Warning! SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 9 premiere ahead!
Tonight’s season 9 premiere of The Walking Dead introduces viewers to a new era of the long-running zombie show. “A New Beginning” is a strong season opener, and it suggests that season 9 might just be the overhaul this former ratings juggernaut so desperately needs to recapture its dwindling audience.
There other big changes in store for The Walking Dead this season as well. Both Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohen are leaving, though how remains a mystery, and their absences will leave large holes for the ensemble to fill. Then there are also the discussions of AMC creating a shared universe of Walking Dead programs, which could see more of the cast leave for their own spinoffs.
Related: Walking Dead Season 9 Premiere Review: A New Era Begins Now
“A New Beginning” doesn’t address any of these upcoming changes, but it sets up several interesting threads for the show to explore this season. And to that, we have a few questions after watching The Walking Dead season 9 premiere.
- This Page: A Fragile Peace and a Decent Proposal
- Page 2: Is A Civil War On The Way?
Can Rick Keep the Peace?
A big part of the season 9 premiere is establishing the new status quo. It’s been roughly two years since the war with the Saviors and there is now peace among the different communities. Together, they’re actively working to re-establish some semblance of civilization. There is trade and agriculture and manufacturing taking place and, soon, literal bridge-building between the communities to keep them united. If the hope was to create that world Carl dreamed of, then Rick is leading them in the right direction.
But, while there is peace, it is an uneasy peace. At the Sanctuary, the lack of food and supplies is causing tempers to flare. There’s even “We Are Negan” graffiti on the walls, highlighting a growing dissatisfaction. At Hilltop, many are angry that they must keeping sharing so much of their harvest with the Saviors, seeing the situation as not all that different from before. And all the communities still hold an understandable grudge against the Saviors, even after the all time that’s passed.
Rick may have been able to unite the people of Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom, Oceanside, and Sanctuary, but it’s becoming more difficult to hold them together. Will Rick be able to keep the peace he fought so hard to achieve? It’s hard to say, and perhaps the better question to be asking at this point is – will there still be peace between the communities when Rick is gone?
Will Carol Accept Ezekiel’s Proposal?
Season 9 quickly establishes a lighter, more uplifting mood with those opening moments of Rick, Michonne, and Judith getting to be just a normal, happy family. There are actually a few of these moments throughout the episode, like Gabriel and Anne both appreciating the humor in the “de-evolution of man” or Rick fawning over baby Hershel. But there is perhaps none more sweet and funny than Ezekiel proposing to Carol. Their relationship isn’t one we really got to see develop because of the time jump, but it’s clear there are quite the established couple by this point.
Related: Walking Dead Season 9 Is ‘Driven By Women’
Carol, of course, is completely against the proposal, listing her reasons for why this isn’t the time nor the place – “This is not happening on a horse” – and it’s cute to see the usually calm and collected Carol so flustered. Ezekiel, on the other hand, isn’t deterred, and though it may be his recent brush with death that spurs him in to popping the question, the fact that he wishes to make such a public declaration of their love is sign of how much the times have changed.
So when Ezekiel asks again as he most-certainly will, does Carol accept? If she truly cares for him as much as that kiss at the museum suggests, she likely will. But her choice to stick around at the Sanctuary and relieve Daryl of his leadership duties, while a means of helping out a friend, might imply otherwise.
Page 2: Is A Civil War On The Way?
Could Maggie And Daryl Turn On Rick?
Maggie and Daryl may have helped Rick win the war, but season 9 begins with them both calling his decision-making into question. Daryl, for instance, doubts Rick’s plan to unite this many groups of people, sharing his preference for when it was just their small group. And as for Maggie, she’s still angry over Rick’s decision to keep Negan alive, reminding Rick that he promised her he’d kill him.
Maggie even calls out Rick for once telling her that one day he’d be following her, but then never allowing that day to come. And it’s this scene between them on the balcony that really hints at a divide growing between Maggie and Rick. Daryl’s comments that he’d rather move to Hilltop instead of Alexandria seem to suggest that if made to choose, he’d pick Maggie over Rick, which really makes it appear like a split between them is inevitable.
Related: Norman Reedus Doesn’t Think Daryl Is The New Rick
Will season 9 see Maggie and Daryl turn against Rick? It’s certainly a possibility, what with both parties having very different views on how things should be run. Plus, there’s also the matter of Maggie and Rick only appearing in a limited number of episodes this season. Could it be the conflict between them that leads to their exits? That seems very likely, with the rift that forms between Maggie and Rick not necessarily being the direct cause of their departures but at the very least a factor.
What Will Be The Consequences of Hanging Gregory?
The Walking Dead season 9 premiere ends with Gregory’s hanging and it’s a disturbing scene for what is a fairly upbeat episode (by Walking Dead standards anyway). Not that anyone is likely to miss Gregory, and his manipulation of Earl and Tammy’s grief (not too mention Earl’s alcoholism) is particularly disgusting, but the public execution is still chilling. And when Maggie declares that the “punishment must fit the crime” she’s drawing a direct comparison between what she’s doing here and what Rick chose to do with Negan.
Maggie having Gregory hanged is going to have consequences. Already, it’s apparent how much Rick and Michonne don’t agree with Maggie’s decision, only deepening that divide. Then there’s the precedent this decisions sets – implying it’s okay to kill someone as long as it’s justified. Who decides when it’s justified? Well, that’s why Michonne needs to write that charter. But in the mean time, there’s a very good chance someone else will look to this as permission to take justice into their own hands.
Whether or not Maggie was justified in killing Gregory is debatable, but the deed is now done and there’s no taking it back. Future episodes will show just how Hilltop and the rest of the communities react to the news, but one thing is clear – Maggie isn’t playing around, and if given the opportunity, she will do what Rick could not and kill Negan.
Next: The Walking Dead Will Reboot (Sort Of) When Rick Leaves the Show
The Walking Dead season 9 continues next Sunday with ‘The Bridge’ at 9pm/8c on AMC.
2018-10-07 07:10:59 – Sarah Moran