It's no secret that the 100th episode of The Walking Dead was a huge deal for the series. Not only was it a major milestone for AMC's zombie drama, but it also featured many throwbacks to the show's very first episode, which originally aired in 2010. It seems like a lifetime ago that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) first woke up from his coma to kick off this incredibly gruesome adventure.
Based on the comics by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, the series has told many crazy stories over the years and amassed a HUGE fan community that loves to theorize about the show and make strange connections about its world, such as that it takes place in the same reality as Breaking Bad, another AMC juggernaut. With many millions of viewers tuning in every Sunday night, The Walking Dead enjoys one of the biggest fandoms in pop culture history.
This is why episode 100, the Season 8 premiere, which was titled "Mercy," was all about celebrating the past while also looking towards the future. Here's all the subtle ways, shot by shot, that The Walking Dead's 100th episode paid tribute to the first episode of the show.
There are a couple of throwbacks to the scene in which Rick first woke up from his coma. In the series premiere, Rick wakes up pretty confused, talking to Shane even though he's not in the hospital room anymore. It's not until he notices that the clock on the wall has stopped that he realizes something is wrong.
One of the first things we see in the Old Man Rick dream sequence in episode 100 is an old clock, which is later revealed to be Rick's alarm clock. It is also looks like it's stopped.
The shot of Old Man Rick waking up in his bed is pretty much the exact shot from the first episode when Rick woke up from his coma. The old Rick looks as confused as the young one, although they wake up to very different situations. Young Rick is alone in a hospital full of walkers, while old Rick is in Alexandria with his family.
This shot shows Rick looking at the flowers (which may also be a nod at Carol's infamous line from Season 4 when she mercy executes Lizzie). In both past and future sequences, Rick regards flowers that are at his bedside.
In episode one, Shane brings Rick flowers while he's in a coma. By the time Rick wakes up, the flowers have withered and died. In episode 100, the flowers look fresh, perhaps symbolizing new life in the world.
There is another sequence in episode 100 that is almost a shot-for-shot recreation of the first scene of the series in which Rick stops at a gas station on the road to Atlanta to search for fuel. In the Season 8 premiere, Carl is the Grimes who stops to look for gas. He's not driving his dad's patrol car. Instead, he's in an old van. As you can see, both vehicles stop next to an upturned truck.