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The Walking Dead Season 9 Ending & What It Means For Season 10 Explained

Warning! MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for The Walking Dead season 9 finale.

The Walking Dead season 9 finale, "The Storm", is a surprisingly subdued episode when compared with the previous episode, "The Calm Before", but it manages to set up quite a lot of storytelling potential for The Walking Dead season 10. The AMC series' ninth season has been a real return to form for the show, salvaging itself from what had been an increasingly downward turn in quality (even if it has yet to salvage The Walking Dead's ratings).

Much of the reason for The Walking Dead season 9's critical success can be attributed to its terrifying new villains, the Whisperers, and their even more frightening leader, Alpha. These people who choose to live among walkers, disguising themselves with masks made from the skins of the dead, have brought a whole new energy to the AMC show, reinvigorating it after the drawn out war with the Saviors and its aftermath. In season 9's penultimate episode, Alpha and her Whisperers slaughtered 10 people, proving themselves as one of (if not) the most dangerous villain the survivors have ever come up against.

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Related: Who Was On The Radio In TWD Season 9 Finale?

In season 9, The Walking Dead also brought personal relationships back to the forefront, reminding audience why they enjoyed these characters in the first place. For the season 9 finale, the characters and their relationships are again what takes center stage as they must rely on each other to survive an intense and brutal winter storm. The experience leaves several characters in different places - both geographically and emotionally - and it teases several plots which could be the setup for where The Walking Dead goes next in season 10.

The Tease of Maggie's Return

Maggie The Walking Dead Season 9

Early on in The Walking Dead season 9 finale, Michonne and Yumiko are discussing the inability of Alexandria's council to make any decisions about what to do next. Michonne asks her if they've heard anything from Maggie - who in the interim of the time jump left to join Georgie in helping some other community far away - but Yumiko says they have not, though they've sent a second letter in hopes of reaching her. There has been some correspondence with Maggie since she left - most notably in season 9 episode 7, "Stradivarius", which sees Jesus reading a recent letter from Maggie - but it appears that it's now been months since anyone's heard from her.

Maggie's departure from The Walking Dead was purposefully left open-ended, making it possible for the character to return once actress Lauren Cohan's schedule would allow. This attempt at reaching out to Maggie with letters that surely detail the survivors' run-in with the Whisperers - especially their recent attack on the fair - could very well be what brings Maggie back. She may even already be on her way back, having possibly received just one letter about the Whisperers and deciding to return, which could be why she hasn't replied to any of their recent letters. The fact is we simply won't know until season 10 airs (or if there's an official announcement about Cohan's involvement), but if these letters aren't preparing for Maggie's return, then perhaps the radio does.

The Commonwealth on the Radio

Eugene Reparing the Radio on The Walking Dead Season 9

At the very end of The Walking Dead season 9 finale, after Ezekiel and Judith finish their chat across the two-way radio, sign off, and leave, another voice comes through the speaker - crackly and faint but seemingly asking the now empty room if anyone's there. It's a tease the AMC series has been building to all season long, first with Eugene's work at repairing the radio, then Gabriel's attempts at reaching out, and now Ezekiel using it to talk with the other communities. Eventually, someone else was bound to pick up on their radio communications. But who is it?

Our best guess is it's someone from the Commonwealth, a very large and technologically advanced community that in The Walking Dead comics comes in contact with the survivors thanks to the two-way radio. Similarly to what's already been happening on AMC's The Walking Dead, Eugene of the comics begins communicating with a woman named Stephanie from the Commonwealth. After feeling each other out, they agree that their two communities should officially meet and a delegation is sent from Alexandria to the Commonwealth (which isn't nearby at all, but rather hundreds of miles away in Ohio!).

Related: Walking Dead Is Already Setting Up The Commonwealth For Season 10

Now, many fans already suspect that Georgie and her group are connected to the Commonwealth, and that she may even be the AMC series' version of the Commonwealth's leader, Pamela. If that's the case, then the Commonwealth getting in touch with the survivors over the radio may be what brings Maggie back to The Walking Dead. Either that, or the Commonwealth will be its own thing, unrelated to Georgie's group. Of course, the voice on the radio could also be completely unrelated to the Commonwealth and AMC's The Walking Dead is continuing to chart their own path. Not until season 10 will we know for sure.

The Kingdom Moves to Hilltop

Kingdom moves to Hilltop on The Walking Dead season 9

In the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead season 9, the Kingdom was dealt an immense blow when 10 people were kidnapped during the inter-community fair, killed and decapitated, then had their re-animated heads stuck on pikes. While not all were Kingdom residents, having the attack happen to those gathered there for the fair makes it all more personal for that community because it means Alpha invaded their home. Now that home is falling apart, and in their grief, the Kingdom is forced to pack up and abandon it.

The scenes of Ezekial, Carol, and the rest of the Kingdom saying goodbye to what at one point was the safest and most well-established of the nearby communities is heartbreaking. And coming off last week's massacre, the failure of the Kingdom feels like a twist of the knife - not to mention, they're made to endure the ensuing blizzard in order to reach their new home. "The Storm" ends with (almost) all of the Kingdom's residents moving in to Hilltop, merging the two communities into one (Kingtop, if Jerry gets his way). And while it makes sense not only for the characters' survival, it will also certainly have an impact on The Walking Dead's narrative.

Come The Walking Dead season 10, tensions may rise as the two very different groups of people are made to live in close quarters. Character who previously only interacted on an occasional basis will now be around each other on a daily basis. And who will lead them? Will the residents of Hilltop just accept Ezekiel as their king? Or will there be an election to choose their leader as the more democratic Hilltop has done in the past?

Page 2 of 2: Ezekiel & Carol Are Over; Negan Is Good Now?

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