‘Walking Dead’: We Need to Talk About Jocelyn and Michonne

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Spoilers ahead for the March 17 episode of “The Walking Dead”)

“The Walking Dead” has not generally spent much time exploring what happened during the six-year time jump that occurred in the first half of this season. I assumed, generally, that we were meant to think that it was relatively uneventful. Aside, of course, from Maggie (Lauren Cohan) leaving Hilltop to go hang out with Georgie (Jayne Atkinson).

But it turned out there was at least one pretty significant event that took place fairly early on in that time period we skipped over, and that incident is the reason why Michonne (Danai Gurira) has been a bit more harsh and cautious than she had been before. Michonne had a nearly catastrophic run-in with an old friend named Jocelyn (Rutina Wesley) while she was pregnant that changed her.

That story was detailed in this week’s episode, which was split between the present narrative and the past. It’s a pretty “Lost”-esque way of fleshing out who Michonne is now, making this episode squarely focused on developing her character over progressing the main plot — the war with the Whisperers didn’t move very far this week.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

Interestingly enough, the character of Jocelyn is original to the show and is not someone who Michonne has mentioned before. She’s not a loose interpretation of a comics character repurposed for this arc. She, and this story, are brand new. It’s a fascinating addition, given what we know about the changes the show already made to Michonne’s story from the comics and the fact that we know she’ll be leaving “The Walking Dead” next year.

Let’s talk about who Jocelyn is for a second. She simply showed up one day at Alexandria, severely injured and babbling about other survivors she needed to save. The Alexandrians take on that rescue duty while Jocelyn recovers, and it turns out that she had been shepherding a bunch of children.

Adding a compelling layer to this story is that Jocelyn was a friend of Michonne’s from college, and thus was someone Michonne felt pretty strongly she could trust. But that didn’t last long. After Jocelyn recovered she would hold sleepovers for the other kids who lived in Alexandria, and one night they stole a bunch of food and sneaked out of town — with the Alexandrian kids, including Judith Grimes.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Daryl’s Big Move Takes the Whisperer War In A Very Different Direction From the Comics

The situation ended very poorly, with a pregnant Michonne and Daryl (Norman Reedus) mounting a rescue that ended with Michonne having to kill all the older children under Jocelyn’s care. It turned out that Jocelyn was indoctrinating the kids in a philosophy that was actually pretty similar to that of the Whisperers — you gotta be strong and not soft, trust no one, etc. And the kids worshiped Jocelyn in a very cult-like fashion. But Michonne managed to rescue Judith and the other kids from Alexandria, and also took in some of Jocelyn’s kids. But from then on she was significantly more wary about accepting outsiders, as we’ve seen many times this season since the time skip.

The changes to Michonne’s backstory on “The Walking Dead” show have been largely incidental thus far — she only had one son, instead of two daughters, and that son is very much dead when she first appeared on the show. In the comics, one of Michonne’s daughters ended up at a place the Commonwealth, which is a major plot thread in the next big storyline from the books after the Whisperer War.

Absent that major thread, Michonne sort of naturally becomes expendable in the near term, and this new wrinkle to her personal arc makes her vulnerable because she’s sort of echoing the Rick’s arc before his exit from “The Walking Dead.” A harsh, life-altering situation hardened them before he tried to change for the better — but it was clear that after the war with the Saviors Rick’s worldview did not quite fit with how things really were, and that’s why he knew he had to sacrifice himself.

Also Read: AMC Operating Chief: Third ‘Walking Dead’ Series in ‘Active Development,’ No Premiere Plans Yet

Michonne has always been a character that carried a particularly large amount of baggage, with the death of her three-year-old son in the early days of the apocalypse. That detail in particular makes this new story strike a nerve all the more. It appears by the end of this episode that Judith has softened Michonne’s heart a bit, but this story feeds into the instincts that she’s had all along — that she can’t trust anyone and that she has to handle everything herself. With Rick she was able to share the burden a bit, but he’s long gone now. It’s not hard to imagine Michonne reaching her breaking point sooner than later, especially if the creative powers-that-be behind “The Walking Dead” are choosing this moment to reveal this key plot detail.

With her baggage both from the death of her first son and from this incident with Jocelyn, Michonne feels like she’s headed for a similar situation Rick faced — where she finally feels like she knows what direction she and the people in her charge should take but the reality doesn’t really line up.

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‘Walking Dead’: Daryl’s Big Move Takes the Whisperer War In A Very Different Direction From the Comics

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Spoilers ahead for the March 3 episode of “The Walking Dead” on AMC)

We’re really only a few episodes into the TV show version of the Whisperer War on “The Walking Dead,” and thus far it’s gone largely according to the way the story was laid out in the comic book course material.

There are, obviously, some major differences in personnel with Carl dead and Rick out of the picture thanks to that helicopter, but showrunner Angela Kang and the writers have deftly swapped other characters into those roles. In particular, Henry has stepped into Carl’s shoes and assumed almost exactly Carl’s role in this story.

But if the ending of this week’s episode is anything to go by, the days of the show following the template set by the comics for this whole Whisperers thing are over, with Daryl (Norman Reedus) taking the story in what feels like a new direction.

Also Read: Looks Like ‘Walking Dead’ Is Replacing Carl With Henry for the Whisperers Story

But Daryl’s move was just one of a few bits from this episode that seems to indicate a big upheaval int he storyline could be on the way. Obviously I don’t know what the rest of the season holds, but since the war with the Saviors went very different on the show than it did in the comics, it stands to reason that they’ll continue to stray from the established path now to keep things interesting.

Anyway, let’s get into the details a little bit. In the comics, Carl befriended Lydia and then followed her back to the Whisperer camp, where he was captured and had a few big ideological debates with Alpha about the Whisperers’ troubling philosophy. And Carl was held captive for a while, until Rick found out he was missing and tracked down the Whisperers himself and got into a few ideological debates of his own with Alpha as they discussed how they might settle this budding conflict peacefully. Eventually Alpha lets Rick and Carl leave, and orders them to take Lydia with them because Alpha decides she no longer fits with the Whisperers.

On the show this week we skipped pretty much all of that. Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Henry barely talk to each other, and Henry’s captivity is ended when Daryl and Connie (Lauren Ridloff) use the Whisperers’ own tricks against them by leading a heard of zombies into their camp and pull Henry and Lydia out. This is the sort of development that could just be a shortcut through a slow part of the plot, but I don’t think so. Lydia leaving the Whisperers this way — by escaping rather than being banished — is a huge shift that could have major ramifications.

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In particular, Rick’s meeting with Alpha leads to a sort of informal ceasefire between the communities and the Whisperers — a “you stay out of our territory and we’ll stay out of yours” handshake agreement. And that holds until  a newly free Negan — freed by a character who is already dead on the show — murders Alpha and causes Beta to declare war.

But there’s no way there will be any kind of immediate peace after Daryl and Connie attacked the Whisperer camp, and Alpha is likely to want to get Lydia back again. Instead of having a bit of a lull before this new war really gets going, it looks more like it’s about to get going right now.

I can’t help but wonder if this means that the Whisperer War could actually wrap up this season instead of being drawn out the way the war with the Saviors was. Though with only four episodes left in the season it feels like it could be a tall talk to bring this story to its conclusion that quickly. But we’ll see soon enough, I guess.

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Looks Like ‘Walking Dead’ Is Replacing Carl With Henry for the Whisperers Story

Looks Like ‘Walking Dead’ Is Replacing Carl With Henry for the Whisperers Story

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(Spoilers ahead for the season 9 mid-season premiere of “The Walking Dead” on AMC)

Ever since Carl (Chandler Riggs) died during season 8 of “The Walking Dead” I’ve been wondering how exactly AMC planned on handling the Whisperers storyline without him. In the comics, Carl is sort of the main character of the early part of this plotline, if anyone could be considered such a thing in an ensemble like “The Walking Dead.”

So I assumed that with Carl’s death there would be a pretty significant shakeup in how the Whisperers story is told, especially given how dramatically different that last year or so has been from the comic book source material — in addition to Carl’s death in season 8, season 9 has seen the premature exits of Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Jesus (Tom Payne) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), other key players in this story. But that may have been an erroneous assumption. We’re now one episode into this new arc, and we’re on course so far for it to go pretty much the way it went in the books.

Also Read: Danai Gurira to Exit ‘The Walking Dead’ After Season 10

That does not, of course, mean “The Walking Dead” absolutely will closely follow how the story of the Whisperer War went in the comics. It just means that, despite Carl’s death, it can keep his arc in place for the most part. And that’s because it looks an awful lot like Henry is stepping into Carl’s place for this story.

The show got the ball rolling this week when Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) captured one of the Whisperers on their way back to the Hilltop, and put this teenage member of the nefarious new group in the jail cell next to the one Henry is still in after his drunken incident from before the mid-season break. Henry got to watch as, first, Michonne and Tara (Alanna Masterson) interrogated her, and then Daryl continued the interrogation later on.

This girl, Lydia, (Cassady McClincy), said only that they had just killed the only other living members of her group and that she’s the only one left now. They don’t buy this story, of course, and keep pushing. The girl gets increasingly frantic and upset as the questioning session continues. Until eventually Henry pleads for Daryl to leave her alone.

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About That Wild ‘Walking Dead’ Mid-Season Cliffhanger, Explained

And after Daryl leaves the jail, he sits outside and listens as Henry tries to comfort the girl. It’s easy to see where this is likely going, and it looks an awful lot like Carl’s part of this story in the comics. Carl befriended Lydia and eventually sympathized with her and even broke her out of lockup and went back to the Whisperers camp with her.

Rick and co. then go searching for Carl, eventually making their way to the Whisperer camp themselves and have a kind of summit to discuss this conflict between the communities and the Whisperers. The meeting does not go all that well, and later after Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) makes his big play the war begins in earnest.

How far in this direction that “The Walking Dead” will actually go remains to be seen, of course, but at this moment it looks very much like Henry is going to fit the role on the show that Carl had in the books. This part of the arc would likely play out over the remainder of this season, so I guess we’ll find out how heavily Henry is going to be involved in the very near future.

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‘Walking Dead’ Mid-Season 9 Trailer: Oh, Good – Alpha and Beta Are Here (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Walking Dead” fans finally met the Whisperers on Sunday’s midseason finale — and now the first look at the back half of Season 9 introduces you to their leaders: villains Alpha and Beta.

The 1-minute trailer for the second half of the ninth season of the AMC drama, which will premiere Feb. 10, shows just a quick glimpse at the on-screen versions of the comic book characters, with Alpha’s (Samantha Morton) balding head appearing from behind and far away and a clear full frontal shot of her second in command Beta (Ryan Hurst).

The video isn’t lacking action or pivotal drama, with Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Beta about to face off and Jeffrey Deadn Morgan’s Negan coming back into the Sanctuary.

Also Read: Here’s When the Second Half of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 9 Will Begin

Check out some of TheWrap’s coverage coverage of “The Walking Dead” Season 9 fall finale here.

Watch the trailer above.

The second half of “The Walking Dead” Season 9 premieres Feb. 10 on AMC.

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Here’s When the Second Half of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 9 Will Begin

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The Season 9 mid-season finale for “The Walking Dead” left our heroes — specifically Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Magna (Nadia Hilker) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) — in a pretty precarious position, as they face off for the very first time against a new threat. The Whisperers are coming, and the good guys have no idea what kind of fight they’re in for.

On the “Talking Dead” aftershow Sunday night, host Chris Hardwick revealed exactly how long you’re gonna have to wait for the second half of season 9 to kick off. The mid-season premiere for the ninth season of “The Walking Dead” will go down on Feb. 10, 2019. That is, of course, a Sunday night.

The mid-season premiere will air at the same time as usual, at 10 p.m. ET.

Also Read: That Wild ‘Walking Dead’ Mid-Season Cliffhanger Explained

It likely won’t be quite as eventful a mid-season premiere as season 8 had — that episode, you’ll recall, was the one in which Carl died, and event we knew was coming because of the reveal that he had been bitten by a zombie a couple episodes earlier. We aren’t expecting anything quite so massive, though we did just get a major death in the mid-season finale.

We are however expecting this new war to start for Alexandria and the Hilltop. The Whisperers, this new villainous group that worships zombies, have officially made themselves known and it’s all downhill from here for the good guys. While the first half of season 9 of “The Walking Dead” has been relatively chill by this show’s standards, don’t expect the calmness to last into the second half of the season.

That Wild ‘Walking Dead’ Mid-Season Cliffhanger Explained

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(Spoilers ahead for the season 9 mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” on AMC_

The excellent first half of season 9 of “The Walking Dead” has come to a close, and it did so with one hell of a bang. We got a climactic showdown in a foggy graveyard in the middle of the night, a major character death and a new foe finally revealing itself.

Those of us who have kept up with the major storylines in the “Walking Dead” comics know exactly what just happened, but those who have not might be a little bit confused as we head into the show’s hiatus. So for the sake of those folks, let’s break down that ending real quick.

To recap the situation: the entire episode sees Daryl (Norman Reedus), Jesus (Tom Payne) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) trying to rescue Eugene (Josh McDermitt) while dodging a herd of zombies that seems way smarter than any group of walkers they’d ever encountered before. Plus, as Eugene notes, some of these zombies had been talking as they stalked him.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: So What’s Gonna Happen With Negan After His Big Mid-Season Finale Moment?

Daryl goes his own way to try to draw them off while Aaron and Jesus try to escape with the injured Eugene, but Daryl’s schemes don’t work and the other three men end up cornered in a creepy graveyard in one of the best locations the show has ever spent time in. Aaron and Jesus end up having to fight, but Michonne (Danai Gurira), Magna (Nadia Hilker), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and Daryl eventually catch up to them.

It looks like they’re going to get away, and then suddenly one of the zombies actually dodges Jesus’s blow and stabs him through the back. This shockingly spry zombie then whispers to Jesus as he dies: “You are where you do not belong.”

Our surviving heroes then take down that “zombie” and several of his actually still living compatriots, ending the battle. Then Daryl, inspecting one of the bodies, reveals that this zombie is wearing a masking — tearing it off, we see just a normal-looking dude who had been pretending to be a zombie.

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Then the whispers start up again, everyone looks around in terror, and  the episode ends.

Holy crap. So there is your answer for why those zombies were talking — they actually were not zombies at all. These fake zombies are instead part of a group called the Whisperers, people who essentially worship zombies as the purest form of humanity.

The Whisperers do have a society, albeit a primitive one. They live in camps as nomadic hunter-gatherers, operating under a brutal survival-of-the-fittest brand of law. Basically, the person who proves to be the strongest is the leader, and all sorts of criminal behavior is permitted — if you can’t defend yourself, then you don’t deserve to be defended, more or less.

In the comics there’s more than a hundred of these guys, and they pose a pretty significant threat, thanks to their ability to blend in with and steer zombie herds in whatever direction they want. And now they’re going to come after all the good guys.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Here’s What We Know About Georgie So Far

This certainly looks like it will be very different from the wars that Alexandria and the Hilltop have fought before, though, with this mid-season finale episode taking a full-on horror story approach that the show really has never quite had before.

However this war plays out — it’ll probably take significant liberties from the comic books since Carl and Rick were front and center in that version — this is certainly an exciting new direction for “The Walking Dead.”

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‘Walking Dead’: Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

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(Spoilers ahead for the Nov. 18 episode of “The Walking Dead” on AMC)

Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is gone, but she’s not dead. This week’s episode of “The Walking Dead” revealed that she left the Hilltop with the mysterious Georgie during the big time jump that came at the end of Rick Grimes’ final episode.

And it turns out that may have also been Maggie’s final episode. Clearly, the creatives on the show and the folks at AMC are hedging their bets by not killing her off. But it’s entirely possible she’ll never appear on “The Walking Dead” ever again.

We had heard rumblings of Cohan’s exit from the series all year, following stories of a contentious contract dispute in which Cohan wanted equal pay with other longtime series regulars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus. After signing on to ABC’s “Whiskey Cavalier,” which will debut mid-season, Cohan did say she would be able to come back to “The Walking Dead” for at least part of Season 9.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Everything We Know, and Think We Know, About Georgie

But it looks like that part of the season is now over, as “TWD” showrunner Angela Kang has confirmed that they don’t have plans for her to appear again in Season 9.

This all probably feels like it’s coming totally out of left field, considering how Maggie did not get any kind of real sendoff. Her final (as far as we know) episode also being Rick’s last didn’t help, since the episode basically functioned as Rick’s death episode.

But what AMC is doing with Rick may also be the path for wrapping up Maggie’s story. Two weeks ago, at the end of their final episode, Rick ended up being airlifted by helicopter away from Virginia, and what happens to him wherever he ends up will be the subject of a series of movies.

Also Read: Here’s What You Need to Know About That Talking Zombie on ‘The Walking Dead’

Meanwhile, it’s long been theorized that the helicopter belongs to the same group that Georgie hails from — the Commonwealth, an actual large city of people in Ohio. If that theory pans out, and Georgie’s people are also the helicopter’s people, then there’s plenty of reason for Rick and Maggie to cross paths in this new corner of the “Walking Dead” universe.

But everything remains shrouded in mystery, and it sounds like nobody involved actually knows at this time what Maggie’s fate will end up being. If Georgie actually is with the Commonwealth, then the subject of Maggie is going to have to come up again sooner or later — the Commonwealth is the next big storyline in the comics after the Whisperer War that is about to begin on the show.

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So, at least, you probably shouldn’t expect a Heath (Corey Hawkins) situation — remember how he went out scavenging with Tara and then just never came back, his fate still undetermined? Maggie is so important that her fate will have to be dealt with at some point in the next couple seasons of “The Walking Dead,” even if Lauren Cohan never comes back.

Just don’t expect closure any time soon.

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‘The Walking Dead’: Norman Reedus Says It’s Been ‘Weird As F—‘ Without Andrew Lincoln on Set

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Life on “The Walking Dead” set without Andrew Lincoln is pretty freakin’ weird, according to star Norman Reedus.

“It’s been weird as f–, I won’t lie,” Reedus said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly when asked what it’s been like filming without Lincoln. “I still send him scripts. When no one’s looking, I email him scripts, and he gives me notes still to this day. It was weird, I have to tell you.”

Reedus said the weirdest part wasn’t actually filming without the leading man, but instead, he misses hanging out with Lincoln on set.

Also Read: ‘The Walking Dead’ Showrunner on How Magna, Yumiko and Luke Will Differ From the Comics

“I’ve never not had lunch in my trailer with him in nine years,” he said. “We always get my lunch and go back to my trailer, the two of us. So I just kinda sat there quietly, like, where the f— is Andy right now?”

“That was the hardest part for me. It’s all healed itself, but I have to say eating lunch by myself in my trailer was really, really weird. It made me really depressed. In my trailer right now, one of the chairs in there is covered in blood and it’s from Andy Lincoln’s last day. He had somebody’s blood all over him, and he left my chair covered in blood. And I still won’t let the cleaning guys clean off that chair, because that bloody chair reminds me of Andy every day. The whole trailer’s really clean except for one chair that’s covered in blood.”

Reedus also recalled having some fun on Lincoln’s final day — and sneaking into his last shot.

“The very last scene that we shot, he’s supposed to smile,” Reedus said. “He was supposed to smile, and it was a close-up. So I kept sneaking in and tickling his feet and making him smile on this one line. And I thought it was funny. And he liked it. He kept asking me to keep doing it. So the last scene that he shot on this show, I’m below camera tickling his feet.”

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‘Walking Dead’: Is This the Beginning of the End for Rick?

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(Spoilers ahead for the Oct. 28 episode of “The Walking Dead” on AMC)

So we know that, by some unknown means, that Andrew Lincoln is quitting “The Walking Dead” during this half-season, and thus taking his character Rick Grimes with him. Presumably this means Rick will die, though there’s always the chance that he’ll simply walk out like Morgan (Lenny James) did last year, but he’ll go someplace out of view instead of onto “Fear the Walking Dead.”

But it’s more likely that he’s going to die, because characters very rarely just leave on this show. So, assuming that Rick is going to die, we may have just seen the beginning of the end for him.

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This week’s episode ended on a big cliffhanger for Rick. After he and Daryl (Norman Reedus) managed to get out of the big pit they accidentally rolled into, Rick declared that he was going to stick around and try to lead the incoming herd of zombies away from any of the nearby settlements.

But this plan did not go super well, as Rick and his horse were soon surrounded, and his horse bucked him onto a concrete slab that, unfortunately, had some rebar sticking out of it. And one bit of rebar went right through Rick’s side. So he’s lying there on this slab, rebar in his guts, zombies coming at him from all sides. Looks pretty dire!

It’s not terribly likely, of course, that Rick is gonna die right there on that slab at the beginning of next week’s episode. This week we did get a hint that help was nearby just before things went south, as Maggie (Lauren Cohan) rode up and saw several zombies that Rick and Daryl had killed not long before. So Maggie is in the area when Rick goes down, and it seems like there’s a good chance she’ll help get him out of this specific predicament.

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But the issue for Rick in this moment is not just about whether he’s gonna get eaten by zombies. The rebar in his flank will be a big problem even if he does manage to get away. Considering the way Carl got basically a whole episode to say goodbye to everybody last season, it seems likely they’ll do something similar for the character who has been at the center of “The Walking Dead” since the series premiere way back when.

So if we had to guess, we’d say that Rick will manage to get off that slab, but then will die from his injuries later. But we’ll have to keep watching to find out!

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(Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 9, Episode 3 of “The Walking Dead,” titled “Warning Signs”)

In Sunday night’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” we finally found out who’s been sniping Saviors: Oceanside members whose loved ones were killed by the formerly Negan-run group. In the final scene, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) discover Cyndie (Sydney Park) and other Oceanside residents about to execute Arat (Elizabeth Ludlow), who killed her 11-year-old brother before the war.

Arat begs Maggie and Daryl to intervene, but the two end up walking away, and she’s killed. The scene seems to mark a boiling-over point: Rick has been trying to get all the communities to live peacefully with one another, but there’s still too much history for that to be a realistic goal. The episode ends ominously, with Maggie telling Daryl: “We gave Rick’s way a chance. It’s time to see Negan.”

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Reedus told TheWrap that their decision to turn away from the execution has to do with empowering people to make their own decisions — in part because Maggie and Daryl aren’t feeling empowered themselves, at this point.

“If you’re going to run your area, you need to make decisions,” Reedus said. “They wouldn’t have… not intervened if they didn’t think that that group had the right intentions.” 

Both those characters have been in this world long enough where you can only follow someone so long when you don’t agree with what they’re doing,” Reedus said, referring to the two characters’ disagreements with Rick. “[Rick] is sort of blinded by grief and all these other things, and he has to make this work and for all these reasons but he’s not really listening to the people around him anymore.”

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Jadis Saw That Helicopter Again and We Still Know Nothing About It

A lot of the stuff with Daryl is he just, he is like, dude you’re not hearing me. Like you’re not listening to me,” Reedus said of Daryl’s conflicts with Rick. He added that the seeds of those conflicts between Daryl and Rick were planted in the Season 8 finale.

“And at the end of last season, that very last scene that we shot, it looks like Jesus, Maggie and Daryl are going to turn on Rick — I wasn’t in that scene [at first],” Reedus said. “Maybe an hour before that, they’re, ‘we want to put you in this scene.’ And I was, ‘what are you talking about? I can’t go against Rick. What are you talking about?’ And they were, ‘trust us, it’ll play out later.’ And I was, ‘wait, wait, what?’ So I spent my whole hiatus thinking, ‘oh my god, I’m going to kill Rick, or he’s going to kill me.” 

“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. 

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(Note: This post contains spoilers for the premiere of “The Walking Dead.”)

Well, it’s official — as of the Season 9 premiere of “The Walking Dead,” there’s a new major romance, one that already seems to have its share of complications.

That romance is between Carol (Melissa McBride) and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), something the show has been building toward in small increments for a while now. In the first episode of the new season, “A New Beginning,” we see that in whatever time has passed since the end of the war with the Saviors and now, Carol and Ezekiel have gotten very close.

Also Read: Andrew Lincoln on His ‘Walking Dead’ Exit: ‘Nobody Is Bigger Than the Story’

That Carol and Ezekiel are an item is both great and terrible. It’s great because Ezekiel is probably the best guy in the post-apocalypse on “The Walking Dead,” as well as the best, most stable and most caring leader of any of the folks currently in charge. He deserves good things, and so does Carol, who might be the end of the world’s chief badass. She’s also been through a lot of crap over the years.

But it’s terrible because, at least right now, the Carol-Ezekiel relationship seems to put down one fans have been hoping would come to fruition for basically forever: Carol and Daryl, or “Caryl.”

Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol have had a very close, interesting and mostly unspoken relationship for quite a while now, but while there’s definitely been tension between them, their relationship has never quite become romantic. And now, as the events advance in the rest of Season 9, it seems it might never be. That’s because part way through the premiere, Ezekiel asks Carol to marry him.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’ Leaders Ranked, From Gregory to Maggie to Ezekiel

Then again, maybe what we’re seeing in the premiere episode of “The Walking Dead” Season 9 is a setup for Carol and Daryl to finally come to terms with how they feel about each other.

The first clue that Carol might not be fully ready to settle down with Ezekiel is the fact that she’s clearly resistant to that idea; after all, she doesn’t agree to marry him. Carol is obviously having trouble committing to much more than being in a stable relationship with Ezekiel, and is carrying around plenty of emotional baggage. She’s spent much of the last two seasons distancing herself from friends and even considering leaving the group altogether. While she’s obviously recovered from a lot of that, Carol still has some distance issues even in the premiere episode, keeping Ezekiel at arm’s length.

That’s most obvious when Ezekiel suffers a near-death experience halfway through the episode after nearly tumbling to his death to be eaten by walkers. He’s saved by Daryl and the rest of the group, and after the fact, asks Carol to marry him. She pumps the brakes, partially because she doesn’t want Ezekiel’s proposal to be prompted by the emotions of nearly dying. But by the end of the episode, Carol is headed to Sanctuary and taking some time apart from Ezekiel; she says it’s because Daryl and the others need help, but Ezekiel suspects it’s because he pushed Carol too hard with his proposal.

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So already, “The Walking Dead” is setting up that, while Ezekiel and Carol are together, she’s not quite in the relationship as deeply as he is. At the very least, Carol has some things to work out (like trust and the fear of losing people close to her that we’ve been seeing for quite a while now). There’s conflict in their relationship that’s only going to develop further.

And then there’s the Daryl situation.

Later in the episode, Carol talks to Daryl about Ezekiel’s proposal, and he tells her that she deserves happiness. We see them have a moment of platonic closeness, and it’s clear the pair are still tight.

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Carol’s struggle with getting close to Ezekiel, and then immediately going and talking to Daryl about it, seems pretty suggestive. We can also expect that things aren’t going to be easy for Carol and Ezekiel regardless — this is “The Walking Dead,” after all. It might be that we’re seeing Carol struggling with her feelings, or it might be that the reason Carol can’t fully commit is because of how she feels about someone else, even if she doesn’t fully realize it.

And if we’re talking about what would make for powerful drama and conflict for the show, and twist fans into knots trying to decide how they feel about it, there’s nothing more powerful than a love triangle between three fan-favorite characters. So maybe Carol being with Ezekiel doesn’t quite mean that “Caryl” is fully off the table.

Then again, this is “The Walking Dead,” and nobody’s allowed to be happy for every long in any event. If Daryl and Carol finally got together, as fans want, probably one of them would get killed off immediately afterward.

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(Spoilers ahead for the season 9 premiere of “The Waking Dead” on AMC)

One of the big moments from the season 8 finale of “The Walking Dead” that you may have forgotten about was the creepy scene with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Jesus (Tom Payne) and Daryl (Norman Reedus), in which they discussed how the war with the Saviors ended and how extremely unhappy they were with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) for sparing Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

Rick could have just let Negan bleed out, but he chose not to. Maggie, whose husband Glen was murdered by Negan, was really mad about it. And she seemed to indicate that she planned to take some kind of action against Rick because of it.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’ Leaders Ranked, From Gregory to Maggie to Ezekiel

In case you forgot this scene, it went like this:

Maggie: “We have a lot to do. We have to build this place up. Make it work better than before. Make it thrive for the people who live here. We need our strength. The ability to defend ourselves better. We have to have that.”

Jesus: “We will.”

Maggie: “But Rick and Michonne — Rick was wrong to do what he did. Michonne too. So we’re gonna bide our time. Wait for our moment. And then we’re gonna show him.”

Daryl, stepping out of the shadows: “Yeah. We will.”

Also Read: ‘The Walking Dead’ Teases Rick Grimes’ Final Episodes in New Season 9 Trailer (Video)

There’s not much in the season 9 premiere to indicate that they have plans in motion to oust Rick or otherwise “show him.” Or, at least, there wasn’t a scene in the episode in which they said they were doing something along those lines.

There is movement that could be part of some plan. Daryl, who has been living with the Saviors for a while, is about to move back to Alexandria. Maggie, expressing her frustration with the trade arrangements the Hilltop has with the various other settlements, demanding that she will only help fix the bridge if the Saviors are the ones putting up the manpower.

Those could be pieces in motion, or they could be nothing. It’s possible also that this thread has been abandoned since Andrew Lincoln is exiting the show, or altered in a way that makes whatever Maggie wants to do less sinister than it appeared in last year’s finale. It would probably not help rating much if they had, for example, two of the chief protagonists of the show be responsible for the death of the main protagonist.

Also Read: ‘The Walking Dead’ Showrunner on the Aftermath of Season 9 Premiere’s Big Death Scene

Maggie’s threat was one of the more intriguing threads that “The Walking Dead” left dangling at the end of season 8, though, so let’s hope they don’t just drop it. Given how relatively low key the season 9 premiere was — Gregory’s well overdue death notwithstanding — there’s no doubt some serious drama on the way soon. We’ll see soon enough.

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SPOILER ALERT: This story includes details about the ninth season of The Walking Dead
“It feels like a new show,” Norman Reedus says of Season 9 of The Walking Dead, with Andrew Lincoln leaving, Lauren Cohan shifting over to ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier and …