The Walking Dead’s ninth season was one of departures and drastic change. It felt like two different seasons in many ways and its construction played into that sensation all too well. Rick’s exit from the series will remain the lasting memory of this season, but there were so many moments that made his departure an afterthought. The Whisperers’ entrance delivered the needed shot in the arm following the emotional drain Rick’s exit brought. Alpha and her followers stood as the most formidable opposition to the now-fractured communities since Negan’s debut. They might even supersede it by the end of things. The show left us with gut-wrenching deaths, signs of hope and enough teases to keep audiences intrigued for the future. Now if only we knew who was on that radio.
The fragile alliance between the communities and the remaining Saviors continued to teeter on the precipice despite Rick’s best efforts. He has the remedy though: building metaphorical and literal bridges. Things fell apart despite his best efforts, leading to an attempted mutiny by a collection of Saviors while Rick and Daryl were away from camp. Rick chooses to lead a large herd of walkers away from the camp while Daryl rushes to help their friends. Unfortunately, Rick is impaled on a piece of rebar when his horse is spooked. He is able to get back to the bridge despite his injury, but is forced to destroy the bridge to keep the herd at bay. The resulting explosion casts Rick into the rushing river. Michonne and others mourn his supposed death, but Rick is still clinging to life on the riverbank. Alice picks him up and leaves with him in the mysterious chopper.
Michonne & Alexandria
Rick’s departure led to a significant time jump before learning how his last stand impacted those he left behind. Daryl’s nomadic effort to find Rick seems like a poor response to trauma until you peek in on Michonne. She takes the reins as Alexandria’s leader and imposes an isolationist attitude toward the other communities. Those barriers come down slowly over time, beginning with a quartet of survivors led by Yumiko. Judith continues to push Michonne toward her former compassionate self. Seeing her adoptive daughter begin to exhibit the same acts of trauma leads Michonne to venture outside once again. She relinquishes her stranglehold on Alexandria’s political power and reunites with the other community leaders at the fair.
Alpha & The Whisperers
The Saviors defeat left a villainous void in the hills of Virginia. Enter the Whisperers. Led by Alpha and her enforcer, Beta, this nomadic group’s devolved view of society debuts by killing Jesus in a graveyard. Daryl and Michonne take Alpha’s daughter, Lydia, to Hilltop, prompting Alpha to introduce herself and offer a trade. They make the exchange, but Henry, now stricken with love for Lydia, follows the skinsuits. He’s quickly found out and captured. Alpha tries unsuccessfully to force Lydia to kill Henry before Daryl and Connie rescue them. They leave a supposedly dead Beta in their wake as they travel to the Kingdom with Michonne and Judith’s aid. Alpha ultimately denounces her daughter, but begins to cry while doing so. Showing emotion is a cardinal sin to the Whisperers, so she kills the only member that witnessed her solemn moment. Tears may be frowned upon, but vengeance isn’t.
The Kingdom Falls
The Kingdom has begun to fall apart in the time since Rick’s exit. Pipes are bursting, wiring is failing and spirits are waning. Ezekiel remains confident in the mortality of their home despite the mounting concerns. He only takes pause when Henry decides he wants to apprentice under the Hilltop’s blacksmith. Not even that is enough to dampen his spirit though. He has a fair to prepare for, complete with a movie night and a renewed charter between communities. Unfortunately, the fair proves to be the Kingdom’s downfall. Alpha’s infiltration of the fair leads to the abduction of key community members. She uses the reanimated heads of her victims to form a border between the Whisperers and the coalition. The sight crushes their collective spirits as a fatal winter closes in on the Kingdom. Its infrastructure failing beyond repair, Ezekiel and company are forced to migrate to the Hilltop. Even worse, Carol leaves Ezekiel to go to Alexandria once they arrive. The king stands alone as he maintains communication with Alexandria, but there appears to be someone else on the line. There’s someone else out there, and they’re reaching out.
If you’ve missed a recap or want to revisit the entire season, check out our full list of recaps below.
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 1
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 2
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 3
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 4
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 5
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 6
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 7
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 8
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 9
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 10
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 11
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 12
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 13
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 14
The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 15