Previously on The Walking Dead, “Wrath”
If you’ve been waiting for The Walking Dead to spend more time exploring what rebuilding the world entails and less time on numerous side missions that make little to no sense, then season nine may be for you. With their biggest threat to date (Negan) neutralized, Rick and company have spent the past year repairing Alexandria, strengthening their existing communities, and incorporating Oceanside and The Sanctuary into their operations. They have clear communications and processes, and not one person wandered off without telling anyone where they were going. That’s called growth.
It’s like a whole new show.
It’s nearly back to normal after being burned to hell by the Saviors. Michonne and Judith paint on their front porch and then go for walks with Rick. Father Gabriel is walking around blind in one eye and wearing a really big hat. He looks like he’d be ringing a bell and warning of the end times if they weren’t already here.
Carol and Ezekiel are boo’d up and he wants to make an honest woman out of her. She’s hesitant since it is the zombie apocalypse and good shit never lasts. In case you thought this time might be different, by episode’s end Carol leaves to live at The Sanctuary for awhile to lead there in Daryl’s place. This means that either she or Ezekiel won’t make it to season ten.
Negan may be cooling his heels in an Alexandria cell, but his presence is still felt at his old stomping grounds. For one thing, Daryl’s in charge and everything about the way he carries himself lets you know he’s not really here for the reformed Saviors. For another, a hidden group of Saviors still loyal to Negan leave not-so-cryptic messages on the walls.
Dying crops are bad for morale and Rick sees it as nothing more than that, but Michonne warns it could be bigger.
Considering one of the Saviors giving Daryl major stink-eye and attitude is Justin, played by Zach McGowan, Michonne is probably right. Nine times outta ten, that guy is playing an asshole.
Of all the communities, Hilltop is prospering the most. With the help of the plans they were given last season and Maggie’s knowledge of framing, they’re thriving. She’s their official leader after winning an election that Gregory (Xander Berkeley) suggested. That was most likely the last decent thing he did.
When they lose a young man on a mission to obtain farming equipment in D.C., his parents take the news hard. In the few moments he was onscreen before being bitten, Ken seemed like a good kid, but he had red shirt written all over him. It’s the performances delivered by John Finn (Earl) and Brett Butler (Tammy) that really connect you to the loss of a character we barely knew. Losing their child was hard enough, but losing him to obtain equipment for The Sanctuary is too much to bear. Maggie is banned from attending Ken’s funeral, and Gregory seizes the opportunity to ply the grieving parents with alcohol and whisper suggestions of revolt in Earl’s ear.
They waste no time and Maggie is attacked that night after being directed to Glenn’s grave by Gregory. Earl is unmasked as the attacker, but Gregory is the one who pays the iron price. The execution is carried out by Daryl and in front of visiting Michonne and Rick.
The message is clear: Maggie is no longer here for the shits.
Bits & Bites
I can’t remember the last time this show had a group mission that was both necessary and executed with a solid plan. A trip to a museum for seeds and farming equipment makes a lot of sense, and even though we saw the cracked glass for collapsing the moment it appeared, it was still effective. They needed the equipment and there was no other way around. When our group finds themselves in peril without being stupid to get there, we care a lot more. So, even though no one really thought Ezekiel would die, it was still a terrifying predicament.
Maggie’s baby Herschel is at least four months old, but Judith has barely aged.
What did you think of the premiere? Leave your thoughts below or on our Facebook post for this review and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast.
The Walking Dead S9E1 Review Score
"A New Beginning"
The Walking Dead – S9E1 – A New Beginning
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, Melissa McBride, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Norman Reedus, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Khary Payton