In Season 9B, The Whisperers Prove To Be Exactly What 'The Walking Dead' Needs
Paul Tassi Senior Contributor

Despite the fact that it’s still more than two weeks until The Walking Dead returns for Season 9B, AMC sent out screeners for the first two episodes about a month early, and today, that embargo drops.

While I still need to be vague about plot details, these two episodes mark the first fully-fledged arrival of the Whisperers to the show after their insane introduction in the Season 9A finale, murdering poor Jesus who wasn’t expecting a zombie to dodge his sword swing (yes, he’s definitely dead, which isn’t a secret at this point).

One common complaint about The Walking Dead is that it always goes through the same cycles. Rick’s group meets a new group, they’re almost certainly evil-pretending-to-be-nice (Woodbury, Terminus) or just evil (Wolves, Saviors) and there’s a war afterward. Now, we’re not only meeting a new group without Rick for the first time, but the Whisperers are something else entirely.

Yes, they’re a new, largely evil group, that much is clear. But they don’t have a fortress. They don’t even use guns, so far as I can tell, but their use of zombie herds as both camouflage and offensive weapons is probably more terrifying than anything Rick’s group (they really need a new name now) has come across at this point.

The Whisperers were one thing in the comic, but their translation to screen is truly terrifying. The arrival of the Whisperers has suddenly made absolutely every sequence with zombies tense. It used to just be that a roaming group of walkers in the woods was something even Eugene could take on with his eyes closed. But now every single walker could be a thinking, murdering human in disguise, and in season 9B you already see the group trying to adapt to this new era (Whisperers scream if you shoot them places besides the head for instance).

There’s some good character stuff here with Daryl, where we get a tiny, tiny glimpse into his past in his interactions with Henry, and also Negan, who we last saw escaping in the midseason finale, and he leaves to find…a changed world, and there are some well set-up sequences for the time devoted to his mini-arc here. I also think the show is doing pretty good work with Tara in the wake of Jesus’ death, showing that no character is beyond redemption with Angela Kang at the helm.

Read the full review here.