By Jordan Norkus
Arts & Entertainment Editor
AMC’s post-apocalyptic horror television series, “The Walking Dead,” is back for its eighth season.
The first episode of the new season, which is also the show’s 100th episode, aired on Sunday, Oct. 22. The episode starts with members of Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom coming together and getting ready to start a war with Negan and the Saviors.
“I was really shocked with the way they gave us the new season eight episode,” said sophomore Jake Doble. “I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of action they gave us in just the first episode. I really think they set the tone for the entire season.”
Since season six, different communities have been introduced to the series—including Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, Negan and the Saviors, and the Scavengers. Although this brought in many new characters, a few main characters of the show were lost. Similar to “Game of Thrones,” fans of “The Walking Dead” hope that their favorite characters won’t be killed off of the series.
“I think integrating the characters and the new communities on the show has added a new twist in the fight against Negan this season,” said junior Sarah Kosha. “I am excited for this new season and where the show is heading in the future. If Daryl dies, we riot.”
For some “The Walking Dead” fans, the television series has changed too much since its initial start in 2010. The only reason they’re sticking with it is because they need to see how it all ends.
“With the start of the new season, I have to say I am not all that excited. A couple years ago, I had binge-watched up to season six and loved every bit. Since then, however, the show has gone down hill,” said senior Mark Boyle. “At this point, I am only watching because I’ve invested so many hours into the show, already. If anything, I am just hoping this next season will bring back some spark to the show.”
Other fans agreed with how the show has negatively changed, but they were left hopeful for the show’s future after watching the new episode.
“I believe season eight is going to be all about them fighting for their lives and standing up to their biggest threats,” said Doble. “I almost feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment because in past seasons and episodes, it began to feel a little dry.”
The episode was dedicated to American-Canadian filmmaker George A. Romero and stuntman John Bernecker, who both passed away this past July. Romero’s films, including “Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead” and “The Crazies,” served as inspiration for many zombie films and television series. Bernecker was a stuntman for “The Walking Dead” and died on set after he fell 22 feet from a balcony and missed the safety cushion.
Throughout the episode, the leading character, Rick Grimes, is giving the other community members hope before they venture off into war; saying that after everything they’ve endured and risen above, they will take back tomorrow. In an interview with IndieWire, executive producer of Scott M. Gimple said how the theme of season eight is “holding on.”
“[It’s about] circumstance, painful events pushing you to the brink of becoming something you don’t want to be,” said Gimple. “But the whole reason you’re doing this is to extinguish the kind of brutality from the world that you have to perpetuate. It’s about holding on to who you are, holding on to your values, holding on to your humanity.”
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.