Review: The Walking Dead 9×06, “Who Are You Now?”

Aaron Neuwirth reviews The Walking Dead season 9, episode 6, "Who Are You Now" in which the group deals with the time after Rick, six years later.

Judith Grimes sucks. I’m sorry, but that’s where my head is at with this second new status quo for The Walking Dead this season. Following the sloppy end to Rick Grimes last week, we are now seeing what’s new in the six years that have passed since in “Who Are We Now?” As a result, viewers must now adjust to the latest version of survivor societies, complete with new hairdos, new couples, a queen and prince, and rebuilt versions of Alexandria, the Kingdom, and the yet-to-be-seen Hilltop. That’s a lot to take in, and the main takeaway I have is that Judith Grimes is not the most fabulous addition. Of course, this episode is less focused on her and more concentrated on the standard plot involving whether or not a group of newbies is good enough to join Rick and the gang.

If my frustration from last week was centered on a lack of a proper send-off for the lead character of this series, the ideal I came away with was seeing what the show would be able to do with that aftermath. Since season nine had begun with enough creative energy to have me look forward to how things would be proceeding, it’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow in seeing the show move so quickly passed the exciting presentation of multiple communities being held together by tenuous connections. Now things are seemingly in a better place than ever, which is good, especially when it comes to the visions of formerly alive Grimes’ Rick and Carl.

Still, we are now in a place where we have to readjust to where things are and while we get a good amount of information, adding on this plot involving Magna (Nadia Hilker), Luke (Dan Fogler), and the other newbies means holding us back from really embracing everything involving the characters we already know. Sure, you need some sort of plotting to keep the momentum moving, and I can understand an outsider group being a key aspect in having us understand who people are from an outside perspective. That said, I honestly wasn’t too pleased with seeing a new group debated over while keeping the specter of Rick Grimes as such a key focus.

Rick may have when off with the great helicopter from the sky to whisk him to the heavenly new area of TV movies, but his shadow still lingers here, and I have to deal with platitudes from walking screenwriter device Judith Grimes to make that clear. It’s irritating, but I’ll have to make due. At least, by the end of this episode, I have a handle on where Michonne’s head is at, let alone where she is as a mother, with not one but two children in her care.

Meanwhile, we have many others to keep track of. Hippy-hair Carol is now married to Ezekiel, and they’ve adopted Henry as their son. Henry is a giant idiot, as he’s both hardened enough to fight courageously with a staff, but dumb enough to fall for any trap that comes his way. Morgan 2.0 he is not, which is especially the case when he tries to talk back to Carol about what is right. Sit down son, and let the adults do the talking. By the end of their subplot, Henry is still an idiot, but at least Carol showed that she’s still Carol by burning some leftover Saviors alive.

Daryl has gone full mountain man, so there’s not much to say on his behalf, but I have a feeling he’s not a part of the Alexandria council. Speaking of, this council is something neat to keep track of. It’s interesting that Michonne likely set it up, yet serves as the head of security, though is still looked at as the de-facto leader of the group. I can imagine that leading to some interesting areas in the future, as leadership and decision-making tend to build up towards conflict, and allowing for shady politics in this sort of world has more potential than evil big bads that just want to kill everything (more on Negan in the show notes).

The last thing of note is Rosita, Eugene, and Father Gabriel. Rosita and Gabriel are now an awkward coupling, which is made even more uncomfortable by rat-tailed Eugene clearly being in love with Rosita. Still, two of them go out in the wild to ideally expand a radio signal, only to be ambushed by walkers. With an injury to go with their troubles, Rosita and Eugene hide in some mud, with the big reveal teased in many trailers – talking walkers. It’s a low growl of, “wherrreee arrreeee theeeyyyy,” but it’s enough to seem like a shock.

With a potential game-changer such as this, I’ll be curious to see how The Walking Dead plans to move forward. It needs to incorporate the new group members, keep making the new status quo understandable, and find time to deal with a potentially wild new version of the walker threat. That’s a lot on the show’s plate, but we at least have the sketch of how things are supposed to work. Perhaps if we streamline the amount of Judith Grimes, we’ll be in the clear.

Dead Bits:

  • Zombie Kill of the Week: Hobo Daryl going after the walker in the tree with a Disney bird on its shoulder. Good gross stuff.
  • “Can I ask you a question?” “No.” – Always up for these kinds of exchanges.
  • After all this time, at least Jerry is still awesome.
  • “Whistle worthy.” – Meanwhile, Eugene is still himself, but at least he can kill zombies a lot better.
  • So, RJ is the other kid Michonne is taking care of, although he’s presented almost like a ghost this week. Let’s get to clearing that up soon.
  • While Lauren Cohan is gone from the show, for now, let’s see how the series plans to deal with Hilltop.
  • Comic fans know about the Whisperers, but I’ll be curious to see how the show handles them.
  • Thanks for reading and feel free to hear what me and a few other fans of the show have to say about the series on The Walking Dead TV Podcast.

Written by
Aaron Neuwirth is a movie fanatic and Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic from Orange County, California. He’s a member of the African American Film Critics Association, the Hollywood Critics Association, the Online Film Critics Society, and the Black Film Critics Circle. As an outgoing person who is always thrilled to discuss movies, he’s also a podcaster who has put far too many hours into published audio content associated with film and television. His work has been published at Variety, We Live Entertainment, Why So Blu, The Young Folks,, Screen Rant, and Hi-Def Ninja.

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