The Walking Dead season nine is a new beginning for the show with a new showrunner. There were also a couple of big departures. As we go into the second half of the season, let’s recap how we got here.

Season nine started a year and a half after the events in season eight’s All Out War.  The communities are rebuilding and working together on improving conditions; well almost everyone.  Some of the Saviors are not completely on board with adapting.

As for our favorite survivors, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira)are as strong as ever and decide to have a kid together.  Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) are together, as are Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and Nabila (Nadine Marissa).  (Yay!)

The Walking Dead

Lauren Cohan as Maggie with Baby Hershel in The Walking Dead Season 9 Preview Special.

Maggie (Lauren Cohan) gave birth to a son named Hershel. She became the official leader of the Hilltop after beating Gregory (Xander Berkeley) in an election. And Jesus (Tom Payne) has become her most trusted advisor.  Gregory convinced the blacksmith Earl (John Finn) that Maggie was responsible for his son’s death. Earl attempted to kill Maggie, but she was saved by Enid.  Knowing that Gregory was behind the attack, Maggie executed him.

Rick appointed Daryl (Norman Reedus) to oversee the Sanctuary, but Daryl wasn’t happy about it.  Carol eventually took over the Sanctuary.  And Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was put in a jail cell in Alexandria. Maggie attempted to kill him but changes her mind when she sees he’s in a state worse than death. 

The Bridge

The big story from the first six episodes centered around the fallen bridge. Rick gathered the communities to help rebuild the bridge.  There were quite a few fights among the workers, but Rick did his best to get them to work together.  Maggie and Daryl made it known that they have lost faith in Rick, but the majority of the group still believes in his vision. 

The Saviors started disappearing from the construction site, leading them to believe that someone was out to get them. Well, they were right.  The Ladies from Oceanside heard about Maggie executing Gregory, they decided to exact their own revenge. It was the Saviors who killed the men and boys of Oceanside.  And one by one, Oceanside killed the group of Saviors responsible. Maggie and Daryl found out but didn’t say a word to Rick.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Eventually, the Saviors had enough and tried to take weapons to defend themselves.  A gunshot attracted a herd of walkers towards the construction site.  Rick and Daryl hear the shot and see the herd. Daryl heads for the camp and Rick leads the herd away. 

Along the way Rick ’s horse gets spooked, throwing him off and Rick impales himself on rebar.  To make things worse, a second herd has joined the first herd. Badly injured, Rick was still able to lead the herd back to the bridge.

Maggie and Michonne gather everyone and head to the bridge, but Rick is on the other side with the walkers.  Daryl sees dynamite on the bridge and knows that Rick is planning on blowing up the bridge. They try to get his attention to help, but Rick shoots the dynamite, blowing up the bridge and the herd.

Everyone believes that Rick is dead, but he’s not. Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) just happened to be nearby, waiting for a helicopter ride and took Rick with her. We’ll find out more about where they went when the movies are made.

Fast Forward Six YEARS!
The Walking Dead

Cailey Fleming as Judith Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 9 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

The second time jump picks up the story six years after Rick’s disappearance.  Rick’s legacy lives on as Judith (Cailey Fleming) is now around ten years old.  And Michonne gave birth to a son named Rick Jr. The other town gossip is that Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) is dating Rosita (Christian Serratos). Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is also in love with her. Oh, and Judith has also become friends with Negan. 

Maggie left the Hilltop to help set up new communities.  Jesus was elected as the leader of the Hilltop, but Tara (Alanna Masterson) is really running things.

The Kingdom is planning a fair to unite the communities, but Alexandria has declined their invitation.  Ezekiel and Carol are married and have adopted Henry (Matt Linz).  Henry wants to become a blacksmith so they send him to the Hilltop to learn.  Carol asks Daryl to stay and watch over Henry.  Daryl was living in the woods, searching for Rick’s body.  He also has a dog, named Dog.

Something happened within these six years that caused Alexandria to shut everyone out.  Michonne did something to save the Hilltop, but it was also something that the Hilltop residents resent her for.  And Michonne and Daryl have the same X branded on their backs.

The Walking Dead

Nadia Hilker as Magna, Lauren Ridloff as Connie, Angel Theory as Kelly, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Dan Folger as Luke – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 9 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Judith rescued a group of newcomers, Magna (Nadia Hilker), Luke (Dan Fogler), Yamiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Kelly (Angel Theory). Connie is deaf, so they all know sign language and use it to communicate in dangerous situations. She took them back to Alexandria and Michonne did not like that.  Michonne decided to take the group to the Hilltop and give them to Maggie. Siddiq (Avi Nash) tells her about Maggie leaving. 

Father Gabriel was inspired by the new people and thinks they can find more. Rosita and Eugene help by going out to set up an antenna on a water tower.   A walker herd arrives, Eugene falls from the tower, injuring his leg and Rosita’s truck tires have been slashed. They slowly get away, with Rosita literally carrying Eugene.  The walker herd follows them. They hide and can hear the walkers talking to each other.

Jesus has also been secretly meeting with Aaron (Ross Marquand) to train him in hand to hand combat. They see a flair in the sky and find Rosita. She is able to tell them that Eugene is in the woods alone, but passes out before telling them about the herd of walkers they encountered.

Jesus, Aaron, and Daryl…and Dog go out to look for Eugene and end up being chased down by the same walker herd.  Michonne and the new people arrive at the Hilltop to a very cold welcome. When she hears about Eugene and the walker herd, Michonne leaves to find the search party.  Magna and Yamiko quietly follow her.

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Tom Payne as Paul ‘Jesus’ Rovia, Ross Marquand as Aaron – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The guys find Eugene in a barn and his leg is dislocated, making traveling very difficult. They find themselves in a graveyard and hear people whispering.  Michonne shows up and helps to get Eugene out of the graveyard while Aaron, Daryl, and Jesus fight off the walkers. Jesus is caught off guard by one of the walkers who dodges his knife.  The walker counterattacks Jesus and stabs him in the back. At the end of the midseason finale, the group is surrounded by walkers and can hear them whispering.

Oh and Negan escaped his jail cell.  The first place that he goes, is Rick’s house. 

That’s where the midseason premiere picks up.  TWD has been doing some major promotions introducing the audience to the Whisperers. The Whisperers, a group of people who dress up like the dead, cause quite a headache for Rick Grimes and company in the comic books. It will be interesting to see how showrunner Angela Kang adapts their story on the small screen.

The Walking Dead mid-season premiere is Sunday ,February 10 on AMC. 

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Noetta Harjo
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