A number of Walking Dead fans have given up on the series. Yes some of the Negan episodes were rough but the series deserves another chance and season nine proves it.
In some ways, this is two seasons in one. Rick Grimes attempts to keep the various communities together. This includes Sanctuary, the community formerly led by Negan. Tensions are high.
Rick seeks to build a bridge between the communities, literally, a bridge over a river that would make travel between them easier. This project requires the labour of the Sanctuary people, which has its complications.
This section ends with the disappearance of Rick Grimes. This will lead into a series of movies starring Rick.
The second half of the season has a fast forward in time. Rick’s daughter Judith now has her missing dad’s gun is quite good at killing walkers herself, even though she is still young. Michonne has now given birth to Rick’s son.
The passing of time has lead to more than chronological age. People now rely on horse and wagons rather than cars and bows and arrows rather than guns. Some of the communities, especially the Kingdom, are struggling.
In the midst of this, a new enemy appears. These are walkers that are different. They seem to be more intelligent and even able to communicate. If you don’t want to know why, stop reading.
They are not actually walkers but humans wearing walker skins who have learned how to steer herds of walkers for their own purposes. Alpha, the leader of the whisperers, is quite spooky and menacing. Her origin, as her daughter attempts to remember, is very disturbing.
This season is tied together by the theme of parents and children. There is Rick and Michonne and their children Judith (who is not really Rick’s daughter) and R.J. There is the King and Carol and their son Henry (who is not their biological son). There is Alpha and her daughter Lydia.
The other theme is whether communities need to work together or need to focus on their own safety. It is not as simple of a question as you would think. Not everyone is safe.
There were a number of highlights in this season. Some new characters were introduced. I particularly liked the deaf girl, Connie. Her lack of hearing is shown as a disability, she has a strength and intelligence that is not limited by a lack of hearing.
There is also some interesting development of Negan, even making him into a positive character. Also, we only see the Walking Dead in the summer but we finally get to see what winter looks like, including frozen walkers.
Finally, you should know that a good number of major characters die in this season. We have come to expect this with each season but I will say I was genuinely surprised.
Overall I really enjoyed the ninth season of the Walking Dead.