Caution: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale.
The Walking Dead has aired the season 9 midseason finale and there are plenty of unanswered questions for viewers to ponder over Christmas and New Year. While not as fast-paced as previous finale episodes, "Evolution" certainly delivered a number of huge, dramatic moments and some memorable action sequences. After several weeks of mysterious talking zombies and strangely moving herds, the culprits were finally unmasked as the Whisperers: a primitive group of survivors who blend in with the undead by wearing their skins as a disguise.
Unfortunately, the long-awaited arrival of these new villains brought with it the death of Jesus. While going for a routine zombie head-stab, the man formerly known as Paul Rovia was taken by surprise, as the walker ducked and countered with a blade of his own. Back at Alexandria, Gabriel carelessly left Negan's cell unlocked, allowing the Saviors' former leader to saunter towards freedom, while over at Hilltop, some random teenagers appeared to lead Henry astray.
As The Walking Dead season 9's first part ends, Michonne and the others are surrounded by Whisperers in a suitably creepy graveyard, Negan is on the loose in Alexandria and viewers are left reeling by the death of another major character. Here are the biggest unanswered questions and mysteries coming out of The Walking Dead midseason finale.
- This Page: Walking Dead Questions About The Whisperers
- Page 2: Walking Dead Questions About Negan
- Page 3: Walking Dead Questions About The Communities
What Do The Whisperers Want?
"Evolution" finally saw The Walking Dead's protagonists clash directly with the Whisperers, and the next order of business will be to ascertain exactly what this new group's goals, aims and motivations are. Although this information isn't explicitly provided in the episode, a fairly big clue is included.
As Jesus is brutally murdered, his masked assailant whispers "you are where you do not belong" and thus helpfully provides viewers with a strong indication of what the Whisperers are all about. Both the Governor and Negan were broadly motivated by power and control, seeing the apocalypse as a chance to better their own lives at the (usually bloody) expense of others. The Whisperers, on the other hand, couldn't be more different.
A highly animalistic community, the Whisperers operate on the simple philosophy that if you leave them alone, they will return the favor. Encroach on their territory or hurt their people, however, and they'll stop at nothing to kill you. It's worth remembering that this situation only arose because Gabriel asked Eugene and Rosita to head into unexplored territory and set up a signal booster. Evidently, this territory was not unclaimed. Now that Rosita has escaped and several Whisperers lay dead, a diplomatic resolution to this dispute seems unlikely.
How Many Whisperers Are Out There Exactly?
The climax of The Walking Dead's midseason finale saw Michonne, Magna, Yumiko, Aaron and Eugene quickly take out a batch of Whisperers but they were almost immediately surrounded by a second wave of enemies, their ominous voices echoing through the dense fog. Taking into consideration their constant presence since The Walking Dead's time jump - in herds, in the graveyard and possibly even around Hilltop - it appears that the Whisperers potentially outnumber the residents of Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom.
Part of the reason these villains walk among the undead is to hide their true numbers, meaning the overall size of their group isn't clear, but if the TV show follows the comic books, the Whisperers are very much set to be formidable in number. This explains why Michonne's team take out the first handful of skin-clad assailants so easily; the Whisperers aren't particularly well-trained or heavily-armed, instead their power comes from volume and the way they use walkers to their advantage.
Is The Walking Dead Returning To Its Horror Roots?
One of the foremost criticisms of The Walking Dead in recent seasons has been a shift away from a zombie-based horror approach to a more human-centric drama and, although some might argue that this was always the true essence of the show, it certainly hasn't been as popular with fans. However, does the arrival of the Whisperers herald a brand new era of tension, scares and zombie thrills on The Walking Dead?
Without a doubt, the Whisperers lend themselves more naturally to the horror genre than past villains thanks to their primal tendencies and unique choice of attire, but the way they hunt and kill also brings back some more frightening elements from earlier seasons of The Walking Dead. Instead of another maniacal wannabe dictator to duke it out with, the characters are now faced with a threat in disguise, lurking among the trees waiting to strike silently and who possess a moral code that isn't just undemocratic, it's inhuman.
After nine years, it's difficult to make zombies feel like a genuine, scary threat, and the shift towards human foes was arguably a necessity because of this. But the Whisperers bring back the feelings of horror, suspense and dread to The Walking Dead and make their undead servants a force to be reckoned with once again, rather than just background nuisances - a point brutally driven home by the midseason finale's graveyard battle.