AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 9, Episode 6: “Who Are You Now?”
Directed by Larry Teng
Written by Eddie Guzelian
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “What Comes After” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Stradivarius” – click here
In the wake of Rick Grimes leaving in a helicopter, though presumed dead by his friends, The Walking Dead is jumping ahead a bit. No official timestamp. Judging by the size of little Judith (Cailey Fleming), it’s 6+ years.
We see Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), and all the others keep on living. They’ve tried to go on without the one they followed so loyally for so long. And they’ve gone on, they’re alive, they’re well. But some of them can’t help looking back to the past: “Because the path ahead has only grown darker.” Although Rick is gone, for however long, perhaps maybe forever, he’ll never be forgotten, and neither will those he left behind forget that LIFE and LIVING is the most important of all. A beautiful visual reminder of this sees Daryl walking in the woods, where he witnesses a bird perch on the shoulder of a walker, and Michonne finding a cowboy figurine, as well as Carol seeing a flower struggling to grow out of the concrete.
In the woods, Rosita (Christian Serratos), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Laura (Lindsley Register), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) search for Judith, who’s bringing back a group of people she found in distress recently. The group consists of Luke (Dan Fogler), Magna (Nadia Hilker), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Kelly (Angel Theory), and Connie (Lauren Ridloff). It’s nice to see ole Eugene as a different person after so long being cowardly, he’s found his inner warrior. Speaking of warriors, Judith’s following in dad’s footsteps, refusing to turn her back on those in need out in the post-zombie apocalypse wasteland.
The Kingdom’s falling apart and everybody’s pitching in to try patching it back up. Young Henry (Matt Lintz) is grown up, putting his back into the manual labour. He’s the kind-of-adopted son of Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Carol, which has them navigating family life and all its issues together. Could you have two more bad ass adopted parents, though? Ma and Pa Ass Kicker.
At Alexandria, Judith and the others arrive with the new group. The new people are surprised to see the community built up there, from a windmill to crops to new buildings and houses. Of course people are reluctant to see new faces, unsure of outsiders being let inside their safe community. Michonne soon arrives to meet the people her daughter brought back, and Alexandria’s going to have a vote about whether to let them stay.
The new group tells everyone about themselves, answering the questions asked of them by Alexandria’s council. “Who were you before?” and “Who are you now?” are the most important of those questions. Michonne – who’s not only a member of the council but head of security – wants to know more about Magna, because the woman is hiding a prison tattoo and a knife in her belt buckle. Suddenly, there’s more than meets the eye. Then again, perhaps the woman’s only trying to protect herself like any of those in Alexandria would be doing, too.
“Education never ends. Not even in the face of monsters and mayhem.”
Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) gave up calling out on the radio a while after Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) left. He still wonders of other communities. Eugene’s suggesting they boost the radio signal by putting an amplifier somewhere further from the community, so Rosita’s taking it upon herself to lend a hand.
On the road, Henry and Carol hear a woman calling for help. The kid rushes off immediately. It’s actually an ambush, which leaves the pair caught at the mercy of Jed (Rhys Coiro) and a clan of rough looking motherfuckers. Henry and Carol are fleeced of most of their belongings, but left alive. She stands down when things get hairy, which doesn’t sit well later with her son. Carol’s gone through changes over the years, and this is yet another one. She has Henry to care for, not willing to let anything happen to him like what happened to his little girl so long ago.
Judith sits on the steps outside the jail cell, where she does homework with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The guy’s been in that cell for years and years, continuing to serve as a reminder of justice and the society being built there. The little girl talks to Negan about the new people. She wants to help. The prisoner reels off an analogy about bringing home “the wrong dog” and what can happen when you do. Then he gets some hilarious sass back from young Ms. Grimes. I LOVE THIS LITTLE LADY!
On a water tower, Eugene sets up a signal amplifier. He’s got to climb up and down, naturally, though that ain’t the big problem: a horde of walkers are headed right for him and Rosita, and their horses have run off. May take improvisation for them to make it out in one piece, particularly after Eugene bangs his knee up climbing down.
That passive Carol? She doesn’t exist. She soaks Jed and his leftover Saviors in gasoline, like she did back at the prison once, then lights them aflame for fucking with her boy. This lady’s NOT PLAYING! When mom and son get going again, they stumble onto Daryl out amongst the wilderness
The new people are debating what to do from here. Magna seems intent on trying to stay in Alexandria, even if it means fighting. The others aren’t so sure about that, and not with kids there, either. This isn’t a good situation. It’ll be interesting to see in which direction it heads.
Magna sneaks up on Michonne’s place that night, seeing her through the window cradling a baby(!!!). So she knocks on the door and gives over her other knife. Inside, Judith’s got her dad’s old gun, ready to protect her and her family at all costs. Mom and daughter talk of Rick and Carl, and Judith says she’s beginning to “forget their voices.” Michonne does everything she can to hold onto them, including wearing Rick’s old shirts (and, coincidentally, she’s got a scar in the same spot Rick would have one from his rebar wound). Next day, Michonne decides to take the new group to Hilltop, in case Maggie (Lauren Cohan) might take them in.
In the forest, Eugene and Rosita have to bury themselves in mud and rotting leaves in order to escape the horde of walkers coming for them. They hear “Don‘t let them get away” and other mumblings coming from the walkers. Can the zombies speak? OR, are these the Whisperers, who are known to use the flesh of the dead to move around? Father Gore bets the latter.
A great follow-up to the previous episode where Rick left in the helicopter. Nice use of the time jump, and there’s SO MUCH going on that it’ll be awesome to watch play out further in the next couple episodes before the mid-season break.
“Stradivarius” is next, and it’s directed by Michael Cudlitz! Rejoice!