The Walking Dead’s Season 8 Premiere Just Introduced a New Mystery and We’re Not Sure What to Make of It

Warning: The following contains spoilers about the season eight premiere of The Walking Dead. If you haven’t watched yet, you may want to bookmark this page and return once you have. Proceed with caution.

War has come to The Walking Dead.

After promising to take the fight to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his coalition did just that in the season eight premiere, the show’s 100th episode. And this being TWD, it took an entire episode to get going, while we watched the combined members of Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom prepare for what will surely be the bloodiest battle this show has ever been. 

So yeah, it all went pretty much as expected: The team figured out how to steer a massive horde of walkers towards the Sanctuary, scumbag Gregory (Xander Berkeley) turned out to have ran to Negan once the Hilltop decided they liked how Maggie (Lauren Cohan) did things a bit better, the coalition shot out all the windows on the Sanctuary, making enough noise to lure the walkers right to it, and when Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) foolishly got out of his walker-proof car to save the weasel, Gregory left him for dead. That’ll teach you to never save a traitor.

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The war has begun, but we’ll have to wait for next week to see how Negan retaliates now that he’s got Gabriel as leverage. (Because, let’s be real, he’s not dying just yet.) Until then, we’ll be sitting over here wondering what the hell was going on in those strange scenes peppered throughout the premiere with a much-older looking Rick. As teased in the first season eight promo, the premiere opened with Elder Rick waking up in a bed to the sounds of Weird Al Yankovic’s Queen parody, “Another One Rides the Bus.” (No, we’re not kidding.)

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As we saw more of this interesting morning in Rick’s future, we learned Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are living in the house with him and we met a considerably older Judith. (Seriously, she was about five and talking.) There was talk of a celebration, a giant owl had been erected in the community’s garden for the occasion, and we were seriously confused. Every time the show cut to one of these scenes, the moment began with a much younger Rick in what appeared to be in a terrified, exhausted state. Is this future just the fantasy of a man running out of time? Or is it something more?

Fans of the comic books may have some idea of where this is all heading. We won’t spoil it for you here on the off chance we’re right, but check out Vol. 22 of the series if you’re curious and don’t mind potentially being spoiled. (One hint: It’s not called “A New Beginning” for nothing.) And if you’re not interested in checking it out, we’ll be right here with you, piecing the clues together as season eight progresses.

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While we wait for answers, let us know what you think is going on with those flash forwards in the comments below!

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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