The Walking Dead kicked off its ninth season this week with an episode that was refreshingly low key, that made no big promises, and therefore had no need to cash in on them (more on the episode in its entirety later). The question on many viewers’ minds, however, is the fate of Rick Grimes, who will be killed off sometime in the front eight episodes of this season.
Most viewers may not have seen anything in the episode tipping of Grimes’ fate, and it’s possible that the episode didn’t actually didn’t offer any clues, but I believe that the theme of the episode — and, of the season, apparently — might have offered a very telling clue. It comes here, with Michonne looking upon this picture at a museum.
As I suggested in my episode preview, thematically speaking, the episode sets up something akin to both the post-Revolutionary War and post Civil War eras of America. There are now five colonies — Alexandria, The Kingdom, Oceanside, The Hilltop, and the Sanctuary — trying to figure out how to work together as a “country” in the wake of an All-Out War in which one of those colonies, The Sanctuary, was defeated.