The Season 9 finale of AMC's The Walking Dead didn't have much breakneck action as in previous finales, such as Negan announcing his arrival and attacking the group in the past. Given that Samantha Morton's Alpha had just slaughtered over ten members of the alliance the episode before, it's understandable the show took some time to breathe.
But while it didn't have loads of zombie-killing or confrontations, "The Storm," as calm as it was, set up intriguing battle lines that have shaped the future of the series. With that in mind, CBR is taking a look at how it changed the status quo for Season 10.
HOW THE WALKING DEAD FINALE CHANGED THE ALLIANCE
After Alpha's massacre, Michonne wanted to course correct her philosophy of isolation so everyone can work together. When she returned home, she told Negan the future lies in unity and that's the only way peace will be built. But with both of them there, for the time being, Alexandria clearly has strength behind its walls, which left fans wondering if the same can be said for the Kingdom and Hilltop.
Hilltop lost Maggie as a leader, and Tara was killed by Alpha, which means Daryl might step up and take charge there. He's already shown his leadership qualities at times, and his presence could militarize the community like never before. Hilltop was seen as the more peaceful segment of the coalition, but having endured so much loss, especially in its leadership ranks, it's poised to evolve into something more aggressive moving forward.
With Henry dead, the Kingdom faces an uncertain future, especially since Ezekiel seems intent on holing up at Hilltop, trying to distance himself from the painful memories they shared at the Kingdom. It remains to be seen if he'll return there or follow Carol to Alexandria, as she's made it clear she's going for revenge. The Kingdom has strong warriors, so he may follow Carol out of love and to protect her, especially after she gave him back his wedding ring. Either way, Alpha's actions created a more unified front, and with a mysterious party radioing in, the alliance could still grow in Season 10.
THE WALKING DEAD'S NEW GROUND
So far, The Walking Dead has chronicled the post-apocalyptic major city of Atlanta, as well as other areas across teh Deep South filled with rural highways and farms. But with a snowstorm providing us with a rare foray into the zombie apocalypse during winter, it offered fresh perspective. This added another dimension to the show by giving the dead another place to hide instead of the somewhat monotonous lines of trees and roads.
We've already seen the Oceanside, so hopefully this sets a bar showrunner Angela Kang raises by exploring other weather conditions. Rainstorms and floods are other dynamic options which would add more adversity and tests to our heroes' journeys. After all, Mother Nature can be just as destructive as a horde of hungry zombies.
We're accustomed seeing grassy battles and wars under the hot, stinging sun, so inclement weather would be a most welcomed challenge. The snowstorm really differentiated the show, even from its Game of Thrones counterparts, and made the zombies more booby traps than violent attackers. This approach would surely add more suspense in the seasons to come.
HOW THE WALKING DEAD FINALE RESET THE WHISPERERS
At the end of the episode, we saw Beta flagellating Alpha, strengthening her for the war to come. Devastated after her daughter, Lydia, abandoned the Whisperers for the alliance, Alpha will almost certainly unleash her herd of walkers soon. Daryl's already seen them so it's just a matter of time.
While Alpha's crew has been stealthy, the alliance now knows about their ways and borders and are going on the offensive. The alliance may even be laying traps of their own, so the Whisperers will have to exercise caution from now on. Still, they're going to have to be direct as their covert ways have been exposed, and thus, Beta's gung-ho approach could be a key part of the Whisperers' battle strategy going forward.
It also remains to be seen if he and Alpha can continue working in sync, and if anyone else within their camp will oppose them for the leadership reins for the war looming, especially now that they all have targets on their zombie-skin-wearing backs.
The Walking Dead stars Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Nadia Hilker, Dan Fogler, Angel Theory, Lauren Ridloff and Eleanor Matsuura. The series returns for its 10th season on AMC in October.