“Psst! Psssssst! What the heck is going on?”
That’s what we’re assuming Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is saying to Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in this photo from the Season 8 premiere.
With an episode full of different time skips, it was easy to get confused watching the newest offering from “The Walking Dead,” which was also the series’ 100th episode. Despite the uncertainty over whatever we were looking at, we liked it.
While Rick spent most of last season being a shell of his former self, on Sunday he was out front leading his peeps with the Hilltop and the Kingdom in an attack on Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors. In addition to opening fire, the group led a gigantic herd of walkers to the Saviors’ headquarters and had Negan scrambling for safety.
The dude was not happy.
“The Walking Dead” premiere gave fans some much-needed things to cheer about after the bleakness of Season 7. Daryl (Norman Reedus), who was reduced to eating dog food in the previous season, was even riding around on his motorcycle and blowing stuff up, perhaps as a way for the show to say, “Here, fans. We’re sorry.”
But there were some lingering questions.
Who is that mystery guy and why is Rick quoting him?
Early in the show, Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) is on his way to get gas in a scene that was a shot-for-shot recreation from the first ever episode of “Walking Dead.”
During this trip, Carl runs into a mystery person (actor Avi Nash) hiding behind abandoned cars and calling out to him for help. Rick comes along and scares the guy off.
With the impending “all out war” with Negan, it’s easy to just dismiss this rando, except there are hints he could be an important character.
Earlier this year, TVLine reported a “Walking Dead” casting call for “Abbud,” who was “an innately likable Muslim American whose nerves are, let’s say, jangled, because he’s flown solo for too long in zombieland.” The mystery person from the episode talked about the Quran in his interaction with Carl. That may confirm this is “Abbud.”
If that’s even his real name...
Comicbook.com predicts the Abbud role may be based on the comic character Siddiq, a member of Oceanside.
Remember, Negan supposedly killed all the men from the Oceanside group. If this mystery person is from that group and escaped, that trauma might explain what he means when he tells Carl, “I’ve been through things, too.”
(Of course, it is also the end of the world. Everyone’s been through things.)
Even more importantly, the character recites a phrase he says is from the Quran, telling Carl, “May my mercy prevail over my wrath.”
In one of the time jump scenes at the end of the episode, Rick repeats the same line.
Get ready to see more of the mystery guy.
What’s going on with those time jumps?
We knew a time skip was coming in the show. “The Walking Dead” comics have a time jump following the war with Negan, and we got a glimpse of an older Rick in the Season 8 trailer. However, there’s not just one time jump in the episode. It skips around. In one moment, Rick is giving speeches; in another, he seems like he’s been crying; and in another, he’s much older and chilling with Michonne (Danai Gurira) in the kitchen.
Showrunner Scott Gimple told Entertainment Weekly things could still be “somewhat opaque” about the timeline following the premiere. That much is clear.
All we know for sure at this point is after the battle with Negan, Rick’s next mission will be to find Just for Men Touch of Gray.
Who taught Gregory how to drive?
Before Rick and his group wreak havoc on the Saviors, we learn Hilltop leader, Gregory (Xander Berkeley) pledged the community to Negan. None of it matters, though. No one follows Gregory. He’s a turd.
The problem comes when Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) is getting ready to drive away from the Saviors’ headquarters as a herd of walkers is closing in. He sees Gregory in trouble and leaves the car to help him. Gregory then ends up taking the vehicle himself and leaving Gabriel behind.
Our biggest beef here isn’t with Gabriel. What he did was just dumb. The issue is when Gregory is driving away.
After getting in the car, he looks behind him as if he’s going to back up. The very next shot is the car moving forward.
We’ve seen this level of bad driving before.
Greg, take a lesson from Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies). Always look where you’re going.
Why didn’t Gabriel shoot Negan?
After Gregory steals the car, Father Gabriel ends up seeking shelter in a nearby trailer/building. The problem is Negan is also inside. Actually, no, the problem is Negan is inside and Gabriel doesn’t do anything about it.
Negan’s all like, “I hope you got your shittin’ pants on.” Gabriel’s silence seems to confirm he is wearing said pants.
Perhaps Gabriel ran out of ammo, and we’re being too hard on him. If the season is as crazy as the cast and producers have promised, we’ll all be needing “shittin’ pants” soon enough.