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Episode 3 was another solid episode of “The Walking Dead”.

So far, series nine has been a marked improvement on the last. That said, it is difficult to comprehend what “The Walking Dead” will look like post-Rick Grimes. So far, the series has been a ticking clock…as an audience, we are just waiting for Andrew Lincoln/Rick Grimes’ exit. Advertising around this spoiler has been rather curious; instead of playing “will they/won’t they” around Rick’s future on the show, their entire advertising campaign has revolved around the fact Rick will be leaving the series, even specifying which episode will be his last. The speculation is more focused on how he will depart, with rumours that they may leave the door ajar for a potential return in the future. Although I wouldn't get your hopes too high on that front... Early in the episode, Rick and Michonne discuss having a child and as such, we can expect his exit to be that much more bittersweet. There has always been a push and pull about whether there is a “future” for any of these characters, and many of them have battled with the idea that there was little to live for. Carl’s last plea to Rick was about believing in and creating a better future. If Michonne conceives Rick’s baby, these characters have hope for the future and Rick Grimes still has a future (of sorts) on the show. Perhaps the writers want to soften the blow of Rick’s departure, perhaps they want to leave us drowning in tears. Also, it was kind of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment but did anyone else notice Michonne wipe something (that looked a lot like blood) off her arm during that scene? At first I assumed it may be Justin's...but as we later find out, it wasn't her who offed him. So it's a bit of a mystery...

Elsewhere, I am still quite baffled about the union that is Anne and Father Gabriel. I used to detest Anne (well, in her former incarnation as Jadis) but she grew on me by the end of the last season. In addition, she seems to have a connection to this helicopter. And a fixation on the difference between As and Bs. I am not sure what any of that means - but she is not beyond trading people for supplies (another possibly ‘end’ for Rick?) and after her altercation with Father Gabriel, we realise there is far more to her than we could have guessed.

Even more importantly, tensions are on the rise (again) after Justin is found dead, compromising the already fragile allegiances within the group. After Rick inspects the body and identifies the fatal wound, he goes straight to Daryl. Unsurprisingly, Daryl is not thrilled to be accused of murder, but he is unfazed; he thinks such conflict was inevitable. Aside from Daryl-Rick drama, which is rather moving actually, if only because they both make fair arguments but cannot stand together on the issue, the ‘murder mystery’ was later solved by Daryl and Maggie. Spoiler - it was Oceanside.

Maggie and Daryl are still united by the pain that has been inflicted upon them by the Saviours, and they are united against Rick and the choices he’s made regarding the Saviours. It’s sad to see this unravelling, all the while Rick does not realise how quickly and spectacularly it is happening.

Daryl and Maggie fail to condemn the executions and instead, turn their attentions to Negan. This makes me metaphorically shrug - foiled vendettas are passé in ‘The Walking Dead’ by this point and I don’t imagine they will succeed. But the fall-out of their attempt will lead to another confrontation with Rick which will likely lead to...Well, the advertising campaign has made it very clear where all roads lead this season.

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