HOLLYWOOD—It seems like a year since we last talked about the AMC hit series “The Walking Dead.” When we last left off, Rick Grimes finally found a way to dismantle Negan and his wicked army, but it came at an unexpected cost. Carl died, and Maggie and Daryl appear to be on the outskirts with Rick and Michonne. How can I best say this? A war is brewing between our heroes and that is precisely how season 9 of the hit series kicked off. The episode, ‘A New Beginning,’ was a packed episode with so much storytelling, as the audience is well aware since the series went on hiatus that Andrew Lincoln, aka Rick Grimes will be leaving the series this season.

Yeah, that was a bombshell that is going to change the show in so many ways you have no idea. Things kicked off in a time jump, nearly 18 months since the end of season 8. Maggie has had her baby, Judith has grown significantly and towns have been rebuilt. Back at the Sanctuary and the Hilltop, peace seems to be in place, but Daryl is in charge, at the sanctuary, while Maggie is still holding court at the Hilltop. It seems like the three pillars are leading the charge to change the world. With Carol and Ezekiel holding court at The Kingdom; our survivors seem at peace, but we all know that is not going to last.

The gang found themselves exploring a museum for what appeared to be supplies in addition to a new place they could possibly call home. I will admit that walker that came out of nowhere with spiders emerging from its face was perhaps one of the creepiest things I’ve seen on the show in quite some time. Great special effects! Wow, who would have ever expected Jadis to be part of the team? No this is where being stupid is just stupid. Why would Rick and crew think it would be a smart idea to attempt to drag a heavy piece of equipment over a glass panel floor with a ton of walkers lurking beneath?

As expected the floor shattered and Ezekiel found himself in mortal danger, as the crew worked extremely hard to pull him to safety before he became walker meat. Really, Carol and Ezekiel is a couple? I know it was teased, but never expected it to actually come to fruition. The gang’s journey was detoured by a broken bridge with a current of water beneath. Things only got tenser when a horde of walkers dawned upon our heroes as they attempted to gather supplies. Ken became the first casualty of the season as he attempted to save a horse, and had his arm bitten by a walker. Maggie and Enid tried to save him, but it was too late, Ken was a goner.

Maggie was forced to come to a hard realization: the Saviors are hurting their chances of survival more than she realized. A resistance is starting to roar and Maggie’s weight as leader of the Hilltop is waving as Gregory might be looking to usurp Maggie from her title as Queen of the Hilltop. Now this is interesting, those Saviors who were fiercely loyal to Negan, might be looking to roar back at Daryl, who has taken over a leadership role that quite frankly he does not want. Daryl confessed his frustration of having to lead the Saviors when he wants to be outside. He alluded to the most crucial development that is likely to take place: our heroes are about to turn on each other.

Gregory you are a devious fiend, you are doing everything in your power to cause rumblings at the Hilltop to maintain your position of power. Wow, that is all I can say after Gregory utilized a mourning couple’s loss of a child to have Maggie killed. Maggie confronted the guy she wanted to consider an ally. He attempted to stab her with a knife, but she turned the tables on him. I’m screaming at the TV screen, “Maggie you need to kill Gregory before he kills you!” No more chances for this scoundrel. Carol decided to assist with things at the Sanctuary to prevent a further fracture from transpiring within the group. Daryl, Rick and Michonne were concerned to learn that Maggie was attacked by Gregory. What they feared is starting to unravel in front of their eyes.

Maggie made demands from Rick regarding her willingness to assist with the rebuilding of the bridge. I was utterly concerned that this season was going to be a bore, but I can now see how these small riffs are about to explode into epic conflicts. Maggie and Rick are about to go to war, and it’s all because of his decision to spare Negan’s life. I never expected this; Maggie is going full Negan people; she is going to hang Gregory to death. I will admit that Gregory needed to die, but via hanging that seemed very cruel.

Yeah, that decision Maggie made changes everything because even Michonne and Rick were appalled by the outcome of things. Even though we’re losing a primary character this season, “The Walking Dead” is setting the groundwork for what will be a twisted season, where I sense Negan will rise once again from the dead. Until next Sunday “Walking Dead” die-hards!