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‘The Walking Dead’ recap: season 9, episode 7

Originally posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Nine years into the apocalypse, you’d think the number of walkers would have fallen off significantly. 

But based on the episodes since Rick left the scene, that’s not the case. Daryl noted this to Henry that they seem to be popping up more and more. 

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Indeed, Michonne’s escort of the newcomers to Hilltop goes awry because so many just show up at the same time. It was the same herd that attacked them two episodes ago. And they even run into their friend - now walker - wearing a paisley shirt Magna hated. 

I’m sure this walker problme will be addressed at some point. Perhaps someone or something is killing off more of the surviving humans. (The Whisperers?)

If anything, by coincidence (or story convenience), several key cast members showed up at the Hilltop almost at the same time this week. 

Where is Eugene? Rosita and Eugene almost got taken down by a herd of walkers last week. They were the first to hear the Whisperers but of course had no idea what it was they heard. By the time we see Rosita, she collapses from dehydration.

Fortunately, Jesus of Hilltop is teaching Aaron of Alexandria fighting skills nearby and sees her signal for help. They retrieve her and take her to Hilltop to recuperate. She thinks Eugene stayed behind in a cabin area but he’s now missing. 

Alexandria/Hilltop rift: Jesus and Aaron are attempting to keep communication lines open between the two communities by meeting up every so often. Clearly, there is a major break right now between the two communities, mainly between Michonne and Maggie. And now with everyone on horseback, it’s not an easy drive anymore between communities. They have, as a result, each become more independent entities. 

Where is Maggie? She’s gone somewhere far away with someone named Georgie, according to Siddiq. “Helping a girl with some new community is all I know,” he tells Michonne. “I wanted to tell you sooner but I promised someone I wouldn’t.” 

This is a way to keep Maggie in the story in case actress Lauren Cohan chooses to come back or if her new ABC show “Cavalier Whiskey” fails. (Even if the ABC show survives, she might be able to squeeze in a few appearances for season 10 given the way broadcast schedules work.)

Leadership void: Jesus is a reluctant acting leader of Hilltop. He simply lacks the patience or desire to do the boring detail work. Tara keeps trying to goad him into being a more decisive leader. He isn’t buying it. 

Trust, but verify: Michonne is still super suspicious of Magna and her group - for good reason. She is escorting them to the Hilltop and stops by the location where they were originally over-run by the herd. At that point, she wants to leave but is convinced to stick around longer. 

Dan Folger as Luke - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: (Gene Page/AMC) (Gene Page/AMC)

Luke’s Stradivarius: You’d think lugging around musical instruments during the zombie apocalypse is a luxury few could afford. But to Luke, it’s what makes humans special. He compared it to how Homo Sapiens overcame the Neanderthals by creating community through paintings, through song and dance. He’s an optimist and tells Michonne: “This is what separates us from the animals. For better or worse, it brings us together. If we’re trying to rebuild something, how can you ignore that?... Survival of the fittest. Sharing with each other. It’s part of what makes us stronger.” (Michonne had destroyed the Stradivarius, thinking Luke was carrying a weapon - or something.)

What’s the X? Both Michonne and Daryl has “X” etched on their backs. What is that? 

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: (Gene Page/AMC) (Gene Page/AMC)

Father figure? Carol is escorting Henry to the Hilltop so he can learn from the blacksmith. She first stops by to see her buddy Daryl, who now lives by a river by himself and a his trusty dog as companion/protector. Carol thinks Daryl can mentor the kid and show him that King Ezekiel-level optimism is not all that it’s cut out to be. Daryl is reluctant but agrees to at least go with them to Hilltop. The dog, on this particular night, gets tangled up in some ropes while watching out for walkers and Daryl has to extricate him out, with a little assist from Henry. Daryl’s visit to the Hilltop is brief. When he arrives, he hears about Eugene and decides to go out with Jesus to find him. 

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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