Could it have been a more intense midseason premier for the veteran show? I don’t think so. The Walking Dead started this half of the season off right where it ended, and it was literally explosive. Here’s a quick recap on the edge-of-your-seat episode that was no short of thrills. Spoilers obviously.
At the end of episode 8, we see Sasha, Daryl and Abraham run into a group of Negan’s minions. They demand our trio give over all weapons and lead them to their camp. As one leads Daryl to the back of the truck to look for more goods, the head of the gang threatens Sasha and Abraham with his pistol. Just as he’s about to pull the trigger, he’s blown to pieces along with the rest of the baddies. It seems as if that rocket launcher did come in handy as Daryl is able to use it after breaking free. With those guys out of the way, our group heads back to Alexandria, where they’re unaware of the chaos that’s ensuing.
Michonne, Father Gabriel, Rick, Carl with Judith underneath his jacket, Jessie and her boys have just stepped off the porch and into a massive heard of walkers. We last saw Sam calling for his mother in the heart-stopping moment from episode 8, but it seems he finally shut up. The group makes it to a clearing where Father Gabriel offers to take Judith to his church for safety while the rest continue their way. At this point Jessie tells Sam to go with them, but the child is too afraid to separate from her and she allows him to come.
Darkness approaches and the remaining Alexandrians are held up in various buildings. We also see Glenn and Enid figuring out the best plan to rescue Maggie, who is trapped on top of a flimsy lookout. Denise is still being held at gunpoint by The Wolf trying to maneuver through the herd. It seems as though they are having a connection as she wonders if hewas truly always this evil. There is finally a break between the walkers, so they make a run for it but she is nearly attacked. In a surprising turn he stops and goes to save her, getting bit in the process. She says she can help him if he gets her to the infirmary and they make a run for it. As they approach Carol shoots him from a balcony and he once again saves Denise as he pulls down an approaching walker and allows her to run to safety.
Rick and the others are still making their way through the zombies when Sam begins to have a breakdown. He spots a child walker and can’t contain his fears any longer. He freezes and Jessie begs him to keep walking. It’s too late. The walkers have heard them and two chomp down on Sam as Jessie watches in fear. She can’t let go of her son and is sobbing, drawing the walkers to her and she is killed as well, still holding onto her son – and Carl.
Rick, distraught, collects himself in an instant and takes his axe to chop off her arm so Carl can be freed. In the chaos he drops his gun and Ron picks it up, aiming it at Carl. Rick and Carl look in fear but unable to plead with him. All of sudden a sword pierces through Ron’s chest, it is Michonne. But Ron didn’t die without getting off one shot. Carl turns to his father and we see that he has been shot in the eye, straight out of the comics. This was spoiled for some when an international poster was released showing him bandaged up, but I wasn’t expecting it this episode. Rick picks him up into his arms and he and Michonne make their way to the infirmary where Denise has made it safely with some others.
In complete anger, Rick steps outside alone and begins to wail on the walkers, killing some but hardly making a dent. Michonne, Aaron, and some others make the decision to go out and help him. As others see them from buildings across the street, they all come out and begin to kill as many as they can.
On the other side of the town we see Glenn trying to draw walkers away as Edin goes up to save Maggie. This is the first time Maggie has seen Glenn since he left with Nicholas. She screams and cries as Glenn is surrounding by walkers when all of a sudden they are riddled with bullets. It’s Abraham, Sasha and Daryl to the rescue and it couldn’t be better timing. They enter through the gates in their gasoline rig and plan to draw the walkers into the lake by setting it on fire.
This episode ends on a surprisingly positive note. We see both Father Gabriel and Morgan decide that their peaceful ways just aren’t going to cut in this world and they both step up. We see Maggie and Glenn reunite and the group realize how strong they are when working together. With the exception of Carl, all is well. But us viewers know this will be short lived as the cloud of Negan is slowing working it’s way towards our group.