Most everyone can agree that season 7 of The Walking Dead was a major downer with all the horrible things Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) did to Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and the rest of the Alexandrians, and our favorite characters scattered and disconnected. Thankfully, the season finale set the story on a new path, with Rick and his allies (including Hilltop and the Kingdom) finally declaring war on the Saviors.
Season 8 promises to be the most action-packed of them all.
As Tom Payne, who plays the stalwart Jesus, recently gushed to Rotten Tomatoes, “The first four episodes — which we were told before we started shooting, but we couldn’t believe it — have even more action than the ones before. It just gets bigger and bigger.”
We are totally on board and ready to go, but we still have some big questions on what’s going to happen.
It wasn’t all that surprising when Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) switched sides in season 7 after being captured by Negan. He does have an enormous yellow streak running down his spine, and he’s going to do what he can to survive. We don’t particularly like him for that, but there it is. Still, we’ve seen a less selfish side to Eugene every now and then, like when he gave Sasha the poison so she could off herself and escape Negan’s clutches. The fact she did it in such a spectacular way – coming out of a coffin as a zombie to attack Negan and some Saviors – was just icing on the cake.
Eugene could be in a bit of trouble, however. Negan will most likely figure out Eugene went behind his back to give Sasha her way out, so it could turn ugly for our mullet-headed friend. Eugene could be forced to realize Rick and the gang are (and always have been) a much better option, but he’s going to have to do something remarkably admirable and redemptive if he wants to rebuild those burned bridges with Rick — who might not necessarily be in a forgiving mood.
You just know weasel Gregory (Xander Berkeley) is going to turn up in season 8. Last season, he left the Hilltop under the cover of night to go on a “long journey” with his loyal assistant Kal. It became very clear many of the Hilltoppers no longer trusted him because, well, he’s inept and everyone basically loves Maggie now for saving them from a severe walker attack. Boy, oh boy, did Gregory want to kill Maggie when they were out in the field, but a zombie scared him senseless and he needed her to save him.
According to the comics, Gregory is the one who tipped off Negan to the imminent attack from the Alexandrians. In the comics, as Rick and his allies attack the Sanctuary, Gregory shows up and offers a deal to those Hilltoppers not willing to fight: that they can walk away with him. It goes down differently in the show, but Gregory could definitely have had a hand in ruining the element of surprise. At this point, the former Hilltop leader is on the outs and desperate — which only makes him even more dangerous.
When Rick found Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and the Scavengers last season, he was excited to be able to recruit another group to join in the fight against Negan. Although there was something definitely off about this weird chick with severe bangs and clipped speech, it seemed like she was on board in helping — so long as the Scavengers got what they wanted in return. Alas, she was not to be trusted and made a surprising switch in alliances to Negan, who offered a better deal, just when Rick needed her the most.
But now that Jadis sees that Rick has a larger army to fight Negan — and could possibly win the war — will she flip flop again?
Rick probably won’t bargain with her again after she turned against him, so Jadis and company are skating on thin ice.
For much of season 7, it seemed like Dwight (Austin Amelio) was waffling between being a complete company man (i.e., torturing Daryl) to questioning Negan’s authority, particularly when it came to his wife, Sherry, and his cover-up of her escape from Negan. Then Dwight defected to Alexandria, saying he wanted to help them destroy Negan. Daryl didn’t trust him, but Rick decided to.
When it all came to head in the finale, it looked like Dwight might still be on Negan’s side, fighting the Alexandrians along with the Sanctuary folks and betraying Rick by not telling him about Negan’s deal with Jadis. That was not the case, however. Dwight left a hidden message in Alexandria, which Daryl found, that said, “Didn’t know,” meaning he had no idea about the Jadis/Negan pact.
Those women of Oceanside need to get their heads out of the sand. Last season, when Rick arrived to take their guns and ammo (on Tara’s suggestion), leader Natania knew she couldn’t really stop him — but by god, she wasn’t going to get involved in the conflict. While it’s understandable that she doesn’t want to rock the boat and lose more members after suffering the devastating deaths of all the men in their coastal community, the women can’t keep living in fear.
In season 8, we suspect Oceanside denizens Cyndie and Beatrice will convince Natania of this fact. They have to join the fight in order to at least try to be free of oppression — and let’s hope they come in at just the right moment to take a stand.
It’s a fairly minor point, sure, but every time we see the Maggie running around, putting herself in harm’s way, we can’t stop thinking about her pregnancy. She almost miscarried once before, and we sure don’t want that to happen again now that she’s maybe found some peace at Hilltop.
Alas, a little baby bump might not make an appearance any time soon considering the timeline of the story really isn’t all that long. Even though season 7 seemed interminable to us, the events that transpired — from the time Negan smashed Glenn’s head in to the war beginning — really only took a couple of weeks. Still, season 8 could could flash forward to a more pregnant Maggie and that would be satisfying. We really can’t wait for that baby to be born.
Speaking of flashing forward, everyone can’t stop talking about the extended sneak peek of season 8, which premiered at San Diego Comic-Con a few months ago. The trailer ended with an image of an older, gray-bearded Rick, lying in bed with a cane nearby. WTF? Perhaps it’s hinting to what happens in the comics when it jumps to two years after the war with Negan. Or maybe not.
At least it seems like Rick survives the war — unless it’s all a dream sequence as Rick lays dying on the ground or something.
This naturally brings us to our last question: Who are we going to have to say goodbye to in season 8? Because the show frequently strays from the storylines set in the comics, you can’t necessarily go by what happens on the page.
“No one is safe, more so in this season than any other season, I think,” Payne told Rotten Tomatoes. “I’ve always said that’s one of the show’s greatest strengths. There shouldn’t be any golden geese, and it can be anyone at any time. Might be me, might be someone who has been there for years. It’s no fun if everyone is invincible.”
Our guess? Jesus will probably be one who kicks it.
What do you think? What’s the biggest season 8 question that you want answered? Tell us in the comments!
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres Sunday, October 22 at 9/8C on AMC.