TV Review: The Walking Dead S9E1 A New Beginning

Rick and his group make a risky run into Washington, D.C. to search for artifacts they will need to build the civilization he and Carl envisioned.

The Walking Dead has returned and we’ve been promised that everything has changed. And while much has, much feels the same, and that’s not a bad thing.

The war is over and the work to build the peace has begun. Dubbed “A New Beginning,” the episode is focused more on where everyone is in their lives and the politics running behind the scenes. The show again reminds us it’s not about scares and the dead, it’s about the living and attempts to rebuild the world.

Split between multiple locations now, the episode bounces around showing us where everyone is and the new order. Hilltop, Sanctuary, the Kingdom, Oceanside, and Alexandria are all covered and we get an idea as to how things are running. The answer is, pretty good but could be better. The scares of the episode focus on the group’s attempt to get materials to help build their society. This takes them into Washington, D.C. and the treasure hidden in the museums within. But, that’s not the only hurdle, there’s also issues with mother nature who’s not cooperating. But, unhappiness runs throughout so many as leadership is questioned and some don’t want their current roles.

What’s interesting is the discussion of rules and the law. Time has passed and there’s order but there’s still not a formal order. Does society need a charter or constitution? Is there a better way? We get some sense of that with the episode’s finale which focuses on the rule of law in an emotional and shocking (if you haven’t read the comics) way.

The episode is an interesting one packing in a lot and doing so in ways where things aren’t always clear or smooth. There’s a goal here and it’s generally met. We know the villains, we know where things stand, and we know some of the hurdles that are coming. We also know the relationships between the characters and how that’s evolved since the last season ended.

But, beyond the battles of the previous season the pacing and feel of the show hasn’t changed all that much. There’s still a focus on the relationships. The pace is rather slow. It’s a drama based in the world of zombies not a zombie show with zombies. There’s a focus here and the episode does a good job of setting things up for the season but this isn’t a fast paced hour (really almost an hour and thirty minutes). The show might claim it’s a new beginning but in reality, it’s a lot of what we’ve seen before just with some new dynamics.

Overall Rating: 7.0

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