Spoilers through Season 9 of ‘The Walking Dead’ follow.
Carol doing her best Legolas impression in Sunday night’s ‘The Walking Dead.’Credit: AMC
Sunday night’s episode ofThe Walking Deadwas yet another good episode of AMC’s zombie drama. That’s seven episodes in a row that have received my stamp of approval. I’m not sure the show has ever been this competent. Seven good episodes in a row? And only in the season premiere did we see anything like characters acting like idiots for no good reason.
The rest of the season has been surprisingly good, and the two episodes we’ve seen after the time jump have both been really strong, giving me faith thatThe Walking Deadcan survive in a post-Rick, post-Maggie timeline. In fact, I don’t really miss Rick or Maggie at this point. I like Jesus as the apathetic leader of Hilltop. I like the ruling council of Alexandria.
Really, the only thing I don’t like aboutThe Walking Deadright now is Michonne. And while that’s a pretty big problem, it’s something that I hope we’ll see resolved by the midseason finale.
In Stradivarius, we pick back up after last week’s insane cliffhanger. Rosita is stumbling through the forest, bloodied up, no sign of Eugene. Her pursuers are coming. The creepy factor here is through the roof, somethingThe Walking Deadhasn’t pulled off in ages. This is supposed to be a scary show, but it hasn’t been in quite a while. Now we have real terror again, if only for a moment at the beginning of the episode. The rest of the episode builds toward next week.
We have a few different storylines going on in ‘Stradivarius.’ As is the case with the rest of this season, the show’s writers and producers have done a bang-up job weaving all the different characters’ stories together across each episode (for the most part.) In the past,The Walking Deadhas had an annoying habit of either giving us just one or two characters per episode, or telling just one group’s story per episode, leaving major characters like Carol out of the show for five or six episodes at a time.
Not so in Season 9. Each episode covers most of the characters. Sure, we didn’t get Hilltop last week, but we do this week and we see that Jesus has become its reluctant leader, with Tara his lieutenant, pestering him to actually lead when all he really wants to do is have her job. He’s even meeting in secret with Aaron where they spar and try to keep open lines of communication between the two communities.
Jesus and the Hilltop
It appears that after Rick’s death, Michonne blamed Maggie and the bad blood between the two led to the splintering of the various communities. Alexandria has closed itself off to the rest of the world, and Michonne herself won’t even go all the way to Hilltop for fear of running into Maggie. It’s Siddiq who reveals to her that Maggie has left the community with Georgie. Somehow Michonne didn’t know.
In any case, for a minute I thought that perhaps Aaron and Jesus had formed a romantic relationship but that doesn’t appear to be the case (or at least not yet, though it would make sense.) I like both their characters a lot more this season. I was, frankly, enormously critical of both actors over the past couple seasons but I think they were just given bad writing and poor direction to work with. Both are far more likable this season. That applies to almost everyone (except Michonne.)
While Aaron and Jesus are talking, they see a flare go off nearby and race off to find Rosita leaning against a tree in bad shape. They take her back to Hilltop. The whole time I’m worried that they’re about to be ambushed. I’m actually tense and afraid for these characters again. Remarkably,The Walking Deadis evoking real emotions in me other than annoyance and eye-rolling. That’s a good thing!
Michonne and the newbies
Meanwhile, Michonne, DJ and Siddiq are escorting the newcomers from Alexandria to Hilltop, because Michonne is too stubborn to let them stay in her community but too compassionate to hang them out to dry. She still won’t let them have their weapons (until they need them) and she won’t accompany them the whole way to Hilltop (until she learns about Rosita.)
They go to where Magna, Luke and the others had last had camp and find it completely destroyed. They find their weapons there (which Michonne confiscates) and Luke finds his priceless violin, an original Stradivarius from the 18th century. Later that night, Michonne finds him looking at his violin and assumes it’s a weapon. When he doesn’t drop it she slashes it in half with her sword. It’s an accident, but one based on Michonne being an insufferable jerk now.
Everyone sits around talking after this completely avoidable travesty, and Luke (who I really love as a character) talks about how the humans “defeated” the neandertals. He talks about how just sitting around playing music, sharing stories and art, is such a powerful thing. How it’s so essential to rebuilding society. It’s a great monologue. You can almost see it piercing through Michonne’s icy defenses. Almost.
Later, the group is taken by surprise by the herd of walkers that killed Bernie, the newcomers’ lost companion. It appears to be a real herd, but I wonder if there are Whisperers there. After they make their escape, at one point the group stops. The deaf woman, Connie, notices something in the trees. Everyone stops, watching, listening. They see nothing and move on, but we see the camera looking back from the woods. Someone is out there, and they’re not friendly.
The Walking DeadCredit: AMC
Legolas and Luke Skywalker
In the third major storyline of the evening, Carol (aka Legolas) takes Rey (aka Henry) to see Luke Skywalker (aka Daryl) in his self-imposed exile. Daryl now has a pet dog named Dog, which is awesome.
Carol wants Daryl to come back to Hilltop where he can keep an eye on Henry, though I suspect she also hopes Daryl will take Henry under his wing to some degree. It’s all well and good to train as a blacksmith, but Daryl could teach Henry how to survive. How to fight and how to think in the apocalypse.
At first, Daryl isn’t interested. He enjoys his isolation. It turns out that he started going out to look for Rick after the bridge blew. He never found a body, so he has no reason to believe that Rick is actually dead. The sad thing is, Daryl is right but everyone thinks he’s crazy. After a while, he just stopped going back to town.
This whole sequence was quite good except for when Carol asks if he’s eaten lately and he replies, petulantly, that the dog ate yesterday. I get it—Daryl is bitter. He’s bitter about Rick. I think he’s a little jealous of Carol marrying Ezekiel. But still, you don’t answer that question with that answer, no matter how bitter you are.
That night, Dog is snared in one of Daryl’s traps. Zombies, also snared, are trying to get to the poor creature. Daryl goes to save him and tells Henry to stay back. Henry doesn’t listen (of course) and intervenes in time to save Daryl from a straggler. At first Daryl is angry, but later he thanks Henry and the two talk. Henry doesn’t want Carol to know about the incident, but she was watching—bow at the ready—the entire time (like a good wood elf.)
Henry tells Daryl that he’s Carol’s best friend and that she misses him. Daryl asks if Henry really wants him at Hilltop always watching over his shoulder, and Henry replies “It isn’t just about me.” So Daryl melts and agrees to go back to Hilltop.
They head that way and reach the town before Michonne and her group. Everyone is converging on Hilltop as we approach the midseason finale. Jesus, Aaron and Daryl head out to look for Eugene. Rosita is in sickbay. Michonne and her crew are heading there and surely Michonne and others will go out to help with the search for Eugene.
And the Whisperers are coming. I get the feeling next Sunday’s episode is going to be insane. Some characters are almost certainly going to die. Something very, very bad and frightening is about to happen. I’m not sure who is marked for death just yet, but I think next week is going to be big. Eugene seems to be in the most peril, but he’s got a special kind of luck and never seems to die no matter how useless he is.
I’m also really curious about these X scars on Michonne and Daryl’s backs. What do they signify? Do other characters have them as well? Perhaps it’s some blood pact, some commitment to finding Rick, or to the original group—though given the apparent bad blood between Maggie and Michonne, I’m not sure about that. I guess we’ll find out soon.1
What do you think about these mysteries and about this episode more broadly? Let me know on Twitter and Facebook, and thanks so much for reading!
- The Walking Dead - A New Frontier - Telltale - December 11th, 2018
- The Walking Dead: The Final Season Will Return In January ... - December 11th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Free Serie Watch Online - GoMovies.Ltd ... - December 11th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 8 Recap: Jesus Dies as ... - November 28th, 2018
- Maggie's Exit From 'The Walking Dead' Is Weird, Much ... - November 21st, 2018
- The Walking Dead (Video Game) - November 20th, 2018
- The Walking Dead - Wrath: Season 8, Episode 16 - AMC - November 16th, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Season 9, Episode 6 Review: A Brave New Show - November 15th, 2018
- Daryl Now Has A Dog On 'The Walking Dead' So ... - forbes.com - November 11th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Recap Season 9 Episode 5: Does Rick Die? - November 10th, 2018
- 'Walking Dead: Andrew Lincoln ('Rick Grimes') Fate ... - November 10th, 2018
- Walking Dead Trailer for Next Episodes Teases Whisperers ... - November 10th, 2018
- Walking Dead Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia - November 10th, 2018
- The Walking Dead: Andrew Lincoln to return for Rick Grimes ... - November 8th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Bids Farewell to Lauren Cohans Maggie ... - November 8th, 2018
- Body Bag, Walker Or Helicopter: How Will Rick Grimes Leave ... - November 8th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Says Goodbye to Andrew Lincoln. Sort Of ... - November 6th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Shocker: Future of Franchise Revealed ... - November 6th, 2018
- The Walking Dead spoilers: Rick Grimes' final episode, death ... - November 3rd, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 4, Recap: Negan and ... - November 2nd, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead': Producers, start figuring out how to ... - November 2nd, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 4 "The Obliged" Recap ... - November 1st, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Made Another Bizarre Mistake After Last ... - October 31st, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Might've Spoiled A Twist About Rick ... - October 29th, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead': Will Rick and Michonne Have a Child ... - October 26th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 3 Recap: [Spoiler ... - October 23rd, 2018
- Scott Wilson of The Walking Dead Remembered at Memorial - October 23rd, 2018
- The Walking Dead: The Final Season on Steam - October 23rd, 2018
- The Walking Dead season 9: Andrew Lincoln exit in episode 6 ... - October 20th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Takes A Killer Hit As Ratings Fall To ... - October 20th, 2018
- This Was The Most Shocking Thing About 'The Walking Dead ... - October 17th, 2018
- The Walking Dead's Falling Ratings Are About To Get A Whole ... - October 15th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Recap: Season 9 Premiere [Spoiler ... - October 11th, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Season 9 Premiere Addresses One Of Its ... - October 9th, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Premiere's Big Death Is Finally The Right ... - October 9th, 2018
- "The Walking Dead" actor Scott Wilson dies at 76 - CBS News - October 8th, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Actor Scott Wilson Dies at 76 | TMZ.com - October 7th, 2018
- The Walking Dead: Norman Reedus says big deaths are coming ... - October 5th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Spoilers: Rick and Maggie Exit ... - October 2nd, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Confirms Maggie Will Leave, But Not Die ... - October 2nd, 2018
- Andrew Lincoln could be returning to The Walking Dead to ... - September 29th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Spoilers: Scott Gimple Talks ... - September 29th, 2018
- The Walking Dead: Our World - September 27th, 2018
- The Walking Dead - Cast - AMC - September 25th, 2018
- Fear the Walking Dead - Wikipedia - September 23rd, 2018
- A New The Walking Dead Trailer Teases The Resurrection ... - September 17th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Teaser Promises New Beginnings - September 16th, 2018
- The Walking Dead season 9 spoilers: Rick Grimes exit to begin ... - September 12th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Premiere Is Getting Extended | TV Guide - September 8th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Is Adding a New Pet | TV Guide - September 6th, 2018
- [PHOTOS] The Walking Dead: No Negan in Season 9 ... - September 6th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Boss Talks Maggie As a Working Mother - September 1st, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season 9 Teaser: There's Dissension in Rick ... - August 30th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Casts Sons of Anarchy's Ryan Hurst as the ... - August 30th, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Casts 'Remember the Titans' Star Ryan ... - August 28th, 2018
- The Walking Dead (season 8) - Wikipedia - August 26th, 2018
- Check Out These New Photos From 'The Walking Dead' Season 9 - August 24th, 2018
- 'Fear The Walking Dead' Season 4, Episode 9 Review: Flying ... - August 18th, 2018
- The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan Talks Leaving Maggie Behind ... - August 11th, 2018
- The Walking Dead's Negan Joining Tekken 7 as Playable ... - August 11th, 2018
- The Walking Dead: 10 big spoilers for season 9 - August 11th, 2018
- The Walking Dead season 9: Rick Grimes exit will be ... - August 4th, 2018
- The Walking Dead: Andrew Lincoln reveals why he is leaving ... - August 1st, 2018
- Fear the Walking Dead Season, Episode and Cast Information ... - August 1st, 2018
- Comic-Con 2018: The Walking Dead Season 9 -- Andrew Lincoln ... - July 25th, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Casts Nadia Hilker as Magna for Season 9 ... - July 25th, 2018
- Walking Dead Creator Addresses Andrew Lincoln Series ... - July 22nd, 2018
- The Walking Dead: Are Carol and Ezekiel About to Romance ... - July 22nd, 2018
- New Walking Dead season 9 trailer, release date drop at ... - July 22nd, 2018
- The Walking Dead: Will Rick and Maggie Fight in Season 9 ... - July 21st, 2018
- Comic-Con 2018: The Walking Dead Season 9 -- What We Know ... - July 21st, 2018
- 'The Walking Dead' Unveils Season 9 Trailer, Premiere Date ... - July 21st, 2018
- Andrew Lincoln opens up about leaving "The Walking Dead ... - July 21st, 2018
- 7 Lingering The Walking Dead Mysteries We Need Solved ... - July 21st, 2018
- The Walking Dead: See Norman Reedus in season 9 first look ... - July 15th, 2018
- The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 1 - AMC - July 13th, 2018
- The Walking Dead Season, Episode and Cast Information - AMC - July 9th, 2018
- Fear the Walking Dead: How to Watch - Today's News: Our ... - July 9th, 2018
- The Walking Dead spoilers: Rick faces new threats in Season 9 - July 3rd, 2018
- The Walking Dead's Chandler Riggs Reacts To Andrew Lincoln ... - July 3rd, 2018
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero