The Walking Dead Season 9 midseason finale was an atmospheric thriller. Evolution finally brought the deadly Whisperers out of the shadows. The Hilltop loses a major character in the fight. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) gets off the bench and back in the game. Henry (Matt Lintz) has a rough start at the Hilltop. Magna's (Nadia Hilker) group proves their worth.

Daryl (Norman Reedus), Jesus (Tom Payne), and Aaron (Ross Marquand) are searching for Eugene (Josh McDermitt). They look at a herd of walkers circling in a field. They've never seen this type of behavior. When they continue the search, a walker turns and stares directly at them.

In Alexandria, Negan is in his cell bouncing a ball against the wall. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) attempts to help him meditate. Negan mocks him by talking about Rosita (Christian Serratos), and what he heard her say outside his cell window. Gabriel walks out in a huff. He sees the Hilltop's riders deliver the news about the injured Rosita.

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A rider warns the Hilltop farmers that people are coming. The farmers race behind the gates. Michonne (Danai Gurira), Siddiq (Avi Nash), and Magna's group reach the gates. Dianne (Kerry Cahill) isn't happy to see Michonne. They drop their weapons before entering. Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Michonne share a frosty reunion. She updates Michonne on Rosita, Eugene, and Daryl's search party. Michonne sees Carol (Melissa McBride) and they catch up. Carol asks about RJ, and whether Alexandria will attend the fair. Michonne replies that the communities are separate. Everyone must look out for their own.

Aaron chides Jesus for skirting his leadership duties at the Hilltop. He also wishes that Daryl would come around more. Daryl is good at finding people. The herd is still following them. Daryl winds up a clock and throws it into the distance.

At the Hilltop, Carol is packing up to return to the Kingdom. Henry gives her a box of nails and screws, an advance on his salary as a blacksmith. Carol cries, she is proud of her boy. Dianne decides to return with Carol. Henry begins his apprenticeship with Earl (John Finn), who invites him to dinner. Henry looks at Enid (Katelyn Nacon). He's about to decline, until she kisses Alden (Callan McAuliffe).

In Alexandria, Gabriel is cleaning Negan's bed pan. Negan mocks him for cleaning up his shit. Gabriel explodes in anger, telling Negan to shut up. Rosita left because of him and is now injured. He angrily storms out of Negan's cell. Back at the Hilltop, Henry meets a group of kids led by Rodney (Joe Ando-Hirsh). They convince him to sneak out that night.

In the Hilltop infirmary, Siddiq apologizes to Michonne for keeping secrets. Rosita wakes up. Michonne informs her of the search for Eugene. She springs out of bed alarmed. They don't know what they're facing.

That night, Daryl's group reaches the barn. The dog finds Eugene hiding in the cellar under hay. Eugene tells them that the walkers will come back again. He thinks they have evolved. He and Rosita heard them whispering to each other. The walker herd comes out of the woods toward them.

Henry is drinking moonshine with Hilltop's rebel teens. They take him to a pit where they trapped a walker. Rodney laughs and toys with it. Henry is disgusted. He jumps in and kills the walker.

Daryl leads Jesus, Aaron, and the hobbled Eugene. A storm is coming, the herd is right behind them. Daryl tells them to take Eugene. He'll distract the herd and meet them back at the Hilltop.

In Alexandria, Negan accidentally tosses his ball outside his cell. He's annoyed at first, then realizes his cell door is unlocked. Negan walks out surprised, smiles devilishly, and escapes. Back at the Hilltop, Henry is thrown in the brig for being drunk outside the gates. He throws up on Tara's shoes. Earl is disappointed in his behavior, especially when he won't give up the other teens. Henry cannot let down his mother, and begs for a second chance. Earl forgives him, but says Jesus will decide if he gets out early.

Daryl sees the herd approaching. He tosses firecrackers to draw their attention, but is stunned as they continue towards the others. Jesus, Aaron, and Eugene arrive at a graveyard. They race to a gate, but are trapped by the herd. Aaron and Jesus fight the walkers. Suddenly, Michonne and Nadia's group arrive at the gate to help them.

Michonne forces open the gate to get Eugene. They watch as Jesus is grabbed from behind, then knifed to death by a walker. Daryl arrives, they fight and kill the remaining attackers. Michonne looks at the vivid red blood on her sword. Daryl inspects one of the dead. He cuts off a mask made of walker skin to reveal a man. The group gets back to back as they are surrounded by the Whisperers.

The Whisperers kill Jesus and have the others trapped. Negan has been set free, undoubtedly by Gabriel. Carol and Diane are still en route to the Kingdom. The midseason finale was an avalanche of plot development; although we still don't know what happened between Michonne and the others. Jesus will not be the last character to meet a gruesome end by the Whisperers. Their storyline will certainly bring more carnage, when The Walking Dead returns next February on AMC.