Well, the good news is that zombies cannot actually talk. The bad news is that our heroes just watched one of their own get slayed by a dude wearing a zombie skin mask over his face. (Kinda gross, no?) So begins the era of the Whisperers on The Walking Dead, and when the show returns Feb. 10 for the second half of season 9, Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and company are still in that spooky cemetery and must discover a way out.

We’ve got your exclusive first look at the return of The Walking Dead, and it shows that there will be no time-jump when the action picks back up. “It’s gonna be a direct pickup,” says showrunner Angela Kang about how things start in the midseason premiere. “We’re gonna find out what happens to that group that was in the cemetery as they try to make their harrowing journey back home to bury Jesus.”

And during that journey of season 9B, the characters — along with viewers — will have to piece together the mystery of this latest threat. “We’ll get to know more about this group,” teases Kang of the Whisperers, “and their brutal survival of the fittest philosophy and how that really plays out in horrifying ways.” You mean the zombie skin mask was not horrifying enough?!

Enjoy the first photo (complete with dead Jesus) from the second half of season 9 below, and stay tuned for more intel from cast and producers to come.

Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

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Episode Recaps

The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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