I’ve been away for far too long. A lot has happened since I last blogged about one of my favorite shows. If you have been away since season 7, or really anytime before season 9, now is a good time to come back. I’ll tell you why.
**Mild to strong spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk***
Season 9 has brought a lot of change. Certain characters are out (more on this later) certain characters have been introduced, and a new (and long awaited enemy) has been revealed.
I am fresh off a rewatch of season 9, so some things will be fresh in my head. This will be your last **Spoiler Alert**
The season starts off 1.5 years after the war with the Saviors. Negan has been imprisoned in Alexandria. Unfortunately Carl is not around to follow the comic, which is truly sad. Even though I have not read the comic, I do know there was a lot of story left between Carl and Negan. If you are a fan of Negan (you probably didn’t stop watching) you will be happy to see him taunting anyone who comes to pay him a visit. Jeffery Dean Morgan is magic as he tears into Michonne, Maggie, and eventually Gabriel. He can get under anyone’s skin in 30 minutes or less (or your pizza is free).
The communities are working together to repair a bridge that is important for their trade. Over the first few episodes, a lot of animosity brews, mainly because the Saviors are doing most of the work, and have no weapons to protect themselves. When Saviors start disappearing, it gets worse. Of course it comes to a head. What would The Walking Dead be without confrontation?
The worst kept secret: Even before the season starts, we get wind that this will be Rick Grimes final season. They don’t say if he is dying. We eventually learn what will happen to Rick* (I’ll mention this later in case you didn’t really want to know, but are still reading). I personally didn’t like how it ended, but I’ll talk about that later too.
The worst kept secret part two: If you still haven’t watched season 9, and don’t want to be spoiled, this is your last chance *Spoiler Ahead*
It’s another character’s last season too. This was also talked about, but a lot less. I think I might have found out 1-2 episodes prior to her leaving….
Maggie ended up leaving the show too. It comes out towards the end (episode 7, or 8). She ends up taking Hershel to wherever Georgia (that nice lady who wanted records in return for knowledge).
Daryl and Carol: Daryl does his “I don’t want to be around people thing and is staying out in the wild. Carol meets him on her way to Hilltop to take Henry to learn about blacksmithing. Daryl picked up a companion at some point. A dog named, Dog. So fitting.
Gabriel the badass: Father Gabriel has turned into a full on badass. He starts out completely shaved, which makes his one bad eye look creepy. He’s a ladies man though (revealed to be “Episcopalian” so he’s not celibate). He has a fling with Ann (garbage pail lady) until she wigs out and bolts. He then hooks up with Rosita (I didn’t see that coming either) and grows out his facial hair again. He also tries, and fails to help Negan deal with his new life as an inmate, which leads to some awesome dialogue.
Eugene the barbarian: Eugene is in his final stage of being a survivor. Not only is he not afraid of walkers, he is taking them out 4 at a time. He is back to being a vital resource, and goes out with Rosita to put up a signal booster for their radio/communication center. This is important because they stumble on a group of walkers that seem to be “whispering” to each other. This plays on for about 2-3 episodes. Eugene hurts his knee, and Rosita has to leave him behind.
Introducing Judith “little ass-kicker” Grimes: Judith is about 10 years old. I think the same age as Carl was in season 1. Only she’s got some pretty good weapons training, and seems like she is closer to adulthood, than childhood. There was also another time jump. (I think 3 years, but it could longer) If you liked Rick, and you liked Carl–she picks up where they left off in their prime. The most exciting thing for me in season 9, was the introduction of her as an older person. Hopefully the stars align and she ends up beating the world like Carl was supposed to.
Her introduction brings in 5 new characters, as she helps them out, and takes them back to Alexandria. (who does that remind you of?)
The group Judith rescues consists of: Magna, Yumiko, Connie, Kelly, and Luke. Yumiko was injured and unconscious at the time she was brought into Alexandria. They seem like good people, and so far, they have been. Michonne is reluctant to let the strangers in, as she now is responsible for Judith, RJ, and the rest of Alexandria’s well being. Michonne brings them to “the council”, and basically puts them all on trial, especially Magna, who she calls out for having been in prison. I found that especially odd for someone who was introduced leading the jawless corpse of her baby dady as a pack-mule. That was then, this is now.
Hilltop ho: It is decided that Michonne will lead the new group to Hilltop where they will decide to take them in, or not. Along the way the group encounters a pack of walkers, and weapons are finally given back to the new people. Michonne then finds out about Maggie, and that she is no longer there. There is some animosity between Hilltop and Michonne that I either missed, or it happened between time jumps. If anyone should be mad it should be Michonne since Maggie went to Alexandria, and pretty much threatened to go “through” Michonne to kill Negan. (of course that didn’t happen as Maggie decided not to kill the sobbing ex-leader of the Saviors)
Reunited and it feels so good: Carol, Henry, and Daryl come upon Rosita, and take her back to Hilltop. Daryl, Jesus, and Aaron go out to look for Eugene.
Whisper to a scream: The three amigos quickly find out they are not dealing with a normal herd. They estimate it to be around 140 deep, and they are kind of milling around. They find Eugene and he tells them that he and Rosita heard them “whispering” and that the herd has been by twice already. Of course the herd catches up to them, and they are on the run again.
Oh, Jesus: The companions are slowed by Eugene, and end up having to make a stand in a cemetery (fitting). During the fight, Jesus busts out some long awaited new moves. (we saw him sparing with Aaron earlier) The group seems to be handling the walkers with ease until one moves out of the way of Jesus’ sword strike, and stabs him in the back. There seemed to be a few more walkers who suddenly attack. During the fight, Michonne turns up along with the newest cast members who want to “earn their keep”. It is revealed that the walker who struck Jesus down was wearing a “walker-skin” mask that was sewn together.
More questions than answers: I left a lot out, but I think I got the main things down. I will start in no particular order: What’s going on with Rick? We saw him get blasted into the river, and Ann found him, took her to the rendezvous point with the mystery helicopter, and airlifted to safety. Word around town is Rick will no longer appear on the show, but will reappear in any number of “Walking Dead” movies that will be featured on AMC. It kind of sucks, but I’ll get into that later.
Who are these helicopter people? Ann has allegedly formed an alliance with the helicopter people, and her payment for pickup/extraction is an “A” or “B” person. It is determined that Rick is a “B”, whatever that means. I hope we find out in the back half of season 9.
Where did Maggie go? As I said earlier she goes to hang out with Georgia and her “twins”. I hope she doesn’t go the way of Heath.
Why is everyone leaving? I have no idea, but my personal theory is that it started with Carl. Word on the street was that he wanted to take a break and go to college, but he was also told, “they wanted him for 3 more years”. They kind of forced Frank Darabont out after season 1, but that is another story. I think there is truth to this story, because Chandler’s father had some things to say (in the article) on social media. Then Andrew Lincoln, and Lauren Cohan abruptly leave.
What I do know is that Rick, Carl, and Maggie had a lot of story left. For them to all leave suddenly makes zero sense. The flash forward was going to happen eventually, and Judith’s reintroduction could be a reason why, or it could be a brilliant move after losing 3 strong characters.
Hopefully, you read this, and it sparks your interest to come back and rejoin the show you fell in love with all those years ago. It’s different, and that is a good thing. The one thing the show always did best is create interesting characters, and hire excellent actors to bring them to life. They are back at it, and are doing it in spades. Season 9 feels a lot like season 2, or 3–if that makes any sense.