The Walking Dead has dropped its first photos for Season 9, one of which features a freshly coiffed Rick standing aside Michonne, Daryll, Maggie and Carol, with the ruins of the Capitol building behind them.
Now, the show’s been threatening to visit D.C. since Season 4, when Eugene, Abraham and Rosita blew on the scene with their ultimately fake mission. Before Eugene revealed he’d lied about having a solution to epidemic, it seemed likely the narrative would travel past Alexandria and into the National Capitol Region at some point. But once the truth came out, settling in a fancy gated community seemed like a better idea, and here we are.
However, with hostilities between the communities finally at an end and taking into account this promo, it looks like Season 9 will see the survivors finally make it to the ruined city. And by the looks of things, Washington D.C. has seen some hard times post-apocalypse... maybe a little too hard.
The initial promo shows the capitol building crumbling, presumably due to the lack of maintenance it suffered in the years since the epidemic. But here’s the thing, there’s no way the building would’ve deteriorated to that degree in the relatively short amount of time that’s elapsed between the collapse of civilization and Rick & Co.’s arrival. Even if the show promises to follow the comics’ time jump (which it looks like it will, by all accounts), there will have been at the very most five years between the time of the outbreak and the events of Season 9. And if that number seems low, let’s round it up to an even decade just for the sake of argument.
The capitol dome built out of cast iron, and as of the 1950s is coated with a rust protectant underneath the paint. Eventually, with lack of maintenance, it absolutely would decay, but it would take far, far longer than a decade for the damage we’re seeing in the promotional photo to occur. According to an episode of Life After People (shut up, it's legit), it would be nearly a century before the dome started to show that kind of damage, much less start growing plants.
Interestingly, also according to the History Channel show, one of the first major infrastructure breakdowns would be roads – especially those near wide open fields full of seeds ready to be blown into every crack in the concrete or tar. Left unchecked, plants would’ve disrupted roadways within the first two years of the apocalypse (unless there’s another spin-off about post-apocalyptic road crews that Kirkman’s written, but refused to share), making TWD cast’s largely unobstructed travel around the rural south as unlikely as reanimated corpses taking over the country. But the latest photo from Season 9, which sees Michonne and the survivors relegated to using Amish-style means of transport, the road their wagons and horses are traversing appear to be in near-mint condition. Alas, if we start going over all the “inaccuracies” on TWD, this article will never end.
There is the slight possibility that the damage the Capitol building sustained was man made -- perhaps there was such anarchy as the government fell that some kind of major conflict erupted and cause collateral damage. The mysterious helicopters spotted at various points during Season 8 indicate that someone in the area has access to at least that level of tech, so maybe the capitol’s level of destruction carries more weight than a simple location indicator.