– by Anthony Esteves
Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Oh, it feels so good to be back.

When we last left our favorite Survivors, they had just succeeded in a counterattack on Negan and his Saviors. Alexandria, The Kingdom and Hilltop have successfully aligned, driving Negan away, setting up what was bound to be a future war between these two sides.

Six months later, the “All Out War” is here.

After a rousing and uplifting speech by Rick, Maggie and King Ezekiel describing how victory is their’s, the Survivors are step-by-step taking territories belonging to the Saviors. Moreover, Daryl has established “crossbow communication” with Dwight, the Savior-turned-Survivor informant. The next day, a number of Survivors head out to meet up with The Kingdom and Hilltop for the next step, leaving Carl, Michonne and Rosita behind to protect Alexandria. Meanwhile, Daryl, Carol, Tara and Morgan are keeping track on a swarm of Walkers heading down the highway. No doubt, they plan on using this swarm to their benefit. Eventually, with the assistance of Dwight, the united front are able to park themselves right outside of Savior Sanctuary, parking their armor-covered vehicles out in front and getting Negan’s attention.

It’s worth noting that at certain points in this episode,we see what seems to be a glimpse in the future. These glimpses feature a greyed and aged Rick living with Michonne and Carl. With each segment, we see a bit more, but never a full explanation as to what we are seeing.

As the United Front holds Negan and his crew, including Gregory who was attempting to get Hilltop to walk away from this fight, at gunpoint, Daryl, Carol, Tara and Morgan continue rigging certain points of the highway with wire-triggered explosives. What is first seen as a way of drawing in the Walkers also has another motive: blowing to hell Negan’s lieutenants who commonly use that stretch of road. With them gone, Rick, Maggie, Ezekiel and their people are free to unload on the Sanctuary. Countless amounts of ammunition and explosions riddle the Sanctuary, injuring Negan himself. However, before Rick is able to finally end Negan, Gabriel informs him it’s time to leave, as the Walkers are approaching the compound.


Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

In the end, it appears that the Survivors get the upper hand in the war. However, not all Survivors were able to flee. In an act of selflessness that turned on him, Gabriel is cornered by Walkers and has no choice but to hide inside a bunker. Adding to his bad fortune, Gabriel has chosen to hide in the same bunker that Negan is hiding in, and Negan has some choice words for him.

Personally, as someone who loves this series almost as much as Chris Hardwick himself, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of this premiere. What stood out most to me was the score. Very much like Hans Zimmer’s work in The Dark Knight Rises, the score, (composed by Bear McCreary) kept a steady tension as the story developed, making the viewer feel that at any moment, something was about to pop out or explode. It delivered the sense that the viewer was right in the middle of the story with an impending battle about to take place. Continuing with last season’s finale, it is a pleasure to see Rick and the Survivors on the other side of the coin, getting the upper hand on Negan and the Saviors. With this remarkable premiere behind us, I await next week’s episode with a bottled up excitement.
In other words, I am very happy that one of my current favorite shows is back on my television with a roaring vengeance.