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A slower burn than the premiere, "The Bridge" is a compelling character study that lays necessary foundations for future installments.
If "The Bridge" is a slight downturn from last week's promising premiere, it's only because it's stuck between the shock of the show's new status quo and the build towards the rest of the season.
The story is moving forward and we aren't getting any conversations that have no meaning. Everything that is being said has some significance.
This episode continued to do an impressive job of showing how building a better future in the Zombie Apocalypse or any apocalypse, as essential as it may be, isn't nearly as easy or stress-free as one would think, while also ratcheting up the tension.
For now, The Walking Dead is holding its own, still charting a course for a more nuanced, smarter version of its former self.
"The Bridge" continues last week's strong narrative start as Rick, Maggie, and the others try to keep everyone united into one community, but a few cracks are beginning to show-and the same can be said of the TV series, too.
It's not exactly the smoothest road, either, with plenty of obvious bumps and the sort of base level work the show often does when trying to build up to a main storyline. At least it's still finding time for little human moments.
The first two episodes of Season 9, however, feel like a postapocalyptic edition of the Civilization games, and it's a nerdy delight.
Things seem to be going pretty well... as well as can be expected in the zombie apocalypse.
"The Bridge" was one of the most charming episodes of The Walking Dead's 8+ seasons, with lots of warm moments shared between characters. But something far more sinister was happening in the shadows.
For now, it seems as though The Walking Dead's ninth season has found a steady groove that recalls the glory days of seasons three and four. Enjoy it while it lasts