putting us right in the middle of the action and making us feel we are right there with Rick, Maggie, Ezekiel and the gang.

The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 1 “Mercy” (2.5 / 5)  on the Thug Meter

JJ Fitt
Joe lives in the coal region of Northeastern PA with his beautiful wife Mary and their French Bulldogs Watson and Xander. He's a huge fan of all things horror and can't explain why especially since he was afraid of everything as a kid. He co-hosts the Indie Infestation podcast which gives a platform for those involved in the indie horror scene to get their name and projects out there. When he's not working he is usually watching the latest horror movie or show, at the gym with his wife or taking in a sporting event, Eagles! His all time favorite horror movie is the original Halloween, still effective to this day. Hit him up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or drop an email, let him know what's awesome.
JJ Fitt
Joe lives in the coal region of Northeastern PA with his beautiful wife Mary and their French Bulldogs Watson and Xander. He's a huge fan of all things horror and can't explain why especially since he was afraid of everything as a kid. He co-hosts the Indie Infestation podcast which gives a platform for those involved in the indie horror scene to get their name and projects out there. When he's not working he is usually watching the latest horror movie or show, at the gym with his wife or taking in a sporting event, Eagles! His all time favorite horror movie is the original Halloween, still effective to this day. Hit him up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or drop an email, let him know what's awesome.