When does Season 9 of The Walking Dead premiere? Keep reading at your own risk. But "Wrath" brings both groups out into an open field for the battle between the Saviors and Rick's group - or, rather, the battle between Rick and Negan. While the episode nailed the crucial plot points of the source material, we also saw several divergences that set up intriguing future storylines.
First, lets recap what happens around the mystery tree. But another concern at the top of everyone's mind is this: just how long do we have to wait for the show to return? Then he got all teary-eyed; Rick got teary-eyed, too, and then he slashed Negan's throat. Considering the death count this season (we're looking at you Carl), fans were really anxious about whether any of their favorites would die. Negan fell for the ol' stalling routine instead of introducing Rick to his old pal Lucille and got a slit throat for his troubles. He believes that the vision he sees is Carl showing him the new world.
Negan has been the show's biggest villain since his introduction in the Season 6 finale (and his Saviours before him), and while the cartoonish nature of the character hasn't always worked (despite Morgan's commitment to the part), he's been so full-on as a bad guy, right down to his last moments, that a death was more than earned. But Rick called for Siddiq to save Negan, much to Maggie Greene Rhee's anguish and fury. Covered with blood, Negan offered what seemed to be a final rebuke. John, on the other hand, is a flawless foil for Morgan-not quite as intellectual, much more optimistic, and certainly more interested in becoming partners in crime than Morgan is. Not to mention that, given The Walking Dead has basically turned from Rick's show into Negan's, he's really outstayed his welcome already, and the prospect of seeing more of him in whatever wounded state he takes isn't an enticing one.
So it's a pretty safe bet that we'll see Season 9 back in mid-October, possibly late October like this season. That technically might not be a problem, since the potential timeline jump could change things up so that Maggie isn't seen as often. This is him turning over a new leaf and deciding there's a different way forward.... But by the end of the season 4 premiere, we see that all but Daniel are together again, and we're spared the trudging story of when and how they'll find each other.
Then there's the familiar face of Morgan Jones, one of the more complex characters from The Walking Dead.
After some more fighting, Rick asks Negan for 10 seconds to explain how there can be a better future. The move is clearly a step in the right direction, though. And yet, Rick agreed - reluctantly - to take Morgan into battle, where he continued to kill indiscriminately. Oceanside isn't an all-women community in the comics, and they don't participate in the fight against Negan.More news: James Milner follows Jordan Henderson in mocking Harry Kane's goal appeal
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Whether you gave up on Fear the Walking Dead before, or never even gave it a shot, now is the time to start watching.
Jadis is another wildcard who's not in the comics.
Could that horde be hiding the next group Rick's people go up against in the comics, The Whispers?
Tara (Alanna Masterson, center) joins her colleagues in battle in Sunday's season finale of "The Walking Dead".
Rick, of course, wasted his last bullets firing on Negan from a distance. Only time will tell what's in store for this character, but suffice to say there's certainly plenty of content to mine for season nine. Sound off in the comments!