Contains spoilers from The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 1.
With Andrew Lincoln's departure looming, The Walking Dead's ninth season premiere demonstrates a return to form for the series.
Aptly titled A New Beginning, the episode takes place 18 months after the events of the eighth season finale. The previous two seasons centred around The Saviors' reign of terror, all of which came to a colossal (albeit anti-climatic) end before the conclusion of Season 8. A New Beginning finds our characters with a new sense of purpose, and Rick Grimes has become something of a saviour, in the traditional sense of the word. For the first time in many years, the protagonist of the show is at peace, which is perhaps what makes the thought of his upcoming demise all the more upsetting.
Maggie Rhee and Carol Peletier are also on new paths in Season 9, as the former heads down a dark road and the latter has finally found happiness. Daryl finds himself at something of an impasse, and Gregory is, well, Gregory.
Angela Kang's vision for The Walking Dead is looking pretty sweet thus far, even if it's not without its problems. Nonetheless, after having to endure several slow and dull seasons under Scott Gimple, it's worth commending Kang for making such significant improvements.