Hard to say things like, “oh this is the event that changed everything”, because this show has made many changes over the years. With that said this episode will have long lasting effects on multiple fronts going forward. For this episode 15 of the 9th season we will run over some of the happenings quickly before doubling back on some big points.
We start with new people? Yes new people, in a flashback, this couple is fighting off walkers in some trees and brush, the male looks a bit winded as the women says Happy Anniversary and she found something he might like. They have discovered The Hilltop. Flash forward and she gives him a wooden coin and says Happy Anniversary, the fifth Anniversary is supposed to be wood. He says people will love them and she should make more. We know that she has because this is the same type of coin that Henry gave to Lydia. Another jump forward shows a bunch of these coins, and two other people in a wagon heading to the Kingdom’s fair. Next jump cut scene we see what’s left of a crash, and Alpha is scalping the lady for her hair.
At the Kingdom, Michonne makes her long awaited return! We see many happy reunions, Connie and her group, Daryl and Carol, Carol & Ezekiel with Henry. Judith with Carol & Ezekiel! We can’t forget Tara and Lydia, OK just kidding, Tara doesn’t want any part of Lydia and Michonne says it’s time for all the leaders to talk. At the meeting all the leaders are getting to know each other again, a lot of contention about the situation of Lydia. Gabriel and Michonne says that Lydia is welcome at Alexandria, Tara is afraid payback comes to the Hilltop and Lydia shouldn’t be around. Michonne tells Tara that she was on the other side with the Governor and they gave her a chance, same with Rick when Michonne was on the other side. Lydia didn’t choose who she came with but like everyone else here she chose to be here now. Tara finds that fair, everyone agrees to make a pact an attack on one is an attack on everyone. Ezekiel has the declaration that they all sign, and a group is going to go to Hilltop now to play defense.
A size able group heads to protect Hilltop, the Highway men and DJ find the crash site. After checking it out everyone knows it was from Hilltop, Daryl, Michonne, Carol, and finally Yumiko went to go and try to find the people from the crash while everyone else continued back to Hilltop. Ozzie Alek and DJ decided to continue their patrols and protect the roads. Back at the Kingdom, we have a scene with Eugene looking at a radio he got at the fair with Rosita. The pair work together on fixing it up, more on this later. Alpha was undercover with a nice scalp of hair, she went to artist alley to learn the faces of some leaders, she ends up talking to Ezekiel. Later at the movie, she slides in next to Lydia, who was holding a spot for Henry and tries to get Lydia to come back. The two end up outside and Lydia tells her mom to leave, or she will scream and they will kill her and and she doesn’t want her mom to die.
Back with Daryl and group that night, they are overrun by walkers, Daryl wants them to turn back but they can’t so they fight, and fight and fight. Once the walkers are done the Whisperers come and surround them. Beta comes after and tells them to drop the weapons, Daryl does, knowing what Beta can do. Beta tells Daryl that all he had to do was give up Lydia and nobody would die but that deal is off the table now. Alpha comes after and after some back and forth says Lydia is alive and for Daryl to come with her only. She tells Daryl that they are in no position to threaten her and they need to stop that, she shows Daryl that she has tons of walkers and they are only alive because she has allowed them to be. She said if anyone goes across her borders she will unleash the walkers, she names a spot to the south and says that when he leaves, his friends will be unharmed, and they will see the territory marked off to the north. She says that she doesn’t think they can protect Lydia, and Daryl says they can.
Daryl catches up with the others who are unharmed, they continue to head home and they see a tied up Siddiq against a tree. The group heads up and see spikes with heads on them. The lineup was ten deep, Ozzy, Alek, DJ, Frankie, Tammy Rose, Addy, Rodney, Enid, Tara and finally Henry. It was gut wrenching to see Carol have to go through the loss of another child again, Daryl tried his best to shield it. Back at the Kingdom, Siddiq talks to everyone, he tells them the story, that he was captured and he was going to die, he was prepared to die like everyone else, he said that Alpha told him, ‘tell them’ and then everything went black and he woke up alone. He said what happened was evil and she probably wanted him to tell the story so everyone can be afraid and pull apart again.
He however, wanted to tell a different story, Ozzy, Alek and DJ found them and fought back, it gave everyone a window, and everyone fought back. Everyone was protecting each other, even those who didn’t know each other, they were all so brave and all died as heroes. That is the story he wants them to remember. Lastly, Daryl and Lydia go back to the spikes, Lydia lays down the Hilltop coin at the spike that was Henry’s. As the two walk away, we see snow landing on the coin!
The death’s were expected for comic readers, only one comic death also had the show death and that was Tammy Rose. It was a nice showing by the Highway men, though it sucked they never got to see a movie and died when I was starting to like them. DJ proved himself for quite some time as a former Savior and sad to see him go. Frankie, Alek, and Addy were sort of fillers. Tammy Rose I feel got the death as Alpha heard her talking about the baby around artist alley. My saddest death personally was Enid, all sorts of remnants of Carl are gone and that hurts a lot. Losing a doctor is obviously a huge event and the Hilltop got ROCKED in this attack. Tara was also a huge blow, one of the biggest questions, which might be answered with the previews of Kingdom heading to Hilltop after it fell, was who was going to lead Hilltop now? Maggie is gone, and now Jesus and Tara have also perished. They also lost Enid who was a doctor, Tammy Rose and 2 teens. I’m not exactly sure who is the most tenured besides the blacksmith.
The death for story line purposes was the most shocking was Henry. The show already lost Carl who had all sorts of arc with the Whisperers via the comics, Henry started taking some of those on. Now that he is dead I’m unsure who could take those on or if those are being abandoned all together. The fall out I expect to see is that bad ass Carol is unleashed and Alpha needs to watch out.
I’ve mentioned it in some comments on a previous article, I think that Eugene finding the radio is going to be a major event going forward. Maybe as early as the season finale, I believe that our cliffhanger is making contact with someone on the other end. The possibilities however are endless. We have, Morgan, Dwight, Rick, Jadis, Maggie, Georgie, or perhaps an entirely new group entirely! So many options I’m curious if this is going to pan out.