The Walking Dead: A New Beginning Indeed

Title: The Walking Dead
Network: AMC
Airs: Sundays at 8:00 et/pt
Starring:   Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Melissa McBride
Rating: TV-MA
Reviewer: Sammie Gregg
FA Scorecard: A

One episode into season 9 and I’m already dying for the next one. There were a lot of things about this season that I was a little nervous about (time jump, knowing we’re losing that one character, and new showrunners – to name just a few) but I’m honestly loving it. Though I’m a bit biased since I’m a Richonne shipper. Scenes of domestic bliss are just wonderful.

But back to the episode…

Let’s take a moment to talk about that opening title sequence. Teases were released about this new title card, given what’s happening with

. This new one is absolutely stunning, visually appealing and tickling at my curiosity. I feel like every time I look at it, I see something new, and I love it!

Speaking of spoilers, if you haven’t seen the episode yet, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. Seriously. This review is spoiler-laden! Proceed at your own risk!

Angela Kang knew what she was doing when she wrote this episode. They did such a great job showing how each of our big communities are doing. These are, of course,  where most of our people are stationed. Alexandria seems settled with Rick, Michonne, and little Judith all living peacefully. Hilltop is thriving with its crops. The Kingdom is still recovering, but doing well. The only place not doing well is the Sanctuary. As Daryl so kindly pointed out, “it’s a factory.” Basically, it’s really bad at growing just about anything.

One of my favorite things from the entire episode was how much Maggie grew up. When she started calling herself Maggie Rhee in season 7 (episode 5 if you’re interested) I was thrilled. I think that was the first time I remember hearing her call herself a Rhee. In this episode, she’s become more than Glenn’s widow. She’s a mother and a leader, trying to do the best she can.

Gregory, the former Hilltop leader, is still a sniveling coward though. He’s trying to take back control. When he fails at manipulating a man into trying to kill Maggie, she punishes him for it. No exile this time, or being thrown in a prison cell. This time, Gregory was executed. To me, this shows a huge amount of growth from last season for Maggie. Last season, she wasn’t even hesitating to shoot Saviors and let them turn before sending them back to Negan. It was cold and ruthless. Now, however, she’s taking the time to think before making a decision. She didn’t punish the man who’d been drunk, even though he was the one that attacked her. Maggie took out the one who’d gotten that ball rolling by sticking Gregory on the back of a horse and putting a noose around his neck. It wasn’t rash or in the heat of the moment. She could have easily cut his throat and killed him earlier, but she waited. This is the Maggie I’ve been waiting for.

With a start this strong, I can only hope the first half of the season will continue upward. I’m not looking forward to the mid-season finale since Rick Grimes is my man, but Angela Kang and the rest of the crew are giving me hope.

 

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