Synopsis of 8×01: We’re back with the 100th episode of The Walking Dead as a rejuvenated Rick bands together with the Hilltop and the Kingdom to take down Negan once and for all. What timeline are we in again?

In the eighth season of The Walking Dead, we’ve gained three Ricks! Maybe…? An energized and vengeful Rick is preparing and pep-talking alongside King Ezekiel and Maggie as they prepare to take down Negan. His words are charged (“That bigger world is ours by right!”) and he’s determined to kill Negan himself in what should be the present.

There’s also a broken, red-eyed, kneeling Rick, as he promised he never would again. Throughout the episode, we cut to him on the ground as a stained glass window shines over his face, but it’s unclear where in the timeline he fits in. More on him later.

And finally, there’s Old Man Rick, complete with big, gray beard, cane, kids, Michonne, and Weird Al Yankovic. He wakes up in a bed much like the first season when he awakens from his coma, there’s even a shot of flowers to complete the nod. Michonne looks much the same, though Judith has grown considerably.

In the Negan-centric timeline, Dwight provides Daryl with information on the Saviors’ outposts while Maggie is having the Hilltop cover cars with metal siding in preparation. Carol and Tara track a herd of walkers from an overpass and there’s an homage of Carl walking through a gas station just as Rick did when he first awoke in the pilot.

Unlike Rick’s confrontation of the little girl in bunny slippers, Carl finds a rambling, tired, hungry man, who tells him, “May my mercy prevail over my wrath.” He’s looking for help or food or something, but before Carl can confront him, Rick runs in and chases him off. Carl is upset even though Rick insists he could have been a spy and that he shot over the man’s head.

Systematically in the way only Rick Grimes Plans go, one, two, three of the Saviors’ lookouts are killed and the caravan of cars moves out. Gabriel of all people reminds Rick that the fight is not about him and his personal grudges, while Michonne, Rosita, and Carl all stay behind in Alexandria. Michonne tells Carl that Alexandria is his while Rick is gone. Foreshadowing much?

Maybe not so much when Rick kills another of the Saviors’ lookouts, who tells him that Carl is going to die before he’s eaten by a walker. When the group gets to a clearing, there’s an interesting shot of all three groups mingling and preparing. Rick also takes the time to tell Maggie that, once the dust settles, he’ll happily follow her lead.

Carol and Tara, joined by Morgan and Daryl, wait for the herd of walkers to catch up to their position and then begin steering them with a series of planned explosions. After the first one, a group of Saviors head out to check on it (they will eventually fall into a trap and their cars will explode too).

Nearly immediately after, Rick’s group pulls up with their cars and shoot into the air simultaneously to get Negan’s attention. Without a worry in the world, Negan comes out to address Rick and his group. Rick offers Dwight, Simon, Gavin, Regina, and Eugene, Negan’s lieutenants the opportunity to surrender, but none do.

He also parades out Gregory, who claims that the Hilltop stands with Negan and anyone who participates won’t be welcomed back. Jesus informs him that the Hilltop stands with Maggie and no one leaves. Disappointed with his uselessness, Simon pushes Gregory down the stairs and soon after Rick starts firing.

It’s chaos as Rick’s group unloads on the Saviors, including running an RV through their gates and wrecking them with another explosion. A limping Negan takes cover behind some debris as Rick shoots him with single-minded purpose. Gabriel pulls Rick away, even as he takes a polaroid souvenir of the scene, before he can confirm that Negan is dead.

They have to clear out of the area because Daryl is leading the herd right to the Saviors’ front door. Before he can leave in his own car, Gabriel sees a struggling Gregory and feels obligated to go back for him. His thanks is repaid when Gregory steals his car and leaves him there. Stuck and surrounded, Gabriel has no choice but to seek shelter in the Saviors’ complex. Unfortunately for him, he ends up in a trailer with Negan himself, who informs him that he’s about to shit his pants.

Later, Carl leaves two cans of food and a note that says ‘Sorry’ at the gas station for the man that Rick chased off. He can be seen watching from afar. Also sometime later, Carol and the Kingdom return to the industrial place that was a Savior outpost and get into a skirmish.

Old Man Rick is brought out of his house by Judith to witness a big owl in one of the other yards and the sad, broken Rick echoes the mysterious gas man’s words, “May my mercy prevail over my wrath,” before it cuts back to the triumphant Rick giving his speech to the troops.

The episode was dedicated to both John Bernecker and George Romero.

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