TV Review: The Walking Dead – Season 9, Episode 16

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Season 9, Episode 16: The Storm

PLOT: The Kingdom has to be evacuated when a blizzard hits.

REVIEW: The Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman and Greg Nicotero, an executive producer and head of the special effects team on the AMC series, have both expressed a desire to show what it would be like to endure a snowy winter during the zombie apocalypse, but neither seemed to think we'd actually see a snowy winter on the Walking Dead series, since the show is filmed in the Georgia heat and creating a snowy atmosphere in those conditions would be costly. Well, for the season 9 finale the show's producers finally managed to put together a budget for at least one snowbound episode. As The Storm begins, a blizzard is about to hit the communities of survivors the show centers on.

In the previous episode, the weather was still nice enough that the Kingdom community was throwing an outdoor fair, presided over by a happy King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), who was very hopeful for the future of the Kingdom. To get us to blizzard weather the show undergoes a time jump, the third time jump this season. A few months have passed since The Calm Before, and in that time the Kingdom has completely crumbled – its condition reflecting the emotional states of Ezekiel and his beloved Carol (Melissa McBride), who lost their adopted son in a horrific way at the end of the previous episode. It's quite a turnaround from how things were going before Queen Carol saw that Prince Henry's severed head had been stuck on a pike by the villainous Alpha (Samantha Morton) and her followers, the Whisperers.

The Kingdom won't be inhabitable when the blizzard hits, so its residents have to venture off through the snowy wilderness to seek shelter in other communities, namely Alexandria and the Hilltop. Most of this episode focuses on their trek, with Alexandria leader Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the wild card Daryl (Norman Reedus) being among those who accompany Ezekiel, Carol, and their people on their journey… Which eventually takes them through Whisperer territory.

The Walking Dead

The Whisperers were not a threat in this episode, though. Instead, Nicotero – who also directed the episode – and his FX team took the opportunity to show us how zombies function, or don't function, once cold weather hits. Kirkman has said they go dormant, like alligators in frozen lakes, and we do see some examples of that. Zombies frozen in place, waiting for warmer weather to thaw them out so they can continue moving and seeking flesh to eat. We also get to see zombies stuck in ice, and others rising from beneath a blanket of snow. Other zombie projects have shown zombies in the snow, this isn't a first, but this episode dealt with the concept of the walking dead existing in a freezing cold winter in a more interesting way than I've ever seen before.

In any other season, The Calm Before would have been the season finale. Season 9 goes out on a quieter note with The Storm, simply offering a glimpse at the aftermath of the major events that occurred in The Calm Before. We see the effect the loss of the characters killed by the Whisperers has had on the survivors – especially Ezekiel, Carol, and Henry's love interest / Alpha's daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy), who is feeling very out of place with these people after the things her mother has done to them. There is a lot of focus on emotions and living situations, so it's good that we have the winter zombie element in there as well to spice things up.

The people moving on from the Kingdom aren't the only ones we see dealing with winter and a change of heart, either. We also check in with characters at Alexandria, including Michonne's daughter Judith (Cailey Fleming), who has a tendency to wander off just like her late brother Carl used to, and the show's former villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who must have spent about eight years sitting in a jail cell by this point. We're definitely seeing the softer side of Negan these days, and I'm intrigued to see where his redemption arc will take them in season 10. I'm hoping it will take him to some kind of badass confrontation with the Whisperers.

The Storm doesn't contain anything shocking or earth-shattering, that sort of thing already happened at the end of The Calm Before, but it was a good episode and I enjoyed finally having the chance to see what happens to The Walking Dead during winter.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: The sequence in which the survivors are attacked by zombies that rise up from beneath the snow was very cool.

GORY GLORY: There is a moment in this episode that is directly lifted from DIE HARD 2. Daryl is knocked to the ground by a zombie, but manages to dispatch his attacker by sticking an icicle through one of its eyeballs.

FAVORITE SCENE: The attack from beneath the snow may have been the best active zombie moment, but my favorite scene involved zombies that weren't able to move or react. The survivors come across some frozen zombies and find that their heads are quite easy to shatter.



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Source: JoBlo

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.