TV Review: The Walking Dead - Season 9, Episode 3

Season 9, Episode 3: Warning Signs 

PLOT: Communities work together to solve the mystery of the missing and murdered Saviors.

REVIEW: It's going to be such a relief once The Walking Dead can finally, completely move past the "war with the Saviors community" storyline and start focusing on other things. Circumstances with the Saviors have changed drastically by this point on the show, the remaining members of the formerly villainous group now have a tenuous alliance with the other communities, but three episodes into season 9 the tension between the Saviors and the others is still the primary focus. These issues started back in season 6. I'm sick of hearing about the Saviors.

I'd like to think Warning Signs was a big step toward wrapping up this storyline, but it's clear that the Saviors situation and the disagreements people have over how they should be dealt with is going to be milked for at least another episode or two. Which also happens to be how much longer Alexandria community leader Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the main person pushing the ideas of "peace with the Saviors" and "every life counts", is going to be on the show.

As tired as I am of all this, I did find this to be a somewhat interesting episode, since it was a special murder mystery episode of The Walking Dead. The threat of another All-Out War hung over the characters' heads as Rick and his companions had to work together to solve the case of the missing Saviors, who turn up as zombies sporting wounds that show they were murdered. The last thing I want to sit through is another All-Out War with the Saviors, so I was rooting for the characters to do whatever they needed to do to defuse this situation. It was kind of funny to see The Walking Dead turn into a mystery show for an episode, including a moment where Rick switched back into Officer Friendly mode to interrogate Daryl (Norman Reedus).

Wounds were examined, suspects were named, weapons were looked over. The mystery was solved just in time for the end of the episode, as if this were CSI with zombies... Except the mystery was solved by the exact people you would not want to solve it if you were an abducted and threatened Savior. 

That was entertaining, but the mystery that I'm even more intrigued by involved a cryptic walkie talkie exchange referring to people as As and Bs. I'm thinking that has something to do with how Rick is going to make his exit from the show, so I'm looking forward to seeing how that's going to play out.

Mysteries aside, there were some nice character moments with Daryl and Hilltop leader Maggie (Lauren Cohan) as they try to work out how they feel about Rick's approach to dealing with the Saviors. I also liked seeing Rick enjoy a "family fun day" with his girlfriend Michonne (Danai Gurira) and little daughter Judith (Chloe Garcia-Frizzi). The fact that Michonne is taking care of things at Alexandria while Rick focuses on the bridge re-building project the communities are working together on is probably setting her up to become the full-time leader once Rick leaves, but it's surprising to me how little set-up is being done for his departure otherwise. Rick so clearly intends to be around for the long haul, there was even implication that he's interested in having more children with Michonne.

It wouldn't seem so odd to me that they're not setting up his exit if I didn't have a feeling that he's not simply going to be killed off. Maybe he will be, but I'm not sure they should risk upsetting the viewers to that degree at this precarious moment in the show's run. The ratings are already dropping, they don't want more people tuning out because they set up a happy future for Rick and then gave him a tragic death.

There's obviously a bit more fighting over Saviors and their former leader Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) ahead of us, but hopefully other issues will overshadow that.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Maggie and Oceanside leader Cyndie (Sydney Park) discover a house full of zombies at the place the Oceanside community used to call home.

GORY GLORY: Cyndie is nearly killed by a zombie, but the shot is framed in such a way that you can tell something, like an arrow, is going to come smacking into the zombie's head to save her life. While she waits to be saved, though, she has to try to hold the zombie away from her as its neck skin tears off in her hands.

FAVORITE SCENE: We get to see Rick having a peaceful moment in Alexandria. As he walks out of his house in the morning, he takes a second to place his hand on a decoration hanging on the wall. This decoration is the piece of wood porch his son Carl left his handprint on in paint (along with Judith's handprint) before he died.




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