Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale.
The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale, "Evolution," was a slow episode, but it contained enough twists and turns, as well as a major character death, to thrust fans into a long-term discussion that will most likely continue until the TV show returns in early 2019. Unlike past seasons where there has typically been a lot of setting up for later episodes, The Walking Dead season 9 had something going on throughout its entire first-half so far, and that includes multiple time jumps.
Long before The Walking Dead season 9 got underway, the talk amongst fans and the industry, in general, centered almost entirely on Andrew Lincoln's exit as Rick Grimes. As the star of The Walking Dead TV show and an integral character in Robert Kirkman's comic book series, Lincoln's decision to ultimately leave the series in season 9 was a shocking blow to the fandom, even though it's something that he and the producers had been planning for quite some time.
In the end, Lincoln exited The Walking Dead in season 9 episode 5, "What Comes After," which also happened to be Lauren Cohan's final episode as Maggie Rhee. But both of their exits led to a second time jump in The Walking Dead season 9, one that propelled the story six years ahead. And now, with a new time period, and with lots of mysteries regarding what happened in between the time jumps, comes new characters, new story arcs, and, above all, new villains - and all of that came to a head in The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale.
- This Page: Jesus Dies & The Whisperers Are Introduced
- Next Page: What The Whisperer Told Jesus & Where Season 9 Goes Next
What Happened In The Walking Dead Season 9 Midseason Finale
Leading up to The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale, "Evolution," Eugene and Rosita were attempting to draw a herd away from the communities, but that didn't end up going their way. Eugene was injured, and Rosita had to leave him in a barn in order to make it Hilltop and call for help. That's when Aaron, Jesus, and Daryl ride out in search for Eugene. After scouring around the area and seeing a herd of walkers behaving strangely, they end up finding him in a barn late at night. Unfortunately, despite attempting to draw the herd away, the herd caught up with them.
In the end, Aaron, Jesus, and Eugene become trapped in a cemetery late at night. When Michonne, Magna, and Yumiko arrive to help the trio escape from the cemetery, by attempting to open the locked gate, all of them manage to get out except for Jesus, who uses unique skills to kill the walkers coming after them. Sadly, that is when one "walker" dodges his strike and stabs him in the back, whispering into his ear, "You are where you do not belong." Daryl then kills that man and the rest of the group kills the rest of the "walkers" attacking them, but they are left surrounded by the end of the episode.
Elsewhere in The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale, Negan also "escaped" from his prison cell, all because Gabriel forgot to lock the gate after letting out his frustration over Rosita's injury on Negan. While audiences don't see where Negan went, what the former Savior leader decides to do next will surely be a topic of discussion as well as one of many focal points when The Walking Dead season 9 returns in February.
Jesus Dies in The Walking Dead Season 9
Paul "Jesus" Rovia, who's been played by actor Tom Payne since The Walking Dead season 6, dies in The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale, "Evolution." It became clear that Jesus became the leader of Hilltop after Maggie left to be with Georgie, and it was a position that he didn't particularly want to be in, which is why he always took up the opportunity to go out into the open world. Unfortunately, doing that ultimately led to his untimely death in episode 8 this season.
Throughout The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale, the herd of walkers kept following Aaron, Daryl, Eugene and Jesus, no matter where they went. It's because those walkers were being guided by a new group of villains called the Whisperers. It's a threat unlike anything the communities have ever faced before, and coming to head with them for the first time is certainly something that was always going to leave viewers in shock, particularly non-comic book readers. Since these people blend in with the walkers, one of them uses that to his advantage when he dodges Jesus' attack and stabs him in the back, thus killing him. This is most likely not a fake-out; it appears that Jesus is truly dead, which makes sense given that he's already been a focal point in the series since the second time jump.
However, this scene plays out much differently in the source material. Rather than Jesus dying, in the comics (specifically in The Walking Dead issue #134, "From Whispers to Screams"), the Whisperer (possibly Joshua) tells Jesus, "You are where you do not belong," and Jesus is the only person in his group that survives the Whisperers' attack - by killing all of them. In The Walking Dead TV show, however, that Whisperer kills Jesus and then attacks the rest of the show's heroes.
The Walking Dead's New Villains Are The Whisperers
The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale title "Evolution" refers to the walkers "evolving," at least that's how Eugene puts it - but that's actually not the case as Daryl realizes in the episode's final minutes. Yes, the walkers were talking - or, more specifically, whispering - to each other in an earlier episode and that continued in the midseason finale. However, it wasn't the walkers that were whispering to each other but actual people who appeared to be walkers. They are known as the Whisperers.
Ever since the Whisperers appeared in The Walking Dead comics in 2014, comic book fans have been awaiting their arrival in the TV series - and that has now finally happened. Without spoiling too much, the Whisperers are a group of people who've learned to survive by living among the walkers. Simply put, the Whisperers wear the skin of walkers in order to blend in with the herds, and they only communicate in whispers so that the walkers cannot tell that they are alive. It's a simple technique, but one they have mastered.
Furthermore, since they live among the land and only eat what "the land provides," the Whisperers have become almost primitive in that they have rejected everything that made them human, including given names and societal norms. For all intents and purposes, the Whisperers are the polar opposite of everything that Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom have tried to build over the past few years - and that's what makes them dangerous. But it's worth noting that the Whisperers haven't devolved into a purely animal state just yet; they have their rules and the second half of The Walking Dead season 9 will play into all of that.