WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead's Season 9 premiere, which aired Sunday on AMC.
AMC has released one of the most shocking moments from The Walking Dead’s Season 9 premiere, which aired Sunday.
The episode ended with the execution of former Hilltop leader, Gregory. After a failed coup against Maggie, Gregory was placed on a horse and fitted with a noose. “I don’t want to do this,” Maggie tells the assembled crowd, "but people need to understand that at Hilltop, the punishment fits the crime.” She then gives a very pointed look at Rick and Michonne.
Rick and Maggie have been on the outs after he spared Negan’s life at the conclusion of Season 8. This moment comes just as Rick and Michonne were hoping to pitch a set of laws that all the allied civilizations could follow. But by announcing her own terms for their alliance and revealing that the Hilltop will have their own set of laws, she’s set herself up in opposition to Rick.
With Andrew Lincoln's departure imminent, there has been widespread speculation about whether Rick Grimes will be killed off or simply leave the picture. With the character now in open opposition with Maggie, audiences are left wondering what role she might play in the character’s exit.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.