AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 9, Episode 2: “The Bridge”
Directed by Daisy Mayer
Written by David Leslie Johnson
* For a recap & review of the Season 9 premiere, “A New Beginning” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Warning Signs” – click here
Ole Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is sitting down with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), telling him how “things are really taking shape” in their new society. Everybody’s pitching in to make their communities work together, rather than fighting separately for survival. It’s partly an update from Rick, partly him rubbing things in Negan’s face. Now, there’s no confirmation yet this is who the former Sheriff Grimes is talking to, that’s just Father Gore’s bet.
The latest project for the communities is a bridge to make trade more accessible and safe. Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Carol (Melissa McBride) look after Henry (Macsen Lintz) like he’s their child. Their relationship’s sweet— two bad ass warriors together. Right now the two of them are separated a little, each working in different places until things become more stable. Then there’s Eugene (Josh McDermitt) putting that big brain to good use again helping his friends. Meanwhile, Siddiq (Avi Nash) is teaching Enid (Katelyn Nacon) how to do basic medical work, so eventually they might have a few people around the communities who’ll be capable of keeping everyone alive.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) goes to see Maggie (Lauren Cohan). They chat about the “ethanol” situation at the Sanctuary. Hilltop’s not getting the required trade for their deal, so their leader’s not willing to budge on any extras in the meantime. Then there’s the old guy Earl (John Finn), locked away for trying to kill Maggie, which puts the crops behind more, too.
“We’re getting back a piece of who we used to be”
On the bridge, Justin (Zach McGowan) takes too much water while Henry’s passing out rations. He knocks the kid over when confronted. Things get nasty once Daryl (Norman Reedus) steps in, getting a punch in the face for his trouble, starting a full on brawl between the two men. Rick rushes in as more people get involved, including Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Jed (Rhys Coiro). He stops it, but there’s trouble. Rick doesn’t want to stir up shit and he finds Carol and Daryl disagreeing with him, knowing some guys won’t ever “fall in line” because of what’s happened between the groups. There’s a real division going on specifically between Daryl and Rick.
Michonne can see things aren’t perfect under Maggie. She goes to Jesus (Tom Payne), stressing a need to “build something that‘s bigger than any one of us.” Going from one leader doing what they want to another leader doing what they want, only in a different way, is staying stuck in one place. Jesus talks to Maggie, wanting to let Tammy (Brett Butler) see her husband. He’s able to get through to her, and Tammy gets to talk with Earl a minute. This leads to Maggie sitting with Earl, asking about his drinking, their family, and she gets a human look at him, rather than seeing him solely as the guy who tried to kill her for Gregory.
Rosita (Christian Serratos) is working on setting off charges to draw a big horde of walkers. Up in a lift, Tara (Alanna Masterson) sees them and calls down to Rick a.k.a “Mother Goose” to let him know the walkers are on their way, and their plan’s going ahead as scheduled. At another location, Jerry (Cooper Andrews) sounds a horn to draw them further. But there’s a problem with another one of their sirens, and if it doesn’t go off the bridge crew are going to meet a hideous pack of zombies soon.
At the bridge, Daryl already notices the horde coming from the trees. In the chaos, Aaron gets his arm trapped under a log when Jed leaves him hanging. Daryl and a couple others get him free with a crushed arm, while Rick and his crew do some killing. Our Sheriff uses some of the logs to roll a bunch of the undead into gory bits— an awesome moment! Poor Aaron only has Enid there to look after him, and she determines the only way they’ll stop the bleeding is amputate and cauterise the wound.
After the amputation, Daryl’s raging. He finds Justin fell short on leading the horde, so he kicks the living shit out of him until Carol stops it. “There‘s only one way to deal with these assholes,” he tells her. This is absolutely going to fester if something’s not done. Such is the struggle: Maggie’s over there executing and not getting any further ahead as a leader, Rick’s trying a soft hand approach and finding the same results. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Justin’s pushing his luck, talking to Rick like he’s a tough guy. The former Sheriff schools him on a few things about how their community’s going to run. He tells Justin to leave, and the guy doesn’t hesitate to hit the road. Afterwards, Rick goes to see Aaron, who’s without one arm but alive. He feels guilty, and responsible, for what happened. And that’s the price one pays for being the leader, taking responsibility for the lives of everyone else. For his part ,Aaron sees it as the start of a new world, instead of only being the end of one.
“Some people can be redeemed. But others can’t.”
Everybody’s relaxing by the fire, like a giant family. Rick can at least feel good about keeping people together for one more day. Back to the beginning, where he’s sitting in that dark space talking to someone we haven’t yet seen. As expected, it’s Negan, still recovering from his cut throat, talking in a grisly mumble from behind a jail cell. He continues putting doubt into the former Sheriff, and Rick keeps insisting everything’s going fine. This relationship is no less antagonistic than it was last season. Negan calls the bridge they’re building a “monument to the dead.” He’s insistent he’ll be back to make things horrible for them all again someday.
Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) notices something in the sky on watch in the lift. It sounds and looks like a helicopter. Who could that be? Elsewhere, Justin walks alone on the road. He hears noise nearby in the trees, and an unseen person grabs him. The Whisperers? Father Gore’s sure of it.
Solid follow-up to the premiere. Nice to see Negan again, the rotten bastard.
“Warning Signs” is next time.