With Angela Kang stepping up as new showrunner, the imminent departure of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and "partial departure" of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) on the horizon, and the looming threat both the Whisperers and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the series looks to be living up to the first episode's title: "A New Beginning."
So check out our review of the season premiere and see for yourselves how showrunner/writer Kang and director Greg Nicotero found a way to live up to the pre-season hype – and then blow it out of the water.
Spoiler Warning: I'll be covering some themes and takeaways involving major and minor plot points from the episode, so just keep that in mind. Definitely not looking for pitchforks and torches outside my apartment.
The Walking Dead s09e01 'A New Beginning': Rick and his group make a risky run into Washington, D.C. to search for artifacts they will need to build the civilization he and Carl envisioned. Writer: Angela Kang / Director: Greg Nicotero
Here's a look at next week's episode 'The Bridge,' as well as the premiere episode's most talked about scene – and a final one for Gregory (Xander Berkeley):
The Walking Dead s09e02 'The Bridge' – The communities join forces to restore a bridge that will facilitate communication and trade; someone is gravely injured at the construction site. Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick / Director: Daisy Mayer
Last season brought the culmination of "All Out War," which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their cunning leader, Negan. With Negan's life in his hands, Rick had a character-defining choice in front of him. By making the unilateral decision to spare Negan, Rick upheld the values his late son, Carl, championed in order to build for the future, but created conflict within his group.
Now, we see our survivors a year and a half after the end of the war, rebuilding civilization under Rick's steadfast leadership. It is a time of relative peace among the communities as they work together, looking to the past to forge the future, but the world they knew is rapidly changing as man-made structures continue to degrade, and nature takes over, changing the landscape and creating new challenges for our survivors.
As time passes, the communities confront unexpected obstacles, danger, and of course, walkers, but nothing quite prepares them for the formidable force they are about to encounter, which threatens the very idea of civilization that our survivors have worked so hard to build.
Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics, "The Walking Dead" reigns the number one drama on television among adults 18-49 for the last six seasons. The series is executive produced by chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, showrunner Angela Kang, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Greg Nicotero, Tom Luse, and Denise Huth.