Season 9, Episode 1
A New Beginning
Rick and his group make a risky run into Washington, D.C. to search for artifacts they will need to build the civilization he and Carl envisioned.
At the Sanctuary, Eugene, Rosita, and the Saviors make fuel out of dead corn. Daryl studies a book on motorcycle conversions when Laura whispers something to him. He finds Arat and a Savior named Justin stringing up a walker outside to scare the birds away. Appalled, Daryl shoots the walker in the head.
Daryl rides his motorcycle down a road and crosses paths with Jerry. Jerry announces the road is clear.
Rick’s group enters a museum. Rick instructs the group to reconvene later near the rotunda, and they go separate ways.
Michonne, Maggie, Carol, Daryl, Ezekiel and Cyndie walk across a glass floor. Underneath the floor, walkers mill about. Another walker falls from an upper balcony and hits the floor, cracking it. The group ascends a staircase.
Rick, Gabriel, Anne and Siddiq enter a dark room. Siddiq gets trapped by a walker, and loses his cool as spiders climb through the walker's eye sockets. He recovers and kills the walker with his knife. They proceed into the evolution wing of the museum.
Gabriel impales a walker against a display. He and Anne take a moment to muse about the new work of art he inadvertently created, a display showing the stages of human evolution, ending with the dead walker he just impaled.
Daryl and Cyndie find a canoe and hoist it up. The canoe reminds Cyndie of a fight she had with her brother. Seeing her vulnerability, Daryl tells her about his brother and his friends.
Rick’s group enters a room in the basement. Rick finds packets of heirloom seeds in the drawers, thanks to a tip from Anne. Rick says that the Sanctuary will be grateful for the seeds.
Maggie tells Michonne and Carol that Gregory called for a Hilltop election and lost. They find a plow, and Maggie says the Hilltop blacksmith can use it as a model to build more plows.
The whole group carries the plow, canoe and a wagon down a staircase. As they’re clearing the last item, the weight of the wagon breaks the glass floor. Ezekiel pushes the wagon to safety and falls through the glass into a herd of walkers, suspended above the ground only by the straps he was using to haul the wagon. The group pulls him out, unscathed. Carol kisses him in relief.
Rick’s group leaves Washington D.C. with their newfound goods.
Daryl and Rosita scout ahead while the group rides down a road. Ezekiel proposes to Carol. She playfully tells him to put that ring away, that he’s not supposed to ask her like that. He tells her he’ll keep it until she’s ready.
Rick’s group reaches a bridge that was destroyed by a herd. After they discuss alternate routes, Rick tells Gabriel and several others to return to Alexandria while the rest of the group goes to Sanctuary or Hilltop for the night.
Back on the road, the wagon gets stuck in mud. Rick orders the group to split up and give the horses some rest.
Walkers approach Rick’s group as they dislodge the wagon from the mud. Daryl and Michonne attack the walkers while others load the canoe and plow onto the cart. The group flees when the walkers get too close. Ken, the blacksmith’s son, tries to liberate his horse from the wagon, but gets bitten by a walker.
Siddiq and Enid try to save him, urging him to stay awake, but to no avail. Maggie cries as she takes her knife and ends Ken.
At Hilltop, Maggie delivers the news of Ken’s death to his parents, Earl and Tammy Rose. Tammy angrily points out that Ken died while providing goods for the Saviors, not Hilltop. She says that Gregory, unlike Maggie, always put Hilltop first.
Maggie offers to plan a funeral for Ken, but Tammy says she'll do it herself, and that Maggie is not welcome.
Alden sings a requiem at Ken’s funeral. Maggie watches from her balcony, carrying baby Hershel.
Rick arrives at the Sanctuary with Michonne, and somebody announces excitedly, "Rick Grimes is here!" The Sanctuary workers crowd around Rick. Mel, a worker, tells Rick that he hopes Negan is suffering. Michonne sees graffiti on the wall, “We are still Negan,” and “Saviors save us.” Daryl says similar notes have been showing up ever since the crop started dying. He orders Justin to clean it up.
At Hilltop, Gregory delivers an emotional eulogy during Ken’s funeral. Jesus notes that it was beautiful.
Rick announces that he came back with farming tools and heirloom seeds for the Sanctuary. He assures them that they’re all going to pitch in to make sure Sanctuary has what it needs, so that they can get back on their feet. The Sanctuary residents cheer.
Daryl informs Rick that he doesn’t want to be the one leading the Saviors anymore, and points out that they are taking resources from other communities to support the Sanctuary, just like Negan did. Rick insists that, unlike with Negan, the other communities are giving resources by choice. Daryl wonders how long the arrangement can last, given how scarce their resources are. Rick says someone must take Daryl’s place at the Sanctuary. Meanwhile, Carol has been eavesdropping on the conversation.
Gregory brings liquor to Earl and Tammy. Tammy takes a swig.
Back at Sanctuary, Carol and Daryl chat about her romance with Ezekiel. Carol offers to take Daryl’s spot as head of the Sanctuary.
Earl, drunk from Gregory’s liquor, complains to Gregory about the injustice of Ken’s death. Gregory implies that Maggie rigged the election and that Maggie does whatever Rick tells her, even if it’s not good for Hilltop. He blames Maggie for Ken’s death. Earl doesn't think there's anything they can do about that, but Gregory says that she doesn’t have to be the leader.
Rick snuggles with Michonne in bed and wonders if they should have killed Negan. Michonne assures him that Saviors are only unhappy because they want food, not Negan. She suggests they create a charter for all three communities to lay down rules and consequences of breaking those rules.
Maggie runs into Gregory while taking her baby for a nighttime stroll. Gregory tells Maggie that someone defaced Glenn’s grave.
She rushes to the grave, where a hooded figure attacks her. Enid and Alden race to Maggie’s side and apprehend the assailant: It’s Earl.
Maggie marches into Gregory’s house and accuses him of trying to murder her. He tries to stab her with a knife, but she grabs it and holds him at knifepoint.
Carol says goodbye to Ezekiel at the Sanctuary. Ezekiel and Jerry ride off.
Michonne, Rick, and Daryl arrive at Hilltop, where Maggie greets them.
Rick visits Maggie and baby Hershel at their home. He invites Maggie to visit Alexandria. She says she can’t – he knows she can’t. Rick asks for Hilltop’s help to fix the bridge and provide more food to the Sanctuary. Maggie allows her people to help repair the bridge but refuses to send more food and supplies without something in return. She demands that the Sanctuary provide most of the labor on the bridge and that they send over all the fuel they’ve made from their corn. Rick points out that the Sanctuary is barely surviving. Maggie casts doubts on Hilltop’s obligation to help the Saviors in the first place.
Hilltop residents gather around the gallows, where they find -- not Earl, but Gregory with a noose around his neck, sitting on a horse. Gregory pleas for someone to stop this. Maggie cues Daryl to release the horse carrying Gregory, leaving him to hang. In a somber moment, Maggie faces the crowd and explains that she made this decision but does not want to go through it again.