Well, we don’t have to ask whether Eugene gets Sampson-like strength from his new, longer hair, as when the walkers closed in, he crumpled into the same yellow-bellied-lily-livered-scaredy-cat we’ve known since he first arrived in Season 4. Still, there were plenty of questions posed in last night’s Season 9 Midseason Finale of The Walking Dead, “Evolution”.
While The Whisperers introduced themselves loud and clear, we’re still completely in the dark in regards to their community and guiding principles. Besides that, we’re still trying to piece together the disintegration of the once-powerful alliance between Alexandria, The Hilltop, and The Kingdom. We won’t get any new episodes of The Walking Dead until February, so in the meantime, you can ponder what I consider the most perplexing questions posed during last night’s episode.
Oh yeah, and Jesus died. Not to brag or anything, but we kind of called it in an editorial last week: (SPOILERS) THE WALKING DEAD Midseason Finally Could Be a Bloodbath! Who’s Most Likely to Die/Survive?
Who else are the residents of The Hilltop afraid of?
Remember how everyone working the fields of The Hilltop totally freaked out and ran for cover when the horseman announced that visitors were approaching? The sentinels at the gates were clearly relieved when they saw the group was led by Michonne. Which poses the question, who are they so afraid of? I mean, we know now that The Whisperers are the biggest threat facing the now-independent communities, but they’re new arrivals. We know Rick’s plan to integrate The Saviors failed, but they’ve fractured into looting gangs that hardly pose a threat to the fortified Hilltop. So, if they weren’t afraid of the Alexandrians, and we know they’re still on good terms with The Kingdom, who the hell were they so afraid might be approaching the gates? It’s completely possible I’m reading too much into this; it could just be standard, overly-cautious, zombie-apocalypse survival skills in action. Better safe than sorry.
What happened between Michonne and Carol?
Did you feel the temperature drop about 30 degrees when Carol first saw it was Michonne arriving at the Hilltop? Here we are, still wondering what the hell happened between Michonne and Maggie, now we have to wonder what happened between the President of Alexandria and the Queen of the Kingdom? You could argue that Carole simply felt awkward like someone put in the middle of two feuding friends, but Maggie wasn’t around for her to offend, and still, Carole could barely stand to look at Michonne. Is it simply that Michonne isn’t willing to participate in Ezekiel’s fair? Is it a mixture of having grown apart and Michonne’s increased isolationism? Perhaps, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t feel like more than that.
Who left Negan’s cage unlocked?
Since the 6-year time jump of Episode 7 “Who Are You Now?” we’ve only seen two people interact with Negan: Judith and Gabriel. So, when asking who left Negan’s cell door unlocked, we might as well be asking, “Why did Gabriel leave Negan’s cell door unlocked?” I half expected it was a test with the priest waiting around the corner with a shotgun ready to coax the prisoner back into his cage, but a preview for the remainder of Season 9 showed Negan back at the Saviors’ compound. There really doesn’t seem to be an immediately logical explanation, but we can assume the producers realized that keeping the volatile Negan in a cage wasn’t going to do much to convince fans sitting on the fence to stick around. Negan’s only really interesting when he’s out in the world fucking shit up. We might as well assume that showrunner Angela Kang broke the fourth wall and unlocked Negan’s cell herself!
Do the Whisperers have any identifiable features?
When the camera zoomed in on the meandering herd in the opener, we notice that one of them was wearing a mask; though it made her nearly indistinguishable from the walkers around her, the eyes behind the mask were very much alive. But I found myself asking if there were any other identifying features that would differentiate zombies from their look-alikes? When Daryl attempted to lead the heard away with firecrackers, we noticed that some of them actually moved and guided the herd back onto their original course, but it was too dark to get a good look at them. I mean, it can’t be too difficult to fool a braindead walker, but what should we humans be looking for was we scrutinize every episode in search of Whisperers? They’ve got to have some sort of physical tell, right?
What provoked The Whisperers?
When a Whisperer ducked, spun, and thrust a blade into Jesus’s back, what he said was as shocking as what he had just done: “You don’t belong here.” This poses a cluster of related questions: What are The Whisperers doing? Are they trying to kill all of our human friends or merely asserting their authority? The “you don’t belong” comment insinuates our heroes had stumbled into Whisperer territory, but it’s not like they were setting up shop—just passing through. It seems The Whisperers are extremely territorial, but we still don’t know what exactly provoked them to steer their zombie hordes closer to The Hilltop (and, by proxy, Alexandria and The Kingdom)? Are The Whisperers violent isolationists or are they expanding their own domain? Either way, the stage has been set for the next major conflict in The Walking Dead universe.
Bonus Question: Who else has an X?
I have a theory that the X scars that adorn both Michonne and Daryl are both identifiers and the result of corporal punishment. Perhaps it has something to do with The Hilltop and the bad blood between Michonne (not to mention Daryl’s refusal to affiliate with any community). I could push my theory one way or another if we knew who else has an X scar: Carol? Rosita? Aaron? Of course, if it turns out Tara has an X, there goes my theory that they’re only applied to Hilltop’s persona non-gratis. So, who else has an X scar, and how many do they have? Inquiring minds want to know! (Read more about my X theory in the link below)
“There’s a new enemy when The Walking Dead returns in February.”
What did you think of The Walking Dead’s Season 9 Midseason Finale? Do you have any theories to the questions I’ve posed and/or do you have theories of your own? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!