The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 16 Review: The Storm

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Brace yourselves, more Game of Thrones puns are coming.

Winter finally arrived on The Walking Dead Season 9 episode 16, but unlike the raging snowstorm that engulfed the communities, it was mostly uneventful. However, that's somewhat forgiving considering that last weeks emotional rollercoaster was a tough act to follow.

Getting a glimpse of how the groups deal with the elements while trying to survive is something that has never gotten depicted before. And while it did a decent job of showcasing that and would have been a great standalone episode, but as a season finale, it didn't quite work.

Winter Has Arrived

"The Storm" had a lot of promise going into the episode, as the idea of being a part of the groups physical and emotional journey through the harshness of winter while dealing with the dead was a very intriguing scenario.

The closest we've ever been to experiencing that situation previously was during The Walking Dead Season 3, where Rick and company merely side comments about their struggles and barely making it through winter.

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But after nine long years, we finally got treated to the visual snow blanketed apocalypse. It was quite a sight to behold.

The visual of the frozen walkers was particularly unsettling, and the viewers sharing the survivors' perspective of uncertainty on if the hazy figures in the distance were Whisperers or walkers was equally frightening.

No Rest For The Dead - The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 16

It was a long time coming, but the Kingdom finally fell. There was a lot of foreshadowing throughout the season regarding the community's living condition and their attempts at merely putting bandaid's on significant problems. But in the end, the Kingdom was beyond repair.

Thankfully the Hilltop opened its doors to the King and his people, but getting there proved to be a difficult task.

Warm, Cozy, and Shackled - The Walking Dead

Did anyone else find it ironic how the group ended up finding shelter in Negan's former base of operations? The place that was once the home to the malicious Saviors ended up being an actual sanctuary. Even if only a temporary one.

Had they stayed at the Sanctuary, death was inevitable. At least taking a risk by traversing through Alpha's border and into Whisperer territory would, at least, give them a chance at survival.

Ezekial: The Kingdom fell. I should have seen it coming... gotten us out sooner. My people wouldn't be like this if it weren't for me.
Michonne: No they wouldn't be, because they wouldn't be here at all.

While the storm strengthened, the battle against the extreme weather conditions wasn't the only issue the group faced.

The losses of Enid, Tara, and Henry generated an immense amount of hostility towards Lydia, and rightfully so. Especially after Michonne's warning on The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 14 of putting everyone around her in danger came to fruition.

Not only did Lydia get shunned by her former group and suffer the loss of Henry, but she found herself living with the guilt of being the root cause of his death.

The Ties That Bond - The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 16

In spite of that, Daryl stepped up as Lydia's protector, which is a stark contrast to his initial stance only several episodes ago. And while Daryl feels that keeping Lydia safe is his way of honoring Henry, you have to think that he has to have some resentment toward her as well.

Had Daryl turned over Lydia, to begin with, all of the recent deaths could have potentially been avoided, but hindsight is 20/20, and that is a decision he will have to live with now.

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Speaking of someone who no doubt has a lot of animosity built up, I'm surprised Carol didn't take her opportunity to take out Lydia. I'm even more astonished that Carol wasn't initially out for blood during this episode which was a bit of a letdown.

Carol is one of -- if not the most -- complex and relatable characters left on this series, so when Carol hurts, we all feel it. That's why part of me wanted Carol to take Lydia out and enact some form of retribution.

What better way to get back at Alpha than to kill her daughter? It couldn't get more poetic than that.

Eye For An Eye - The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 16

Was anyone else waiting for Carol to cut off her long silver locks as a symbol of Ruthless Carol's return? Perhaps my hopes were too high going into the finale that left me a bit underwhelmed in the end.

The episode opened on a rather somber note with Ezekial's hopelessness about his people's future, but by the end, hope was revitalized.

That is very similar to how fans viewed this season as a whole.

Negan: God, I missed you Eugene.
Eugene: Can't say the same.

The Walking Dead Season 9 had a lot against it before it even aired its first episode, as not only was its star, Andrew Lincoln, departing the series, but the overall future of the show got cast in doubt.

"The Storm" wasn't the episode I expected to close out an overall exceptional season, as it would have been better served as the Season 10 premiere rather than this season's finale.

Related: The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 15 Review: The Calm Before

But personal preference aside, it's difficult to argue that The Walking Dead Season 9 wasn't the best the series has been in years. Sure it sputtered and tripped over itself at times -- as it's been known to do in the past -- but the strives that showrunner Angela Kang has made in righting the ship cannot go unnoticed.

When you've hit rock bottom as The Walking Dead did over the last two seasons the only place left to go is up, and I think Angela Kang is well on her way to elevating this series to new and exciting heights.

Out For Justice - The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 16

Stray thoughts:

  • Anyone notice the torso walker being a nod to the walker that Rick came across in the very first episode? Well played, Greg Nicotero, well played.
  • I could get on board with Jerry's renaming of Hilltop as KingTop!
  • Negan poking fun at the "hot little love quadrangle" between Gabriel, Siddiq, Rosita, and Eugene was hysterical.
  • Judith is doing a bang up job of keeping the Grimes' childhood tradition of running off alive and well.
  • Who was the woman on the radio transmission? Could it be someone from Georgie's people? What are the odds are it will be an entirely new group introduced in The Walking Dead Season 10?
  • Michonne's come a long way in her attitude towards Negan. She's slowly coming around to him as he's proved his loyalty on numerous occasions.

Now it's your turn, Walking Dead fanatics!

What did you think of The Walking Dead Season 9 finale? Who could the person from the radio transmission be? Will Negan end up becoming an ally in the coming war with the Whisperers?  What are your hopes for next season?

Hit the comments below and let me know.

In the meantime, you can always watch The Walking Dead online right here at TV Fanatic.

The Storm Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (47 Votes)

Steven Ford is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 16 Quotes

Ezekial: The Kingdom fell. I should have seen it coming... gotten us out sooner. My people wouldn't be like this if it weren't for me.
Michonne: No they wouldn't be, because they wouldn't be here at all.

Ezekial: I know you have to do this, but I will never stop loving you.
Carol: And I'll never regret the fairy tale.