''The Walking Dead'' has put the nightcap on, at least for the moment. With Season 8 already done and dusted, we'll have to wait until next fall to see what new things season 9 might bring to the show.

Season 8 finale offered little comfort, especially for those seeking a bloodier and revenge-driven outcome. After a long and grueling battle, Negan and ''the Saviors'' are no longer a powering vector of the narrative.

Eugene's perfect deception steered Rick Grimes, Maggie and the rest of the group on a completely different path; a brighter one, although some turmoil is expected to stream up to the surface from the group's own core.

Season 9 and what it can bring new to the table

It's been a long journey since the whole story took off back on the outskirts of Atlanta. Carol, Rick, and Daryl were there from the beginning and it won't be easy to witness the highly-anticipated fracture between Rick and Daryl.

Still traumatized after being held in captivity by Negan, Daryl seems to have chosen Maggie's way to seek out revenge over Negan. As a matter of fact, it all looks like the big group is drifting apart in two distinct packs. While Rick and Michonne are poised to follow Carl's piece of advice from those letters, Maggie and her side are not willing to give Negan a free pass. Their thirst for blood and revenge threatens the unity of this eclectic group of survivors.

On the other side, Season 9 has to provide a replacement for the villain slot. Negan was the most complex threat Rick and his group had to deal with, but that slot is vacant now. And, it seems a bit far-fetched to assume that either Maggie or Daryl would do the dirty work.

The finish line could be closer than we think

''The Walking Dead'' has passed the longevity test, with eight years since its premiere.

The show produced by AMC grew into a global trend. Moreover, it has become a landmark of how a post-apocalyptic show should look like. But, that very complexity had some risks as in recent years and the narrative has lost some of its key elements.

On multiple occasions, the show lacked dynamism as the narrative got stuck in a rather flat environment.

Moreover, the overall plot has become more predictable with a tendency to follow a recurrent path.

Now that the biggest threat comes from the inside, we could hope for a different approach. The mere fact that the show made it so far is a sign of success but heading to a double-digit number should open up the debate on the show's finale even more. ''The Walking Dead'' is a glorious show and it deserves a glorious finish.