Finally! After several months’ hiatus, The Walking Dead is back with one of the most nail-biting episodes of the season. This chapter was bursting with intrigue, from the revelation of the name “Negan,” to the unexpected collaboration between Rick’s group and the people of Alexandria to survive. From the depths of destruction and chaos, Episode Nine gave us a glimpse of hope and redemption in the most unlikely or characters.
And we’re compelled to ask: are all people truly redeemable?
Was the Wolf? (Will we ever know?)
This episode is ripe with water-cooler-discussion potential. Sadly, my brother Thom, who has written all the posts for Season 6 so far, is on a hiatus of his own for two weeks. I say “sadly” simply because he’s been doing such an incredible job providing both intelligent commentary and discussion about this season so far. But he has a good excuse; he’s in Uganda with a team from his church teaching and serving. He should be back in time to chime in for Episode Eleven.
So what did you get out of Episode Nine?
For comic book fans, we finally heard the name Negan, which ushers in a whole new era to the series, one that will cause viewers to quickly forget wimps like The Governor. More of him to come (I’m intrigued by the choice of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan).
This week also brought resolve to several quandaries:
- How would Alexandria survive the herd?
- Would Maggie and Glenn ever see each other again?
- When would Daryl, Abraham and Sasha reunite with the rest of the group?
- Will someone please tell Same to shut up!
This week also provided moments of redemption for several characters. Enid paused to read the James scripture on the wall and seemed to be inspired to act out on her convictions. Father Gabriel felt the same conviction, as did the people of Alexandria. Perhaps they all realized that their life meant little without action.
But one of the biggest redemption moments is probably still up for debate—the redeemability of the Wolf.
This brings us back to one of the biggest moral dilemmas of Season 6—the ethical struggle Morgan faced in Episode Four, Here’s Not Here. In that episode Morgan was completely reformed by his own personal wax on, wax off experience and resolved to live as a pacifist, not killing any human, good or evil. This didn’t set well with Carol, and the two actually fought it out in Episode Eight, Start to Finish (always ironic when you have to fight for your pacifism). Over the break many of us wrestled with a choice: Team Morgan, or Team Carol? Peace, or By All Means Necessary? Martin Luther King Jr., or Malcolm X?
This week the two emerged from the fallout of their fight, a fight that resulted in the Wolf getting the better of them both and holding Denise hostage.
The question remained. Was Morgan right to spare the Wolf? Are all people redeemable?
This weeks’ episode probably cajoled many of us to wonder about the Wolf’s motives. Was something different?
SEASON 6, EPISODE 9 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
- Was the Wolf the same as always… or had something changed?
- Why did he keep Denise alive—did he just need a doctor, or did he actually value her?
- Why did he question his own actions—going back for Denise?
- Why did he grab several walkers to help Denise escape as he was dying?
- Had Morgan’s mercy changed him? Had Denise changed him? Had anyone?
- Was the Wolf redeemable?
- Who was right, Morgan, or Carol?
Read Jonah, Chapter 3. The last verse reads:
When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened. (Jonah 3:10, NLT)
- Nineveh was unredeemable to Jonah, but worth saving to God. Why do you think God saved them?
- What did the people of Nineveh stop doing?
- Was their conversion just words, or did they put action to their faith?
- Is there anything you can do that can separate you from the love and mercy of God? (Romans 8:38,39)
- What is keeping you from getting right with God and allowing him to redeem you?