‘The Walking Dead’ salutes its fans and its past in Season 8

"The Walking Dead" begins its eighth season with it's 100th episode Sunday, Oct. 22, on AMC.

‘The Walking Dead’ hits the century mark

Sometimes actors can take on the traits of their characters.

Take, for instance, Melissa McBride, who plays abused wife-turned-fearless warrior Carol Peletier on AMC’s zombie apocalypse drama “The Walking Dead.” When a snake recently appeared in her home and got stuck to a glue pad used to catch invading pests, the 52-year-old actress took action and without a second thought grasped the slithering critter and freed it from its sticky prison.

“I had a pair of gloves on,” McBride recalls, “and the exterminator guy was helping me and I got to the head part and I just put my fingers right below its mouth, around its neck and took its tail and took it to a bush and threw it. And it slithered away. And I was like, ‘That’s something Carol would have done. Thanks Carol.'”

Melissa McBride stars in “The Walking Dead,” which opens its eighth season with its 100th episode Sunday, Oct. 22, on AMC.

The eighth season of the hit drama kicks off Sunday, Oct. 22, with its 100th episode, and as has been the case in seasons past, AMC is offering scant few details on what lies ahead, lest spoilers be revealed. But published reports have indicated the new season will refocus the series on small-town sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), now sporting a gray beard and cane, evidently the result of a time jump. At least one episode will be devoted to Season 7 villain Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) past and how he became the baseball-bat-wielding brute responsible for the deaths of two regular characters.

Elsewhere, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is still pregnant but will not have the child, the time jump apparently not affecting her. A Muslim character, Abbud (Avi Nash, “Silicon Valley”), is introduced. And as a tribute to the series and its hardcore fans, little in-jokes and nuggets from past seasons will be sprinkled throughout the episodes.

“The Walking Dead,” has its 100th episode Sunday, Oct. 22, on AMC.

It’s “All-Out War” in the new season, which follows the 20th volume of “The Walking Dead” comic book series, as the Alexandrians and their allies rise up against the totalitarian Saviors. Carol will undoubtedly be involved, but what that means for the character going forward, McBride was offering few details.

“There is a lot of action this season,” McBride says, “and I’m really excited about some of the things that Carol is getting to do, engaging in this fight with the Saviors. I think this is the most physically challenging season for Carol. I’m excited.”

Such is life around a successful series whose storylines hinge on cliffhangers. In fact, so hush-hush are things surrounding “TWD” these days that on the day of this interview, McBride was noncommital as to whether she was working that day.

“Kind of,” she says with a laugh. “I’m trying to avoid spoilers. If I tell you that I am, then that means Carol’s still alive.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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