Spoilers below for the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead, which should be watched in its entirety before reading on.
Every season of The Walking Dead is obviously going to give audiences a ton of exciting action and eye-popping grossness, and tonight's Season 8 premiere also offered up quite a few laughs in non-obvious places. From small character moments to villainous deaths to the almighty Jerry, "Mercy" was our entry into a season meant to bring more levity than the Negan-heavy seventh season offered. (Here's hoping Daryl makes someone eat dog food sandwiches, though.) Check out all the funniest moments from The Walking Dead's Season 8 premiere below.
Tara And Her Candy
During "Mercy," viewers got to see Alanna Masterson having a bit more fun as the oft-put-upon Tara, who spent much of the episode on walker-tracking duty alongside a mostly silent Carol. Tara has rarely been portrayed so casually and comfortably, and as ridiculous as it is to say, so much of the performance was informed by her chewing on a Twizzler candy. (Or Red Vines or whatever.) I had a mighty chuckle whenever her horde countdown went unrewarded, with the walkers showing up a few seconds later. Her "Close enough" was as perfectly understated a comedic moment as it gets in The Walking Dead.
"Another One Rides the Bus"
Beyond the instrumental score guiding the emotional thrust of The Walking Dead's narrative, the zombie drama has delivered quite a few memorable moments using licensed music from musicians that have presumably perished in this world. Tonight's premiere delivered my favorite song choice yet, with Rick's interesting flash-forward scenes being guided by the accordion-driven grooves of "Weird" Al Yankovic's "Another One Rides the Bus," his parody of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust." It's assumed that specific choice has some direct relevance to the flash-forwards themselves, but I'm perfectly happy keeping that speculation mutual from my glee over this classic "Weird" Al track spicing up the premiere.
Daryl's Sneak Attack
A big part of Rick's plan in "Mercy" involved taking out the Savior henchman who kept watch in areas where Team Family would need to travel undetected. The deaths were pretty memorable across the board, and of course, Daryl got the best of the bunch. One Savior thought he was going to have an uneventful smoke break, but he suddenly got pulled off the screen. His spot was soon filled by Daryl, who totally nabbed the dude's cigarette while killing him. (Waste not, want not, amirite?) It was an excellent moment that likely not all viewers noticed, and it was a moment that was truly Daryl. For what it's worth, the second best Savior death was when Dwight walked away right before the two rooftop Saviors got put down.
Jerry, Of Course
Anytime Cooper Andrews' Kingdom soldier Jerry is on the screen, he's going to make that scene 100% better and worthy of a laugh or two. By that respect, he's one of the most criminally underused characters in the ensemble, and fans only got one big Jerry moment in the Season 8 premiere. As the different groups were gearing up to head to battle, a continuous camera shot wandered through the crowd and passed Jerry giving Enid a protective vest to put on, which she initially doesn't accept. And Jerry's spot-on attempt to get her to relent is just to say, "Dude. Du-u-u-ude," while handing it over. It's arguably the most relatable moment The Walking Dead has ever put to film.
Maggie: Pregnant Warrior
Considering Maggie has been pregnant for several seasons of The Walking Dead so far, the character was the topic of a lot of birth-centered conversation in between seasons, and the Season 8 premiere worked in a great joke about it when the groups were gearing up to head to the Sanctuary for their big first attack. While telling the others that she needed to get back to the Hilltop Colony after joining this initial assault, she joked, "Say you can wage war through the second trimester." Of course, that second trimester could very well be years into the future of The Walking Dead's storyline, assuming it doesn't occur during the possible time jump that follows the All Out War.
Gregory Making Demands
As it was suspected, Gregory has been holed up with Negan's crew at The Sanctuary, with Negan actually believing that Gregory's presence was a wild card advantage against the Hilltop residents. It was hilarious to watch the snide and sniveling former Hilltop leader" get his "Follow Negan" demands deflated by Rick and his Piss Patrol. (Jesus' reaction to threats of being evicted from the community: "All I have at the Hilltop are a bunch of books and an old lobster bib.") The best part of this sequence was, obviously, Simon chastising Gregory and then pushing him down the metal stairway, though the fall sadly happened offscreen. The way Simon just stood there looking on for an extra second or two made it all the more enjoyable.
Father Gabriel's Terrible Luck
Having been a real turd upon first joining Team Family, Father Gabriel has made big strides to become a more enjoyable character over the last season or so. He gave Rick some much-needed centering in the Season 8 premiere, but his empathy and selflessness backfired on him in a huge way. Instead of driving away from the walker-slammed Sanctuary, Gabriel noticed Gregory's sorry ass in dire need of help, and exited his car to offer such assistance. Which, of course, meant that Gregory soon hopped into the car and drove away without the now-stranded Gabriel. And just when the holy man thought he might have found momentary salvation from the zombie horde, he discovered that he's now temporary bunkmates with Negan and his non-existent sense of empathy. Admittedly, this was less of a laugh-out-loud moment and more of a "Boy, isn't it funny how life works sometimes?" But it counts.
Next week's episode of The Walking Dead will surely bring more laughs, cheers and disgusting walkers, and you can catch the zombie hit Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out what we thought about those crazy flash-forwards, as well as who we think that new character is, and then head to our fall premiere schedule to see everything else hitting the small screen soon.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.