Following last week’s shocking episode, in which 10 characters were killed, The Walking Dead chose a slow-burn, emotional episode for the season 9 finale.

The episode opened with the collapse of the Kingdom, which has finally crumbled following the disarray of everyone murdered in the last episode. Carol (Melissa McBride), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) led the group toward Alexandria and Hilltop.

On their trek toward their new homes, the group is threatened by a massive snow storm, a first for The Walking Dead.

Lydia (Cassady McClincy) is depressed over the loss of Henry, as she feels rejected by the rest of the group. Similarly, Carol has lost yet another child, making her feel helpless and detached from everyone around her.

Lydia attempted suicide but is saved by Carol in the end. Lydia suggested Carol should kill her as redemption for Henry’s death. She argued she was weak and deserved to die. In a touching moment, Carol told Lydia that she wasn’t weak, suggesting a bond between the two going forward.

Once the group made it to Hilltop and Alexandria, hard choices had to be made. As Ezekiel attempted to move on from Henry’s death, he understood Daryl to be a threat to his strained relationship with Carol. He pulled Daryl aside and asked him to go to Alexandria and stay away from Carol. However, in the end, it ended up being a mistake. Carol deemed their relationship too far gone to recover, saying their love was a fairytale and gave Ezekiel his ring back before moving on to Alexandria.

The show also started a redemption arc for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who saved Judith after she ran off into the storm. The move earned praise from even Michonne, but the show has a lot of work to do to make this villain a new hero going forward.

And where were the Whisperers in all of this? Toward the end of the episode, Alpha (Samantha Morton) was seen with her army in a warm area, strengthening and preparing for what was to come.

As the episode wrapped up, a mysterious voice appeared on a radio, yet none of the characters heard it. Could it be the return of the fearless leader, Rick Grimes? Or is it teasing another community as the show expands further. With a renewed brevity in season 9, The Walking Dead will continue to explore these interesting dynamics as it begins its 10th season.

Here’s how fans reacted to the finale on Twitter: