Finally, I think AMC has fixed everything that was broken with The Walking Dead. No, I don’t entirely think it was Rick (Andrew Lincoln) leaving that has fixed the problem. Honestly, I think it is Angela Kang taking over from Scott Gimple. And, now, she has managed to work out all the awful kinks that had been left over from Gimple’s reign.
So, here’s what went down in Episode 6 (titled “Who Are You Now?”) of Season 9 of AMC’s The Walking Dead.
We open Episode 6 of The Walking Dead Season 9 with Michonne (Danai Gurira) having a little chat to Rick at the last place she saw him alive: the bridge. Michonne seems to be chatting to Rick a lot now, even all these years later. And, as Judith (Cailey Fleming) points out later on, that’s okay. Whatever you need to do to cope is okay with us. However, when Judith mentions that she can’t really remember what her dad and Carl (Chandler Riggs) sound like anymore, I challenge you to have a dry eye.
I fucking challenge you.
CF: This is something that, I believe, goes back to the comic. In the days after the Fall of the Prison, we had Crazy Rick talking on the phone to Lori, because he’d become unhinged due to her death. (In the comic Lori and Judith died as they were leaving the Prison during the final assault.) Rick took the phone he used to speak to Lori with him–he actually found it away from the Prison–and Michonne discovered him speaking to Lori while they were on their way to Alexandria. When Rick asked her if she thought it was strange, she told him she had a small radio that she used to speak to her dead boyfriend, whom she killed after he turned at the start of the zombie apocalypse. So Michonne speaking to dead people around her finally fits in with her character as defined in the comic.
RT: Oh, that’s a good catch, Cassidy!
However, while Michonne is busy trying to keep Alexandria safe, little Judith — as we saw at the end of Episode 5 of The Walking Dead Season 9 — is bringing in fresh blood and gives zero fucks about Michonne and her rules. So, already, this family is not seeing eye to eye because Michonne is refusing to let anyone into Alexandria.
This new group is filled with interesting dynamics, too.
Magna (Nadia Hilker) appears to be the leader even though no one is really owning up to that position. When the group is taken before the council to decide whether they stay at Alexandria or leave, it is discovered that Magna has concealed weapons AND she was once in prison. Now, I know Michonne is hating her guts at the moment, but I can totally see these two being besties later on. Luke (Dan Folger) used to be a music teacher and, to be honest, I am getting a sort of Fake Soccer Mum Carol vibe off him. I honestly think he might be the one to watch in the group. Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) is injured, so not much is learned about her in this episode of The Walking Dead. Although, thanks to her, the group get to spend a little longer in Alexandria than Michonne would like. So, that leaves Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Kelly (Angel Theory). These two are sisters and Connie deaf.
CF: A little intel on this group. They are set up almost exactly as they are in the comic, though a few things have changed. One, they were actually discovered far earlier on and they met Rick, who welcomed them. Before that, they’d lived in a nursing home closer to Washington, D.C., and left when things started looking sketchy. Also, Connie wasn’t deaf and Kelly was actually her boyfriend, so big changes there.
Since Andrea was head of security in the comic it was she who had the most conflict with when she first arrived. And yes: they sorta became friends before Andrea died. Also, there is something about a couple of people in this group that may or may not become apparent over the next few episodes.
Some personal info. Nadia Hilker is a German actress best known for playing Luna on The 100, so when Alicia finally shows up from Texas they’ll know each other. Eleanor Matsuura was born in Tokyo and raised in England and has mostly appeared on series there. Dan Folger is American and has/will appear in both the Fantastic Beasts movies. Lauren Ridloff was Miss Deaf America in the early 2000s and has been nominated for a Tony for her role in Children of a Lesser God. And Angel Theory is an actor and choreographer from New York City who originally tried out for the role of Connie. Obviously, she didn’t get it, but her audition was liked so much that they gender bent the roll of Kelly and gave it to her.
RT: Thank you so much for all the extra info 🙂Eventually, it is decided that the group are to be turfed out of Alexandria. However, thanks to Magna admitting to Michonne that she still had one more hidden weapon, Michonne has a change of heart and tells them that she will lead them to Hilltop, where they can find sanctuary there. Of course, what the audience gets to see is the fact that Magna was pretty much going there to fight Michonne until she saw the woman with her son.
Yes, Michonne did get pregnant and now Judith has a little brother and even Magna doesn’t seem to have it in her to attack a mother now.
CF: I’ll be honest: at first I thought Michonne was hallucinating her son, because we know she did lose her son early on at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. I was pleasantly surprised to see the kid was real. I wonder if Michonne has told the kid to be wary when Aunt Carol offers him cookies or wants him to look at her flowers? 😉
RT: Haha! I think, judging by the look Henry gave when he saw Carol’s returned ring, that all the kids have been given this talk.
CF: “Don’t do anything to piss off Aunt Carol. And for fuck’s sake, don’t ever cough around her.” Oh, it’s gotta be fun living with her these days.
Also going down in Alexandria is Judith’s relationship with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Yes, Negan. She is totally getting homework help from the guy. However, she is one smart little cookie and cuts the chat short when she realises he is starting to work on her rather than concentrate on the math problems.
Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) still appears to be looking for Anne/Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) by trying to get the radio working. And, to be honest, after watching Talking Dead, I think this is how AMC will tie in all the other stories they are planning across The Walking Dead universe. If Gabriel can get the radio up and running, it would mean he might have the potential to speak to people from far away, people he would not actually be able to meet within the post-apocalyptic world. However, his girlfriend, Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) have to find a high place to try and get some reception first.
Yes. Gabriel has ANOTHER girlfriend now.
But, let’s have a look at all the other locations featured in this episode before I get back to Eugene and Rosita’s little trip…
CF: More comic info here, as this does tie into something that happens there, though not exactly like it does in the TV show. In the comic, it was Eugene who was using a shortwave to see if others were out there and it was while using it he discovers The Commonwealth, which leads into the New World Order storyline. Also, Eugene was married to Rosita and we discover that Rosita is pregnant, but not with Eugene’s kid. I am curious to see how this story plays out, but yes: it’s apparent contact will be made with people far away…
RT: Oh, Rosita and Eugene! I’m not sure I like that direction, but just because Eugene is so annoying now — could you imagine him on the show if he had a girlfriend as well?
Carol (Melissa McBride) is now considered a queen since she married King Ezekiel (Khary Payton). She is also considered a mother to Henry (Matt Lintz). And, like every teen boy, he is not overly impressed with his parents — especially Ezekiel since he tends to want to keep Henry close. Carol, however, convinces Ezekiel to let her take Henry to Hilltop in regard to some fair they are setting up.
And so, they get a little road trip of their own…
CF: Henry shouldn’t give Mom shit. She’ll make him cookies if he gets out of line— 😉
Yeah, these guys are still around. They are nothing more than a group of roadside thugs now, though. While Carol and Henry are on their little trip, Henry hears a woman screaming and runs in to help.
Of course, it’s a trap and the Saviors now have their hands on a wagon filled with goodies. Carol lets them have it all — including her wedding ring — and now Henry is pissed at her too.
And, to be honest, so am I. Carol comes across as totally meek and mild in this episode.
However, before viewers have time to really get pissed with Carol, she is sneaking away in the middle of the night and setting fire to the Saviors.
So, that’s the end of that group.
When Henry notices the ring back on her finger in the morning, he is smart about it and says nothing.
CF: When I saw Carol show up in the middle of the night and there was spilled gas all over the place, I knew what was going to happen. And she didn’t disappoint. Carol still likes setting people on fire when they piss her off or need killing or… whatever the fuck mood she’s in. It was some ice cold shit and the way she walks off with no fucks to give–I gotta say Carol’s probably a whole lot broken, but people like Ezekiel keep her grounded. If something ever happens to the people she loves, look out. It’s gonna be Angel of Death time again.
RT: When Carol turned up at the Saviors camp, I was fist-pumping the air! So glad that storyline is now officially over.
CF: Yeah, those assholes needed to go away completely. Though we’ve never found out what happened to Dwight. In the comics, he became something of a big deal. I wonder if we’ll ever get closure on him and his wife?
RT: I think we will end up seeing Dwight at some point. Although, now doesn’t seem like the optimum time to do that, what with everything else going on. Or, maybe he’ll turn up in the movies?
CF: Also, I do love her hair.
And I should point out that the new Henry, Matt Lintz, is the older brother of Mascen Lintz, who played Young Henry up to the point of the previous episode. And, of course, their sister is Madison Lintz, who was Sophia for a season and a half and still the undisputed hide and seek champion of The Walking Dead universe.
RT: I love that they are keeping the Lintz kids in employment.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) really did wander off into the wilderness to live on his own. However, by the end of the episode, Carol and Henry have met up with him on the road so I guess he’ll get drawn into the fold once more.
CF: No surprises here. I would like to know how long he’s been living off the land.
Hilltop gets mentioned in this episode but we don’t get to see much about what is going down here. My guess is that when we finally do see what is happening here, we will find out that Maggie (Lauren Cohan) has left with Georgie’s group and Jesus (Tom Payne) will now be in control.
CF: Angela Kang has confirmed that we don’t know when we’ll see Maggie again. So anything is possible with her.
Now, About Rosita And Eugene’s Little Trip…
Firstly, can I just say that Eugene seems to be working his way through the worse hairstyles ever? He has forsaken his mullet now, deciding to grow it out into a rat’s tail. Right-o then, Eugene. And, you wonder why Rosita picked the preacher and not you…
However, I digress.
CF: You gotta give Josh a lot of credit for putting up with these bad hairstyles. A lot of dudes would be pissed off with such bad cuts.
So, Eugene and Rosita find a really tall tower. While Eugene is at the top, he sees a huge herd of walkers and they try to evacuate quickly. In the process, he manages to injure himself and they have to hobble away from the undead.
They manage to cover themselves in mud and lie down, hoping they walkers pass them by.
As they do so, the walkers are moaning and shambling by.
And then you hear one of the walkers moan out “Where are they?” Then, they mumble some more about the missing humans as they shamble by.
What the ACTUAL fuck???
Now, if you have read the comics, you know where this is going. However, if you haven’t, I am sure Cassidy will do an excellent job of clueing you all in 😉
CF: Of COURSE I’m gonna clue you in! What happened to Eugene and Rosita actually happened in Issue #130, where two characters, Marco and Ken, were trying to change the direction of a herd of zombies. Ken gets a leg injury when zombies come at his horse and it falls on him and because their horses run off–as they did to Eugene and Rosita–they start hoofin’ it back to the Safe Zone. Because Ken is having trouble keeping up they hide in the mud of a river bank while it’s raining and it’s here, as Marco told people later, that “there were whispers and I was afraid”. He thought the zombies had developed speech, but we know this is the first contact people of The Communities have with The Whisperers.
RT: Thank you! I knew you wouldn’t disappoint. This scene was awesome and a great way to introduce the Whisperers. The look of fear on Eugene’s face was just amazing.
CF: I also liked how Rosita kept her mouth covered to either hide her breathing or to keep from screaming, or both. Larry Teng, the director of the episode, nailed this scene perfectly. Both Eugene and Rosita looked like they were gonna shit themselves at any moment.
CF: This is the cover to that issue, showing how it was probably used as the storyboard for what was eventually filmed.
Also, astute viewers probably noticed that when Magna’s group was brought into Alexandria, the entrance looked different from what we’ve seen and the walls seemed to have been extended. That’s because there’s two gates into the development used for the ASZ (there’s four actually, but the other two are for residents and supplies) and last night the series filmed the entrance off of Gin Street, which gives a better view of the rebuilding of Alexandria after The Saviors destroyed most of it.
This is the area as seen on Google Maps. The structure overlaid by the words “Alexandria Safe Zone” is the windmill we saw last night.
Here’s how it looked at street level before the zombies came:
And how it more or less looks now, though not without the new construction as this photo is from two years ago:
Notice the “Private Property” signs with No Trespassing and No Soliciting. Michonne is serious about security, it seems.
RT: Once again, thanks so much for the heads up on the information here. I hadn’t even noticed those changes at Alexandria!
Season 9 of The Walking Dead returns to AMC with Episode 7 (titled “Stradivarius”) on Sunday, November 18. AMC lists the following synopsis for this episode.
“Carol seeks out an old friend living alone in a wilderness teeming with walkers; survivors make the perilous trek to a new home.”
[Featured image via Gene Page/AMC]