Blu-ray Review: The Walking Dead: The Complete Ninth Season

The Walking Dead is based on the hugely popular graphic novels by Robert Kirkman. The series stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Alanna Masterson, Christian Serratos, Khary Payton, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Tom Payne, Ryan Hurst, Cailey Fleming, Matt Lintz,Cassady McClincy,Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Samantha Morton.

Last season brought the culmination of “All Out War,” which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their leader, Negan. With Negan’s life in his hands, Rick had a character-defining choice in front of him, and he spared Negan to uphold the values his late son, Carl, championed – values that created conflict within his group. Now, with our survivors rebuilding civilization under Rick’s leadership a year and a half after the end of the war, it’s a time of relative peace among the communities. However, the world they knew is rapidly changing, nature is literally taking over, and, as time passes, the communities confront unexpected obstacles and danger. But nothing can prepare them for the formidable force they’re about to encounter, threatening the very idea of civilization our survivors have worked so hard to build.

In the opening of the ninth season we see that Alexandria, Hill Top and the other communities have become close allies and completely self-sufficient. They’re no longer scavengers and have become producers. Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) leadership has led them all to this point but not everyone is on board with his plan and thinks he’s become more of a dictator than a leader. There is some betrayal within the ranks for a brief period. What happens is, Rick ends up leading a giant horde of walkers away from Alexandria where his friends arrive at the last second to help him. The thing is, Rick has suffered a life-threatening injury and it’s left him extremely weak so he decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and blows up a bridge that allows the walkers to drop into the river and swept away from his friends. In the process, he’s thrown from the violent explosion where everyone sadly thinks he’s dead. The thing is, the heroic Rick Grimes will eventually return!

The series makes a strange time jump six-years into the future where we meet Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) who’s picked up where her father left off. There’s also an odd bond that forms between Judith and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who becomes fond of the young girl. The big threat for the communities are The Whisperers, a mysterious group that wears masks of the undead that allows them to move within the packs of the walkers. Alpha (Samantha Mmorton) is the leader and she’s not one to be messed with because she doesn’t play. Alpha’s daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy) and Henry (Matt Lintz) become close and this doesn’t set well with the deranged leader. Alpha shows Michonne (Dania Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the rest of the group how dangerous she actually is when she leaves a shocking and heartbreaking warning for them. The communities decide it’s safer to unite against this deadly new threat and ultimately have to battle against the harsh, wintery elements before they’re able to get to safety.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes season nine details, some images and list of special features. The artwork for each Blu-ray disc features images of two characters from this season. Inserting each disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, even though The Walking Dead has lost some of its magic over the past few seasons it’s still a really good watch and season nine was locked and loaded. There was a change in showrunners this season which brought some major changes like time jumps and even the storytelling. There’s still a lot of action-packed episodes but unfortunately there’s also some filler time but not as much as recent seasons. This season included some shocking departures, most notably Andrew Lincoln whose character Rick Grimes has been the featured leader on the series since it premiered. This character is also the heart and soul of The Walking Dead, even in his absense. What I liked the most about the ninth season was the introduction of The Whisperers which brought a fresh new element of horror to the series. Alpha and her group of masked killers are extremely creepy and very dangerous! I think the biggest problem with the series now is that some of the characters don’t stick around long enough to get developed because they’re quickly killed off which means the viewers don’t really care if they live or die. The cast still does a really good job with their characters and The Walking Dead continues to feature some impressive special effects in the makeup and visual department. Every season finale has always included some kind of cliffhanger but they tried something new in season nine and brought in some cold weather for the group to battle and I have to admit that it worked really well. The Walking Dead: The Complete Ninth Season will be available on a 5-disc Blu-ray set (plus Digital) on August 20th.

Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Run Time: 5 Discs / 16 Episodes / 751 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Atmos / French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Special Features: The extras include some deleted scenes, five behind-the-scenes featurettes, a bonus scene, “Inside Episode” mini featurettes for all sixteen episodes, “Making of” mini featurettes for all sixteen episodes and a digital copy of this season.

  • Deleted Scenes (10:15)
  • “Seasons Change” Featurette (08:03)
  • “In Memoriam” Featurette (10:36)
  • “The Whisperers: Behind the Mask” Featurette (10:38)
  • “Rick Farewell” Featurette (04:14)
  • “Time Jump” Featurette (03:00)
  • Bonus Scene: Episode 908
  • “Inside Episode …” Featurettes per episode
  • “Making of …” Featurettes per episode
  • Digital Copy
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