This season adapts the "All Out War" story arc from the comics, with the survivors of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and later the Scavengers taking on Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors.
Avi Nash as Siddiq, a mysterious vagabond survivor who befriends Carl.
The Walking Dead was renewed by AMC for a 16-episode eighth season on October 16, 2016, and that same month it was reported that Maria Bello would have a role on the show. Production began on April 25, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. On July 12, 2017, production was shut down after stuntman John Bernecker was killed, after falling more than 20 feet onto a concrete floor. Production resumed on July 17.
The season premiere, which also serves as the series' milestone 100th episode, was directed by executive producer Greg Nicotero.
Rick, Maggie, and Ezekiel rally their communities together to take down Negan. Gregory attempts to have the Hilltop residents side with Negan, but they all firmly stand behind Maggie. The group attacks the Sanctuary, taking down its fences and flooding the compound with walkers. With the Sanctuary defaced, everyone leaves except Gabriel, who reluctantly stays to save Gregory, but is left behind when Gregory abandons him. Surrounded by walkers, Gabriel hides in a trailer, where he is trapped inside with Negan.
Rick's forces split into separate parties to attack several of the Saviors' outposts, during which many members of the group are killed; Eric is critically injured and rushed away by Aaron. Jesus stops Tara and Morgan from executing a group of surrendered Saviors. While clearing an outpost with Daryl, Rick is confronted and held at gunpoint by Morales, a survivor he met in the initial Atlanta camp, who is now with the Saviors.
Daryl finds Morales threatening Rick and kills him; the duo then pursue a group of Saviors who are transporting weapons to another outpost. Gregory returns to Hilltop, and after a heated argument, Maggie ultimately allows him back in the community. Eric dies from his injuries, leaving Aaron distraught. Despite Tara and Morgan's objections, Jesus leads the group of surrendered Saviors to Hilltop. Ezekiel's group attacks another Savior compound, during which several Kingdommers are shot while protecting Ezekiel.
Ezekiel's group is overwhelmed by the Saviors, who kill all of them except for Ezekiel himself and Jerry. Carol clears the inside of the compound, killing all but two Saviors, who almost escape, but are eventually caught by Rick and Daryl. En route to the Kingdom, Ezekiel, Jerry, and Carol are surrounded by walkers, but Shiva sacrifices herself to save them. The trio returns to the Kingdom, where Ezekiel's confidence in himself as a leader has diminished.
After confessing their sins to each other, Gabriel and Negan manage to escape from the trailer. Simon and the other lieutenants grow suspicious of each other, knowing that Rick’s forces must have inside information. The workers in the Sanctuary become increasingly frustrated with their living conditions; a riot nearly ensues, until Negan returns and restores order. Gabriel is locked in a cell, where Eugene discovers him sick and suffering. Meanwhile, Rick and Daryl argue over how to take out the Saviors, leading Daryl to abandon Rick.
Rick visits Jadis in hopes of convincing her to turn against Negan; Jadis refuses and locks Rick in a shipping container. Carl encounters Siddiq in the woods and recruits him to Alexandria. Daryl and Tara plot to deviate from Rick’s plans by destroying the Sanctuary. Ezekiel isolates himself at the Kingdom, where Carol tries to encourage him to be the leader his people need. Maggie has the group of captured Saviors placed in a holding area and forces Gregory to join them as punishment for betraying Hilltop.
After learning of Dwight's association with Rick's group, Eugene affirms his loyalty to Negan and outlines a plan to get rid of the walkers surrounding the Sanctuary. With help from Morgan and Tara, Daryl drives a truck through the Sanctuary’s walls, flooding its interior with walkers, killing many Saviors. Rick finally convinces Jadis and the Scavengers to align with him, and they plan to have the Saviors surrender. However, when they arrive at the Sanctuary, Rick is horrified to see the breached walls and no sign of the walker herd.
Eugene's plan allows the Saviors to escape, and separately, the Saviors waylay the Alexandria, Hilltop, and Kingdom forces. The Scavengers abandon Rick, leading him to return to Alexandria. Ezekiel ensures that the Kingdom residents are able to escape before locking himself in the community with the Saviors. Negan attacks Alexandria, but Carl devises a plan to allow the Alexandria residents escape into the sewers, which ends up exposing Dwight as a traitor to the Saviors. Carl appears to have been bitten while escorting Siddiq to Alexandria.
The eighth season of The Walking Dead has received mostly positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season holds a score of 69% with an average rating of 6.86 out of 10, based on 14 reviews, and an average episode score of 67%. The site's critical consensus reads: "The Walking Dead's eighth season energizes its characters with some much-needed angst and action, though it's still occasionally choppy and lacking forward-moving plot progression."
The Walking Dead (season 8): Critical reception by episode
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