The Walking Dead season 9 mid-season premiere release date, episode recap, and everything else you need to know

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We're about halfway through the mid-season break for The Walking Dead season 9, which has already said goodbye to Rick, introduced The Whisperers, and given us not one, but two major time jumps in the space of eight episodes. The Walking Dead season 9 episode 8, the show's mid-season finale, ended on a spooky note for our gang of survivors, and so this season's impending return already has a lot to answer for. But perhaps the biggest question that everyone's asking is when is The Walking Dead season 9 back on our tellies? 

Luckily, the scheduled airing of the mid-season premiere isn't too far off, and AMC has already released a bunch of promotional material that you can check out for yourself below. Alongside that, we've got episode-by-episode recaps of everything that's happened in The Walking Dead season 9 so far, including the one with Rick's final goodbyes (sob). Have a read below, so long as you're not averse to the major spoilers for The Walking Dead season 9 entailed within. 

Fast Facts:

  • The Walking Dead season 9 mid-season premiere release date: February 10 (US), February 11 (UK)
  • The Walking Dead season 9 showrunner: Angela Kang
  • The Walking Dead season 9 cast: Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira, Christian Serratos, Josh McDermitt, Alanna Masterson

The Walking Dead S9.01 - A New Beginning

The season 9 premiere kicks off with a trip to Washington D.C., as Rick, Maggie, Daryl, and several others scavenge the city for vehicles, farming tools, and more. The only fatality of the trip is Kim, a character who we’ve never met before and is quickly killed off after the double whammy of being bit by a Walker and kicked in the chest by a horse. Ouch. On the way back from Washington, Ezekiel casually proposes to Carol, who resolutely declines the offer ("Not on a horse!"). 

Back at home, trouble is brewing at Sanctuary after pro-Negan graffiti is found scrawled across the walls, while Rick has trouble persuading Maggie to help out her neighbouring communities by sending more of Hilltop's workers and fighters. Speaking of Hilltop, we learn that Maggie is now the town’s official leader following an election against Gregory, who is extremely bitter about the situation. 

He plays the snake in the ear to Kim’s grieving parents, inebriating the father, Earl, and egging him on to make a play for Maggie’s life while she’s out with her baby Hershel(!) at night. The assassination attempt fails, and Hilltop’s leader responds by imprisoning Earl and hanging Gregory at the gallows, with Rick, Michonne, and Jesus watching on in horror. 

Read more: Is Maggie becoming The Walking Dead season 9's next big villain?

The Walking Dead S9.02 - The Bridge

The Bridge, unsurprisingly, focused on the survivor’s collaborative efforts to rebuild the damaged bridge first seen in A New Beginning. It’s proving difficult to get Saviours to cooperative in the project, however, especially as one particular thug is causing trouble, first by bullying young Henry and then failing to do his part in Walker crowd control, leading a herd straight into Daryl, Aaron, and a few other saviours on log-lifting duty. During the panic, Aaron’s arm gets crushed by falling log, forcing Enid to amputate it completely back at camp. Naturally, Daryl is pissed at the saviour responsible for the disaster, beating him repeatedly and trading verbal blows with Rich, who instead decides upon banishment as the most appropriate punishment. Alas, before he can make it very far, the exile is murdered by an unknown assailant.

Meanwhile, Anne and Gabriel develop a burgeoning romance but, during her night shift, the former spots that same helicopter she tried to flag down in season 8, and is visibly worried by its presence. Michonne travels to Hilltop to bargain with Maggie, who’s angry that the Saviours still haven’t turned up with her shipment of fuel. In the end, she releases her blacksmith and would-be killer Earl from imprisonment, which in turn allows Hilltop to spare more resources for Alexandria, Sanctuary, and The Kingdom. Oh, and Negan shows up right at the end, taunting Rick from his Alexandria-based prison cell with predictions of doom and destruction. Welp.

The Walking Dead S9.03 - Warning Signs

Rick decides to take some time off from being a weathered leader to enjoy some quality time with Michonne and Judith, but when a riot threatens to break out in the woods, his leisure time is cut short. The Saviours are getting agitated about the mysterious deaths of several members of their team, forcing Rick to investigate potential suspects. Many are suspicious of Anne, who’s angered by the fact that even Rick has his doubts about her loyalty. She sneaks off to her old Junkyard to reestablish contact with the helicopter she spotted in the last episode, and strikes a deal for an evac. Fortunately for her, Gabriel has followed her there, and upon discovering her intentions to flee, tells Anne that he plans to inform Rick about everything. In response, Anne knocks out her lover, presumably to use him as her bargaining chip for safe passage with the chopper. 

After Rick fails to find the murderer and soothe tensions, an aggressive trio of Saviours capture Carol and threaten to kill her unless Alexandria gives them back their guns. Thankfully, Rick and Carol are able to get the upper hand against them, but spares the contingent from punishment by death, promising that “every life matters”. Meanwhile, Maggie, and Daryl catch Oceanside red-handed, performing an execution on one of the Saviours during the night. Cyndie admits to the killings, but neither Daryl or Maggie do anything to stop them, instead walking away like it never happened, with the former ominously telling the latter that “it’s time to see Negan”.

The Walking Dead S9.04 - The Obliged

Michonne is finding it difficult to adjust to life in Alexandria, sneaking out at night to let off some steam by killing as many zombies as she can find. After a heart-to-heart with Negan, who is refusing to eat, she begins to worry whether she’s starting to turn into the former Savior king himself. Meanwhile, Anne decides to spare Gabriel's life, instead knocking him out and fleeing alone, presumably via the mysterious helicopter we still know so little about. Maggie begins her infiltration into Alexandria, while Daryl prevents Rick from stopping her by literally punching him into a giant pit. 

Both stuck at the bottom, the pair hash out their differences just in time to stop a massive herd of zombies overcoming the camp in the forest, who have been drawn there after a group of Saviors open fire upon Carol and The Kingdom. Having barely escaped the pit, Rick tries to draw away the herd from his people on horseback, but accidentally leads them into another massive herd along the way. Before he can even do anything to stop them merging, Rick’s horse panics and hurls him onto an open pipe, leaving him skewered and unconscious as the zombies close in en masse. Aaaand cut to black. 

The Walking Dead S9.05 - What Comes After

After freeing himself from a tricky situation, Rick deliriously meanders back to the bridge with the herd of zombies hot on his tail, experiencing all sorts of throwback hallucinations along the way. Meanwhile, Maggie finally makes it to Alexandria and, after a tense chat with Michonne, reacquaints with Negan with the intent to kill him. But the man in the cell is a husk where Negan used to be, and Maggie decides imprisonment to be a fate worse than death for the former villain, leaving him to wail and rot in his confinement. 

Rick makes it to the bridge just before Maggie, Daryl, Michonne and Carol find him, and realises that, in order to prevent the herd making it to Alexandria, he must blow himself, his bridge, and thousands of zombies into oblivion by shooting some conveniently placed dynamite on the floor. The entire thing is sent tumbling in the river, but Rick washes ashore downstream next to Anne, who smuggles him out of Atlanta via the mysterious helicopter she's been in contact with since The Walking Dead season 9's beginning. Flash forward six years later, and we meet a young Judith Grimes saving a new group survivors from a pack of zombies. Wait, what?! I guess we'll find out what's happened over the course of this time jump in the next episode...

The Walking Dead S9.06 - Who Are You Now?

Following on from last episode's six year time jump, Who Are You Now? is all about catching viewers up on the highlights that have happened in between. Alexandria is thriving, with its council of OG characters implementing a strict immigration policy following some unknown event that has apparently lead to Michonne being branded with an 'X' on her back and has isolated the three main communities from each other. Speaking of, Michonne is now a single mother to Rick's two children, Judith and the newly introduced R.J., while Carol and Ezekiel are leading The Kingdom as royals, having adopted Henry as their surrogate son. 

Let's see... what else? Oh yeah: Daryl is wandering the earth as a nomadic hermit; Gabriel and Rosita are lovers; Negan appears to be on the path to redemption (despite still being locked up in his cell); the Saviours are all but dead (with Carol burning alive the last remaining remnants); and The Whisperers show up right at the end, pursuing Rosita and a smitten Eugene amongst a large Walker herd. After Alexandria's council votes against accepting the four new survivors from episode 6 into their ranks, Michonne promises to take them to Hilltop, where an unnamed female leader awaits (we know this isn't Maggie, who's now left the show, so who could this be?). Carol, Henry, and Daryl are also on their way to the agrarian community, so expect to see a reunion of sorts in episode 7. 

The Walking Dead S9.07 - Stradivarius

Michonne, Siddiq, and new character DJ (yeah, I don't know where he came from either) escort Luke, Connie, Kelly, Magna, and Yumiko to Hilltop, but tensions escalate as Michonne's paranoia results in the accidental slicing of Luke's favourite instrument, the Stradivarius of the title. Eventually, Siddiq reveals to Michonne that Maggie has left Hilltop for The Commonwealth, telling few people outside of the community's walls in the process, and it's implied that the pair were not on speaking terms before she departed. 

Meanwhile, at Hilltop itself, Jesus is struggling to rule with zeal as the community's newly elected leader, and often sneaks out for some one-on-one training time with Aaron. It's during this excursion that the pair come across Rosita, who's in bad shape after a run-in with The Whisperers, having lost Eugene somewhere along the way. It's around the same time that Carol and Henry make a pit stop at Daryl's camp in the woods, where he and his new pet dog have been living it rough while still searching for Rick's body. Daryl agrees to look after Henry during his stay at Hilltop, but upon making it there, Jesus asks him to come out with Tara to look for Eugene, at which point the episode wraps up.

The Walking Dead S9.08 - Evolution

Aaron, Jesus, and Daryl go on a search and rescue mission for Eugene, only to encounter a herd of Walkers that is somehow tailing them at high speed. The trio eventually find Eugene hidden up in a barn, and flee to a nearby cemetery to try and escape their undead pursuers. Meanwhile, Michonne and her escorted quartet of new survivors reach Hilltop, only to receive a frosty welcome from Tara, now the community's de facto leader in Jesus' absence. Henry and Carol are also at the settlement, with the former already aggrieved upon discovering Enid's budding romance with Alden, and subsequently mixing himself in with Hilltop's teenage rebels, who like to trap Walkers in holes for fun. 

Back at Alexandria, Gabriel accidentally leaves Negan's prison cell unlocked, allowing the villain to make a last minute escape following seven years of incarceration. But back to the cemetery where, upon defending his friends from an onslaught of Walkers, Jesus is killed by a Whisperer with a knife, leaving everyone else to mourn as a the group of zombie imitating cultists descend upon them. Looks like we'll have to see how they make their escape in season 9's mid-season premiere...

When does The Walking Dead season 9 return?

The Walking Dead season 9 will return from its break with a mid-season premiere on Sunday, February 10 at 9 PM PST/ET on Fox in the US, while UK viewers can catch it on AMC the following day at 9 PM BST, Monday, February 11. From there, season 9 will air a new episode at those same times and dates every week for eight weeks until its grand finale in March, which will close out the season for good. Following that, you'll have to wait until October 2019 for The Walking Dead season 10, which has already been confirmed by AMC.  

The Walking Dead's mid-season trailers tease a scary showdown with The Whisperers

AMC has released two trailers for the final half of The Walking Dead season 9, both of which focus heavily on the exploits of big new baddie The Whisperers. For context, this group originally featured in Skybound's comic book source material, as a creepy cult of cannibals who wear the faces of the undead in order to blend in with Walker herds, and subsequently weaponise them against the living. Be warned; the first teaser below is genuinely skin-crawling, but gives you your first proper look at one of The Whisperers in all their fleshy glory. 

The second trailer is a bit more traditional, teasing what's in store for the show in its last leg of season 9, while reflecting on the latest fatality in the story so far. But don't worry, The Whisperers are still front and centre of the footage, including glimpses of the group's main leaders, Alpha and Beta. Have a watch for yourself below. 

We're sure AMC will release a more substantial trailer in the coming weeks leading up to the mid-season premiere, but these two are more than enough to suggest that The Whisperers could be The Walking Dead's scariest and most dangerous villain to date. We'll be sure to keep this page updated with all the latest news and info about the show as it arrives, so be sure to check back in every now and again to get your zombie fix before The Walking Dead returns. 

If you still haven't quite caught up with AMC's Atlantan apocalypse, check out our The Walking Dead season 8 recap for episodic summaries of everything that went down in the war with Negan.