An opening episode which does not build upon Negan’s storyline following the events of season 8’s finale. Their is no continuation of the notorious villain’s appearance in the season 9 premiere. This could hint at the characters future demise this season – such an act to savour for Maggie and Rosita who lost dear ones to Lucille.
With Negan out of the picture, A New Beginning takes the time to enjoy some heartwarming moments shared between Carol and Ezekiel. The King gives what must be the most casual proposal in zombie apocalypse history to Carol who does not accept. Rick and Michonne, and the platonic couple, Daryl and Carol after a whole season of fighting, war talk, and bloodshed are free. It’s nice to see these characters relaxing with each other, enjoying what they have worked for, searching for a precarious peace, and acting like normal, regular people again.
The show seems to have taken a turn for the better as we see a rested and bearded Rick Grimes relaxing in Alexandria in the home which he has grafted for. We see the fruits of his labour through him having vegetables planted and a wealth of survivors.
The gruesome fate of Gregory is sealed by the characters murder at the hands of Maggie in a Governer-esque demonstration at Hilltop. She hangs the traitorous character till death as people watch in the dead of night. Unfortunately, a child sees this murder as the episode ends.
Despite post-war peacetime, the wounds left by the bloody battles of last season are yet to completely heal over. There’s a palpable, unspoken tension not just between the Saviors and their new masters, but amongst Rick, Maggie, Daryl, and others who still disagree on the values and conduct that should shape a recovering society. It’s here where A New Beginning deals in the kind of ambiguous shades of grey that The Walking Dead hasn’t effectively evoked since it’s fourth season.