AMC’s The Walking Dead returns after it’s mid-season break and it has felt like an eternity. The ninth episode of the season, “Rock In The Road” sees Rick (Andrew Lincoln) finally at his breaking point with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his Saviors. Michonne (Danai Gurira) has finally convinced them that they can defeat Negan if they can stand together. After reuniting with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Jesus, (Tom Payne) and Daryl, they are more determined than ever to not live under the thumb of the Saviors any longer. Jesus tries to convince King Ezekiel to join forces with Hilltop to fight Negan. The group is being stalked by a potential new foe.
Recent real-world developments have fans…or at least this fan speculating the fate of one particular cast member. As soon as it was announced that Sonequa Martin-Green landed the lead role in Star Trek Discovery, the rumor mill began to turn. Will Sasha be killed at some point this season? Will she leave the group with a possibility of a return in the future? Will she find a way to skirt both universes? There was already rumors of someone dying in this week’s episode, so let’s see what happens.
In spite of evidence to the contrary, it is still difficult to trust Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). He has been a particularly dependable member of the group and has betrayed them in the past. His actions at the beginning of the episode brought all those feelings of mistrust back to the surface. What exactly is Gabriel up to?
Out of all the new characters introduced this season, King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) is by far the most interesting. After his confession to Carol, he’s even more so. His is a unique outlook on the world they now live in. And in spite of his seemingly fragile grasp on reality, Ezekiel understands that the world is no longer like it was, nor will it ever be again. Since he has offered sanctuary to Daryl (Norman Reedus), it will be fun to see how the two interact and if Daryl can convince him to change his mind.
This episode had a little bit of everything. The plot was advanced at a satisfactory pace without becoming too bogged down with needless scenes or any gratuitous bloodbaths. Although there was a pretty entertaining mass walker kill about three-quarters of the way through.
It is good to have the old Rick back finally. After a few weeks of being kicked around like a dog by Negan, it’s good that Rick has snapped out of his funk. A brief appearance from Carol (Melissa McBride) was a nice topping to this week’s episode. In spite of her desire to be left alone, her help is going to be vital to Rick in the inevitable battle with the Saviors. And what of Morgan (Lennie James)? Will his passiveness prove to be dangerous? Or will he have to set aside his beliefs for the greater good?
This is all leading up to a potentially epic season finale of The Walking Dead this April.
Images courtesy of AMC