The Walking Dead recently got renewed for a tenth season, just in time for the back end of the ninth season to air. Season 9 of the show has brought on some exciting developments, like the departures of both Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan, who have been starring on the show for years.
As usual, we’ve had to say goodbye to a number of recurring characters who have met their end at the hands of the undead – or the living. So, just before Season 9 returns for its last five episodes, here is Everything You Need To Remember Before The Midseason Premiere.
8 The first half of the season had a six-year time jump
After Rick Grimes left the show in that weird helicopter sequence, The Walking Dead jumped forward six years in its story’s timeline. It came a little abruptly and was signified to us when Judith, now 11 years old, turned up to kick some zombie ass and save some people’s lives.
Following that reveal, we were suddenly six years into the future. Since The Walking Dead has been utilizing flashbacks a lot more in recent seasons, it wouldn’t be surprising if the second half of Season 9 includes some flashbacks to the six-year period that the first half skipped over, especially since it happened so suddenly.
7 There’s beef between all the communities
We’re not completely clear on what happened to the three main survivor communities – the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and Alexandria – in the six-year time leap, but all of a sudden, there seemed to be some serious beef between all of them. In particular, Tara is really irked by something and she appears to have a weird, standoffish relationship with Michonne.
Hopefully, in the second half of this season, we’ll see some flashbacks to that six-year period that fill in some of the blanks in the story. If these characters are all going to have beef, then we need to have context.
6 There’s a debauched group of teens at the Hilltop
As it turns out, there’s a depraved group of teens getting trashed every night and messing around with a walker they’ve captured. Henry discovered them when he was all bummed out about the girl he liked, Enid, dating another guy. They hung out all night and got really drunk, with Henry being punished by being locked in a prison cell.
Post-apocalyptic laws on alcohol use are pretty strict, as it turns out. So, now that we know there’s a group of heavy-drinking teens getting up to no good at the Hilltop, are we in for a sort of The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets Dawn of the Dead?
5 A couple of main cast members are gone
The first half of Season 9 saw two main cast members depart from The Walking Dead: Andrew Lincoln, who has played Rick Grimes since the very first episode and will reportedly now play Rick in a trilogy of spin-off movies, and Lauren Cohan, who has played Maggie Greene since the second season and had to leave due to her commitment’s to ABC’s new drama series Whiskey Cavalier.
So, we’re going into the second half of the season minus a couple of the show’s most significant characters. Both actors could easily come back, since their characters didn’t die, but that won’t be happening any time soon.
4 Daryl has a pet dog now
After Norman Reedus reportedly bugged the producers “for years” to give his character Daryl Dixon a pet dog, they finally relented and let him have one. He met his dog while enjoying his self-imposed exile after watching what he thought was Rick’s death. Dogs have made faithful sidekicks in a number of great post-apocalyptic stories.
Mel Gibson had a dog in The Road Warrior and Will Smith had a dog in I Am Legend, so Daryl’s dog is joining a long line of canine companions who have helped to get people through the end times. The real dog’s name is Seven (perhaps he was named by George Costanza).
3 Jesus is dead
The midseason finale marked the final appearance of Paul Rovia, better known by his nickname “Jesus,” as he lost his life. As with any Walking Dead character, there’s every chance he’ll reappear in flashback scenes or dream sequences, but this was at least his final regular appearance.
He was in a cemetery with Aaron and Daryl and he went to take out a walker – or what looked like a walker – when the walker ducked out of the way, pinned him down, told him he didn’t belong there, and stabbed him. That was no walker. It was a guy wearing the skin of a walker.
2 Negan has escaped
Rick’s decision to spare Negan and instead lock him in a prison cell has been a controversial one since the end of the last season. Time and time again, he vowed to kill this guy, and Negan gave him plenty of reasons to do it. But then when he had the chance, Rick decided to leave him alive, against Maggie’s wishes.
The last time we saw Negan, he realized in the middle of the night that his cell door had accidentally been left open and he just walked out. It’s highly implausible that someone would just leave the door open like that, but anyway, Gabriel did, and now, Negan has escaped from captivity. What he’ll do next is anyone’s guess.
1 The Whisperers have arrived
Daryl was the first to notice that something was up with the walker that killed Jesus. It, and a few other walkers, were whispering. Then he realized they were living humans wearing walker skin – just in time for the sinister new group to surround them. This group is aptly named the Whisperers in the comics and it looks like they’ll be the next big group to contend with our heroes after they defeated the Saviors. It’s about time, too.
Fans have been waiting for the Whisperers to show up on the series for years. Some people thought the group that turned out to be the Wolves back in season 5 would turn out to be the Whisperers. Better late than never.