AMC’s hit zombie apocalypse drama ‘The Walking Dead’ returned for its 9th season and came back with a breath of fresh air.

New show runner Angela Kang took over the reigns from long time leader Scott M. Gimple for the long running gore soap opera. Kang has been a writer on the show for some time now and her fingerprints were felt right away as the show has finally moved on from Negan and the Saviors war.

A New Beginning (as this part of the story was directly adapted from the comic source material) indeed as the show changed up its title sequence intro, its color schemes for its cinematography and most importantly the stale dialogue and narrative it has had for the better part of 3 seasons now.

We began with a significant jump forward in time approximately 1 year and a half so all of what we saw was fresh and new again. Rick Grimes, the fearless leader and face of the franchise got a haircut and has apparently set up new rules and boundaries for all the surrounding communities. Maggie Rhee, leader of the Hilltop finally had her baby, a beautiful son named after her late Father Hershel. Daryl Dixon, resident bad ass and Rick’s right hand man had more lines of dialogue than he had for the last 2 seasons combined.

The group traveled to Washington DC where they apparently have been making regular supply runs. Fuel has finally run dry so everyone is now getting around on horse back and wagon like the old colonial days.

We saw a surprise wedding proposal between 2 regular characters and a shocking death for a long time antagonist (not named Negan by the way).

Clearly the story lines are different and with the time skip several new stories have developed and time will tell where they take these. Clearly Rick and Maggie’s deteriorating relationship hasn’t gotten better, since Rick spared Negan’s life in the season finale last year. That potential civil war is clearly building and it will be interesting To see where this goes from here.

The one thing that will be almost anti climatic now is when and how Rick Grimes will say goodbye. AMC announced this past summer that star Andrew Lincoln is leaving the show after 6 episodes this season and are constantly flooding the network with commercials and tributes to “watch Rick Grimes final episodes”.

We know it’s coming, we even basically know when it’s coming. We just don’t know how yet. Will he die or be given a “in limbo” status where he could possibly come back later down the road. I still will have a hard time watching this show after he is gone. He has carried the weight for 8 plus seasons now and not having him there will take a while to get used to. But if the story goes in the direction it has early on so far I think it can possibly work. Only time will tell.