10:05 pm EST, February 10, 2019

‘TWD’ 9×09 review: Mid-season premiere delivers solid character interactions

The Walking Dead came out the corner swinging with a solid season 9B premiere. “Adaptation” deals with the aftermath of Jesus’ untimely demise, introduced important new characters, showed some great interaction between fan faves, and possibly set up some impending deaths.

It’s no secret that Jesus was severely underutilized in the TV series, so it was extremely sad to see him lying lifeless in the graveyard of doom. The impact of his loss was particularly felt when Michonne, Daryl, Magna, Eugene, and company rode dejectedly into the Hilltop with Jesus body hanging over a horse.

He has been a critical part of their community long before Rick’s group came in to the picture and, despite his frequent objections to being a leader, he had always been seen as a valued person at Hilltop. It remains to be seen how Maggie will react when (or if) she returns in the future, but Enid and Tara were particularly crushed to lose a close friend.

Jesus got a proper sendoff of sorts with a funeral and his death officially set the Whisperer arc in motion. And, it has left a deep mark on most of the main characters who have had a close relationship with him for years.

Guess who is particularly pissed about everything? Michonne and Daryl. They have obviously endured some things together during the time jump (those X scars have to mean something right?) and it was nice to see them have some shared moments throughout the episode.

Their chat about regrets over not finding Rick’s body to bury him at Alexandria and the necessity for Daryl’s leadership at the Hilltop was wonderful. The show focused heavily on the Daryl/Rick broship but now there is a bond between Daryl and Michonne.

For all of his faults, Daryl is a much better bro than Shane because he understands that taking care of his buddy’s wife doesn’t mean trying to sleep with her.

As a matter of fact, Daryl was awesome in general in this episode. He had zero availability for Lydia’s lies, shot a Whisperer in the leg, actually talked and made lots of sense, and is still hanging out with his good ole dog.

It’s clear he is being prepped to be the lead of this show, especially with Danai Gurira’s exit at the end of Season 10, and hopefully his continued growth stemming from Jesus demise will help him step into that role.

Michonne was awesome as usual. She reminded fans that she is still a certified boss with her katana on the bridge, gave Daryl the pep talk he needed, and made the decision to protect her community from this new threat.

Yes, she has caught some heat for only focusing on Alexandria but this makes sense for her because is undoubtedly HER community and home. She was the person who fought for them to come and stay there and she helped to rebuild it several times after various incidents.

It’s where she shared a home with Rick, buried her son Carl, and likely where she gave birth to RJ. As a mom, it’s her duty to take care of home and her dependents first.

This is an interesting approach, especially after everyone was critical of Maggie looking out for the Hilltop above all else earlier this season. The only conclusion is that whatever bad thing(s) happened during the time jump that caused a shift in her philosophy.

I am always and forever #TeamMichonne…except when it came to killing Negan. Jeffery Dean Morgan is a good-looking dude, but Negan generally works my nerves.

However, this might be the first episode where I really, really liked him. His conversation with Judith, who is honestly the best, as he tried to scale Alexandria’s wall was golden.

And, it was even funnier when she actually shot at him and told him to go back to Alexandria. I don’t know if I believe he is really going to go back, but it’s possible that he will become a part of #TeamAlexandria.

I was very against this friendship, but now I am kind of digging their chemistry. His excellent solo adventure was surprisingly fun to watch and I almost wouldn’t mind a bottle episode or a miniseries about him trying to rough it on his own.

It was interesting to see him get back into the swing of killing walkers after spending several years in prison. And, his trip down memory lane absolutely made sense as he hopefully came to terms with what his life was and where it can go at this point.

He appeared to go back to the clearing where he murdered Glenn and Abraham, but this time he was on his knees vomiting. The Sanctuary trip was also necessary to give him some time to reminisce, pout, and show that the Saviors are no longer a thing. Thank God.

It was fun to see him find a new leather jacket (gotta keep his fashion game tight) and get chased around by a few dogs because there are few moments where he expresses sheer fear.

This episode also gave fans a chance to catch up on the tea around the communities and establish some new friendships. Tara finally squashed whatever beef she had with Michonne after capturing Lydia and realizing that she will need her help and guidance during this transitional time.

Enid and Magna shared a nice moment as they worried about Alden and Luke’s dumb duo adventure. Seriously, if they thought Michonne, Jesus, Daryl, Magna, and Yumiko couldn’t handle whatever threat was out there, then why the heck would you send these two jokers out into the wild.

Both of them are on my “y’all gonna die” list and it seems to be a strong possibility after they both ran into Alpha and crew at the end of the episode.

Rosita made an appearance and basically broke poor Eugene’s heart. The pair were together in the comics, but that storyline has been pretty much squashed in the TV series after Rosita told Siddiq she was carrying his child.

Wait, what?! Isn’t she supposed to be with Father Gabriel? Poor Eugene was ready to declare his love for Rosita before she ran outside to vomit due to early morning/all day sickness.

Honestly, I have been on the Rosita/Siddiq ship for a while so it’s kind of delightful, even if I do feel sorry for Eugene and Gabriel. But, it’s also kind of sad because I really feel like Rosita might meet her comic death this season.

It would be sad to see a pregnant woman beheaded but I am not sure what they are doing with her character overall.

There was also the setup of Henry and Lydia’s relationship while they sit in prison together. I can’t help but think how much more I would actually care if Carl was still here to take on this role. Sigh.

Hello? Carol? Are you there? There’s hasn’t been enough her overall this season and she’s absent in this episode.

It’s like the Kingdom is over in some dark little corner and no one cares about them anymore, which really sucks because they were doing pretty well before they decided to join All-Out War. Tough luck y’all.

I’m looking forward to next week’s episode and how the communities will handle this new threat without Rick’s guidance.

Our Score

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