“The Walking Dead” returns with its Season 9 premiere on Sunday, October 7. Many months have passed since our last foray into AMC’s zombie wasteland, so you’d be forgiven for forgetting where all of the characters landed at the end of Season 8. Take a look below to refresh your brain on who died during the show’s “All Out War” story arc, which survivors are plotting against each other, and which mysteries will carry over into Season 9.
The biggest death of the season played out over two episodes as young Carl (Chandler Riggs) succumbed to a walker bite he sustained while saving the group’s new doctor Siddiq (Avi Nash). Carl enacted a plan to save and evacuate the citizens of Alexandria while The Saviors laid waste to the town. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) say a tearful goodbye before Carl end’s his own life, but they will be forever haunted by his dying wish: a series of letters that call for peace between Rick and The Saviors.
All Out War
With Alexandria a fiery ruin, Hilltop Colony is the main stronghold for Rick and co. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) proved herself a capable leader by repelling an attack from Simon (Steven Ogg). Despite this failure, Simon attempts a coup against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) but is ultimately found out and strangled to death by his boss. A frustrated Negan vows to wipe out Rick and uses Gregory (Xander Berkeley) to feed his rival a false battle plan. Rick takes the bait and leads the combined forces off Alexandria, Hilltop and The Kingdom into Negan’s trap, becoming surrounded in an open field.
Eugene Switches Sides … Again
Eugene (Josh McDermitt) proved himself traitorous, working to craft bullets for The Saviors. But his guilty conscience eventually caught up with him. As Negan orders his crew to execute Rick’s people, all The Saviors’ guns backfire thanks to Eugene having previously sabotaged all their weapons. This provided the window that Rick’s people needed to turn the battle in their favor and finally defeat The Saviors. Whether this is enough to fully redeem Eugene in the eyes of his friends is yet to be seen.
After a brutal showdown between rivals, Rick was able to slash Negan’s throat and end the war. But before his nemesis can bleed out, Carl’s words come to mind. Rick calls for the doctor to save Negan, despite a furious (and entirely justified) protest from Maggie. The surviving Saviors accept a truce with Rick and return to The Sanctuary while Negan is locked in the Alexandria jail.
There is plenty of happiness after the war is won. Carol (Melissa McBride) finally moved to The Kingdom with Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Oceanside became an ally after coming to Tara’s (Alanna Masterson) aide, and Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) is allowed to join Alexandria. But at Hilltop, Maggie is enraged that Rick allowed Negan to live, denying her revenge for the murder of her husband Glenn. In a secret meeting, she conspires with Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Jesus (Tom Payne) to show Rick the error of his ways.
Several mysteries persist into Season 9. Dwight (Austin Amelio) road off to his former home. Will find his missing wife Sherry inside? A massive herd of walkers was spotted in the distance beyond the final battle. Could this threat head straight for our survivors, or is it teasing the appearance of the long-rumored Whisperers from the comics? And then there was that helicopter which made sporadic appearances all season. Jadis has knowledge of whoever is piloting it, but she isn’t spilling the beans. Could it be related to Georgie (Jayne Atkinson)? This new character revealed herself to Maggie and gave her a book titled “The Key to the Future,” containing blueprints for industrial and agricultural tools. Perhaps Season 9 will introduce viewers to Georgie’s well-off community and expand “The Walking Dead” world even further.