The Walking Dead, Season Nine: First Half Review (Spoilers)
THIS ARTICLE WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST HALF OF THE WALKING DEAD, SEASON NINE.
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The mid-season finale for The Walking Dead has finally arrived, declaring the fact we are now half way through the ninth season of the show.
The first episodes set out Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) departure from the show, taken away via helicopter with the help of Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) to an unknown location, after a Rambo moment at the beginning: Rick pulling himself off the rebar he had impaled himself on, refusing to be eaten by the two merging herds of walkers.
The nostalgic final episode had him hallucinating old characters who have died in the show, such as Shane (Jon Bernthal), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), all of whom had a key part in Rick’s development during the progression of the series.
However, the nostalgia train didn’t stop there! During his final episode, we went back to the beginning of the show, revolving around places from seasons one and two: Rick in his hospital bed, Shane and Ricks patrol car – both from the first season – expanding to Hershel’s farm which was the main safe zone in season two.
After Rick’s departure, the show jumps forward in time by six years. We rejoin the cast with Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) now 10 years old – the same age Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) was when the show started back in 2010.
A new group was also introduced in the same episode, consisting of Luke (Dan Fogler), Magna (Nadia Hilker), Kelly (Angel Theory), Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), who now seem to be showing their worth, helping the main group with their conflict with The Whisperers.
Obviously with the large time jump, the first episode was mainly a way to allow the audience to catch-up on what has happened over the last six years, while driving the season’s story forward at the same time. We find that the communities – Alexandria, The Hilltop and The Kingdom – have built some sort of civilisation, creating a legacy for Rick and Carl.
Michonne (Danai Guria) has had a son with Rick, although he was born after Rick’s exit – so wherever he is, if he is alive, he doesn’t know he has another son. She also hasn’t stepped into Hilltop since Rick’s presumed death.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) seems to believe Rick may still be out there because they never found his body – and it’s not like you can file a Missing Person’s report in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
The Whisperers made their official debut at the mid-season finale. Although they were referenced just before this with whispers coming from herds previously in the first half of the season, this is the first episode you SEE a Whisperer. The first encounter with them comes near the end, with Jesus outnumbered with walkers.
He was able to slice some of them up to cover Aaron’s (Ross Marquand) and the injured Eugene’s (Josh McDermitt) escape as Michonne, Magna and Yumiko arrived just in time to help.
But, as he goes to take out the last walker before he made his way to freedom, the walker dodges Jesus’ sword and stabs him in his side – an unprotected area in his body armour. This is followed by the chilling “You are where you do not belong” whisper in his ear.
The group find themselves at the end of the finale figuring out that some of the walkers were once human beings, dressed in their skin (The Whisperers) and surrounded by what seems like more Whisperer soldiers unseen in the mists around them.
We will just have to wait and see what happens to the small group of survivors when the show returns in February 2019.