March 24 (UPI) -- The Season 9 body count continued to grow on The Walking Dead Sunday, with the deaths of several beloved characters.
Earlier in the season, fan-favorites Maggie, Rick and Jesus -- played by Lauren Cohan, Andrew Lincoln and Tom Payne -- exited the zombie-apocalypse drama.
The injured Rick was mysteriously rescued and squired away in a helicopter to parts unknown. He is presumed dead by his family and friends.
After the six-year time jump in the midst of Season 9, Jesus was killed by the Whisperers, who disguise themselves with rotting flesh and travel with packs of the undead.
Maggie has been off-screen, visiting communities in far-flung locales.
Warning: spoilers ahead
Sunday's episode saw the show's remaining survivors and central communities coming together for a fair where old friends could reconnect, learn new skills, and buy and sell their wares.
Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) and her followers infiltrated the festive event and murdered numerous people as a warning to the other communities not to stray into Whisperer territory.
They then impaled the victims' heads on stakes to mark a horrifying border.
Slain in the episode were Tara (Alanna Masterson,) Enid (Katelyn Nacon,) Henry (Matt Lintz) and Tammy Rose (Brett Butler,) plus several teenagers and members of the protective Highwaymen.
Siddiq (Avi Nash) was beaten and tied to a nearby tree, but left alive to tell the tale.
He eulogized the dead at the end of the episode, recalling how bravely everyone fought together.
The Season 9 finale is to air on March 31.