Caution: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead Season 9 premiere
AMC released a video of the most shocking scene from the season 9 premiere of The Walking Dead. Ahead of the episode's airing, both cast and crew promised a new-look The Walking Dead that returned to the tone of previous seasons. Thanks to a two-year time jump, Alexandria and its allies are now a thriving network of communities and the flesh-hungry dead little more than an inconvenience to the hardened survivors. In another huge change for the show, The Walking Dead season 9 is set to see the departure of lead actor Andrew Lincoln, who is confirmed to be stepping away from his role as Rick Grimes.
Last night's season premiere saw Rick desperately trying to keep order and ease the rising tensions within the Sanctuary, while also leading a supply run to a museum that involved dragging heavy machinery over a glass floor, with zombies lurking ominously underneath. Unsurprisingly, this did not go to plan, but the group escaped unscathed nevertheless. Alas, the only victim of Rick's supply run was honorary redshirt Ken, however the episode would later see the demise of a far bigger character.
Indeed, former Hilltop leader Gregory was brutally hanged by Maggie as punishment for an attempt on her own life. Still sore about losing his position of power, Gregory orchestrated a botched assassination and was immediately put to death, much to the shock of Rick and Michonne who were present at the time. AMC released a video of the shocking moment online, chillingly titled "The Consequences of Betrayal."
In an episode that was very heavy on dialogue and light on action, the hanging of Gregory was undoubtedly one of the most dramatic and significant moments. The scene didn't shy away from the brutality of Maggie's decision and, after Rick and Michonne's pledge to establish a legal charter for the communities, a huge narrative wedge was driven between the Alexandria and Hilltop leaders that will likely become a key arc of season 9.
Readers of the The Walking Dead comic book series will know that Maggie executing Gregory is a story taken straight from the source material, although the circumstances behind the betrayal are somewhat different. In the comics, Tammy's son attacks Sophia but is caught and soundly beaten by Carl Grimes. Maggie stands by Carl's actions and this is where Gregory steps in to take advantage. The rest of the story plays out more or less the same as the AMC adaptation until the hanging itself which is not directly witnessed by Rick Grimes in the comics.
Interestingly, comic-Rick is disturbed by Gregory's execution and promises to put Maggie straight, however he quickly forgives her due to more pressing issues such as the Whisperers. It appears as though Rick's reaction won't be quite as cut and dry on television, as he and Michonne are determined to return to a more civilized model of crime and punishment.
The Walking Dead season 9 continues with "The Bridge" October 14th on AMC.