A six-year time jump on The Walking Dead revealed the formerly united communities are now fractured — and Oceanside is conspicuously absent.
“I don’t know! Oceanside is out there,” showrunner Angela Kang told EW when asked about their whereabouts. “There are all these communities that have disbanded that are there. We haven’t told much Oceanside stuff this year, but there may be stuff in Oceanside someday.”
The all-female colony was last seen struggling to adapt to the rule of law established by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who enforced post-war peacetime that saw all five communities — Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom, Oceanside, and the Sanctuary — working hand-in-hand as they sought to reclaim a new civilization bound by a charter established by Alexandria co-leader Michonne (Danai Gurira).
Oceanside leader Cyndie (Sydney Park) rebelled against Rick’s “every life counts now” philosophy, which meant having to play nice with former war criminals the Saviors — the camp formerly led by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who were responsible for the mass slaughter of Oceanside’s male members at the order of Savior general Simon (Steven Ogg).
18 months after Negan’s jailing — a unilateral decision made by Rick, sparking controversy and conflict even with close allies Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and right-hand man Daryl (Norman Reedus) — Cyndie led a clandestine effort to exact their revenge on the Saviors, which saw the Oceansiders pick off troublesome Justin (Zach McGowan), leading to increased tensions among the remaining Saviors.
Daryl and Maggie learned Cyndie was galvanized by Maggie’s actions at the Hilltop, where the elected leader ordered the hanging of treacherous Gregory (Xander Berkeley) following back-to-back attempts on her life.
Maggie unilaterally punishing Gregory with death showed Oceanside Rick’s rules “aren’t the only rules,” Cyndie said, before executing seemingly reformed Savior Arat (Elizabeth Ludlow) — a death Daryl and Maggie turned a blind eye to when agreeing to make a visit to the jailed Negan, a situation that ultimately resulted in a gruesome injury for Rick and his apparent “death” at the bridge once intended to literally and symbolically link all the communities.
Six years later, the destroyed bridge remains in ruin, Michonne has become hardened and more suspicious than ever of outsiders, and a feud of undetermined cause has resulted in icy dealings between Alexandria and the Hilltop, which is now run by Tara (Alanna Masterson) following Maggie’s quiet departure and the sudden death of interim leader Jesus (Tom Payne).
Michonne has since admitted that feud was birthed out of tough decisions she was forced to make, telling Siddiq (Avi Nash), “I didn’t make the choices I made because I thought they’d be easy. At least they’re alive so they can hate me for it.”
Kang has confirmed the back half of Season Nine will reveal what happened in those six years to fracture the group, telling EW “we’ll see some of what has happened” as that mystery unfolds.
The season 9B trailer also showed Michonne with her original hairstyle pre-six-year time jump, and looking particularly distraught when swinging her katana in a location that appears to be the same site of Arat’s subsequent execution — also the same location Simon ordered the slaughter of the male Oceansiders.
Could the event that drove the group and the communities apart be the same cause for Oceanside’s complete lack of involvement in the post-Rick Grimes era?
Alternatively, Oceanside was already at odds with Rick’s vision for the future — it’s fair to assume Rick’s “death,” and whatever happened to split Alexandria and Hilltop, could have been enough for Oceanside to splinter off and go their own way completely, returning to the isolationist lifestyle they lived before Oceanside was dragged into the war against Negan and the Saviors in Season Eight.
Asked by ComicBook.com if audiences would be seeing more of Oceanside in the future following the shocking reveal in 903, “Warning Signs,” Cyndie actress Sydney Park admitted she didn’t know.0comments
“Like truthfully, I really don’t know. I hope so,” Park said. “I love being a part of the show, and I feel like there is so much more story to tell, not only with my character and my tribe, but with everyone else.”
The Walking Dead returns with the back half of Season Nine Sunday, February 10 at 9/8c on AMC.