Ezekiel & Carol Are Over
Not everyone from the Kingdom remains at Hilltop. Carol chooses to return to Alexandria alongside Michonne, Daryl, and Lydia. Ezekiel's and her relationship is over, at least for now. (Carzekiel is dead.) Throughout The Walking Dead season 9 finale, we see the distance between them growing, with Carol receding back within herself. Carol's reaction to Henry's death mirrors the change that occurred in her following Sophia's death, and because of that, she cannot make her relationship with Ezekiel work.
Ezekiel, in turn, is crushed but seemingly understands Carol's actions as well as her decision to leave. Not that it makes it any easier for him, but Ezekiel in no way tries to stop her from going and tells Carol he will always love her. Interestingly, he also call out Daryl earlier in the episode, implying that things would be better between Carol and him if Daryl wasn't around. Of course, the idea of Carol and Daryl being a romantic item is nothing new, but having another character in the show recognize the possibility is. Might The Walking Dead be setting up some love triangle aspect for season 10? Hopefully not as the dramatic potential there is really predictable, but it's clear The Walking Dead will continue focusing on the relationship between Carol and Daryl, whether romantic or not, since they look pretty darn happy to be back at Alexandria.
What's Next for Negan?
Speaking of Alexandria, The Walking Dead season 9 finale sees Negan come full circle in the redemption arc the series has been building since he began his jail sentence in Rick's basement. He may still, at times, act like an asshole, but it's a shadow of the man he used to be. Gabriel even calls the jabs he makes over the unusual family situation that now exists between pregnant Rosita, her baby's father, Siddiq, and himself too easy, as if Negan's lost his touch.
The real sign that something has changed for the better in Negan comes when he rescues Judith from the blizzard, impressing even Michonne with his selfless act to save her daughter's life. The Walking Dead season 9 has obviously been developing this oddly endearing relationship between Negan and Rick Grimes' daughter, but his actions during "The Storm" demonstrates the lengths at which he'll go to protect her. Does this mean Negan's a good guy now? It's hard to say just how much leeway he's earned from Michonne, but it's very likely that come The Walking Dead season 10, Negan will no longer be their prisoner but instead their ally against the Whisperers.
Where Are Alpha & Beta?
Shockingly, the Whisperers are barely even in The Walking Dead season 9 finale. No, the adversary that the survivors are up against in "The Storm" is, well, the storm. But there is a short scene of Alpha and Beta before the episode ends, clearly meant to set up some terrible things to come in season 10. Not only does the scene's warm and pleasant setting confirm that Alpha took her people far away from the survivors' communities in order to avoid the intense winter storm, but Beta's and her interactions imply that Alpha is even more of a deeply disturbed woman that we initially thought.
In preparation for what we can only assume will be an attack that truly kicks off the Whisperer War, Alpha has Beta strike her arm repeatedly with a switch, leaving welts in some act of penance to make her stronger for what comes next. It's a disturbing scene, implying that the relationship between Alpha and Beta is even more twisted than initially presented. The Walking Dead season 9 has already introduced their version of Alpha as a crueler and more sadistic iteration of the character than that of the comics, but this just takes it to a whole new level.
The Whisperer War
That scene of Alpha and Beta at the end of "The Storm" is meant to remind audiences that while the season 9 finale may have focused mostly on the personal struggles of its characters, there's a bigger conflict right around the corner - the Whisperer War. Ever since these new and sickening villains appeared on The Walking Dead, the expectations have been that sooner rather than later the Whisperer War is happening.
As it turns out, this latest war is being saved for The Walking Dead season 10, but there's no doubt it's what's coming next - after all, Alpha didn't just show Daryl that massive herd the Whisperers have gathered for nothing. Once the Whisperers return to the region, they will likely be able to tell that the survivors crossed the border into their land. Either that, or there will be another instance of such trespassing, but something will happen that triggers the Whisperers to unleash that herd.
Luckily, after all these years, the survivors are more than experienced at killing walkers. They even pretty good at controlling herds. Still, a herd the size of which the Whisperers have coming all at once is going to be an incredible challenge. Alexandria and Kingtop are going to need all sorts of help if they hope to survive it. Whether that means a return from Maggie, an acceptance that Negan might be good guy, or some assistance from the Commonwealth remains to be seen, but The Walking Dead season finale leaves those plots and more as real possibilities for season 10.