The Walking Dead Season 9 premiere, “A New Beginning” is chock full of what you need to set up a season premiere. It ties in plenty of where we left off after the war that left Negan bereft of his power. It also adds some new elements, as well. In fact, it may take a second for you to recognize the world in relation to the season 8 finale that had Daryl, Maggie and Jesus menacingly conspiring against Rick.
We get a little hint at Carl’s dying wishes being granted as well. Rick is seemingly still hard on the path to righteousness. The group is rebuilding at their respective homes with a significant time jump into the future. We’ve jumped ahead about a year and a half. Alexandria, The Hilltop, The Sanctuary, and The Kingdom stand tall. People come and go, and it’s normal.
Jesus is even holding weekly classes to help people with specific skills and “Carol sometimes show up when she’s in town.”
Things seem hopeful and, as Angela Kang recently stated, that is the goal. Everything is flowing in a seemingly straight line-with its slight turns, of course.
A supply run to downtown DC, though, makes it clear that things are still not easy in the world of the zombie apocalypse.
Our favorites remain with their common goals. Eugene, Tara, Enid, Gabriel and Jadis/Ann. One standout whom we don’t see in the premiere is Negan. This is most likely because he’s locked away.
Some other things that stand out this episode are the horse-drawn wagons. Without giving too much away, it feels like I’m watching a series that takes place not only in an apocalypse but in the early 1800s, which is definitely a further dive than with a few horses sprinkled in here and there in past seasons.
We see a very familiar museum and wonder if the artifacts inside it are actually worth anything at this point. Things are so backward, that people have actually made clever and sarcastic jokes in the form of vandalism of the artifacts.
The time jump calls for viewers to put some pieces together on their own, but the dialogue from most of the key characters makes that easy.
A stand-out line from Jerry in this episode: “See ya on the flip”, showing just how cool and collected everything is as he parts ways with Ezekiel temporarily. Walkie talkies are aplenty, and a scene erupts when some folks at Hilltop use a walker as a scarecrow.
One key part of that is actually Daryl, who has more lines in this episode than perhaps all of last season put together.
Daryl appears quite a lot in the episode and hasn’t lost his edge. He’s good on the bike and talks perhaps more than he did all last season. He not only expresses concerns, but speaks about the past, and things the audience may remember and connect to.
Daryl and Carol fans are thrown a bit of a bone, but, not in the way you’d expect.
Her relationship with Ezekiel has obviously progressed over the time jump, but it still has its own blockades. There are several great moments between the two-and again-not in the way you’d expect.
The episode dips a toe into politics and democracy-definitely a hot topic in the world right now. Maggie is in the throes of the trials the political world brings, it seems. Oh, and baby Herschel has arrived. He’s cuter than you could ever imagine Glenn’s baby to be! Lauren Cohan’s performance is definitely a stand out in the episode.
Rick Grimes plays one of the most key parts as well and is now known as the man who ended the war. Although we know that these are Rick’s final episodes, it’s safe to say that he’s a legend in the apocalyptic world, and he won’t be forgotten when the time comes – and it is inching closer.
There are some moments between Rick and Michonne that will please Richonne lovers. Their relationship is still as strong as ever and from the looks of things, steamy as ever.
The premiere sets up the rest of the season and begins to answer the question: What does it mean to be “us” in the apocalypse now?
The premiere is certainly hopeful with a healthy dose of darkness. It’s broodingly thoughtful and smart as well and forces the audience to reach down into the depths of their imaginations. I can only assume that new show runner Angela Kang’s touch has contributed to that.
Season 9 of The Walking Dead premieres on October 7th on AMC.
Shannon Toohey is Editor-In-Chief of FanFest.com. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications. Shannon has been a proud member of the Fan Fest team since 2013. Tweet her in your prettiest bird voice: @shannontoo