Walking Dead Season 9, ep 3: ‘Warning Signs’
Early in the episode, we see “Final Warning” spray-painted across a building. It’s exactly the right message for tonight’s episode, where a creaky bridge continues its creaky metaphor for the Saviors and everyone else. Since the show already announced that Rick leaves in two more episodes, that bridge is probably going to break. Rick’s rule is that every life counts in this world that belongs to the dead. But there are other rules, too, and other ways of following them.
Rick has a lovely scene with Michonne, with hints that there might be a baby in the future, and the two of them spend family day with baby Judith. It’s an emotional montage because we know that this will be one of Rick’s last days with his loved ones.
Last week’s episode ended with a delightful cliffhanger when the Savior Justin is taken by surprise in the woods. Was he killed? We meet the undead Justin early in this week’s episode, and it’s clear that he was killed by an arrow not a walker. His body is brought back to the camp, where both the Saviors and non-Saviors can see by his wounds that Justin was killed by a human, not by a walker. Since Justin was killed by an arrow, Daryl is the obvious suspect. More creaks in the bridge – Rick asks Daryl if he did it. Daryl is disgusted by Rick’s questions, and points out, “If I did it, I would have done it in the open.”
Rick’s group begins a search of the woods, and Cyndie and Maggie find an abandoned house filled with walkers. The other searchers catch up at the cabin, but find one team missing. One member of the team is injured, but Arat, a Savior who worked for Simon, has been kidnapped.
When the groups learn of the kidnapping, the fragile peace is broken. Daryl finds clues at the scene that make it clear who is behind the arrows and the kidnapping.
Daryl and Maggie follow the trail to the sad little school, the one that has Final Warning sprayed on it. There they find Arat, about to be executed – by the women of Oceanside, with Cyndie as their leader. Arat pleads for her life: “We’ve all done things.” Maggie asks the women to explain. Cyndie details how this schoolyard was where Simon and his gang caught her and her family. They were cornered and ordered to beg for their lives by Arat. Cyndie pleaded for them to spare her brother, who was just 11 years old. Cyndie tells Maggie that the Oceanside group decided to go along with the end of the war, until Maggie hung Gregory. That gave the hope that “Rick’s rules aren’t the only rules.”
Now Cyndie turns to Arat and snarls, “Tell them what you said!” Arat lies, “I don’t remember.” Maggie orders her to answer. Arat says quietly, “No exceptions.”
Cyndie waits for Maggie to make a ruling. Maggie and Daryl walk away, and the two decide to head to Alexandria to see Negan. Rick’s rules will be broken. And the Saviors all leave camp, and never finish the bridge.
This week’s episode created more question marks than Dr. Evil’s father. Rick tells Gabriel to follow Anne, as Rick is beginning to suspect her of something wrong. Why has Anne been hiding a walkie-talkie? What is Anne/Jadis up to, and who did she trade people with? Who is an A? A B? What is Anne up to? What does she know about that helicopter??