The seventh episode of The Walking Dead season nine had a tough task ahead of it. Charting new territory with new characters and still fresh off the departure of the show’s leading man, “Stradivarius” gave us some info on old faces.
Warning – spoilers ahead.
Despite slowing things down from the heightened pace fans had gotten used to this season, the episode still had enough screen time for the series’ regulars to keep diehard fans happy.
Carol and Henry visit with Daryl, who has now gone full (or at least semi) hermit, living in a custom dwelling in the wilderness. Daryl explained he never found Rick’s body despite searching – implying he was searching so much it was easier to just stay out there.
With his only companion being a dog aptly named Dog (Daryl was never one for creativity, we suppose), he entertained Carol’s offer to come back to Hilltop and help watch over Henry as he studied smithing. Despite a little resistance, Daryl ultimately caved and made the visit to the community to reunite with old friends. He then went out on a search to help find Eugene, who had gone missing after getting separated from Rosita.
Speaking of Ms. Espinosa, she opened the episode with a frantic chase scene that saw her running from walkers and hearing their whispers all around her. Whether you know about the comics or not, it’s a creepy situation regardless.
Back on the subject of Hilltop where Michonne and friends are taking the new faces, it appears some changes have gone down there as well. Maggie and Hershel left with Georgie, and Jesus was elected as the community’s new leader.
However, he admitted he felt more at home as a scout, searcher, and scavenger for the community as was his original role. Even winning reelection didn’t inspire him to become passionate about the job, leading Tara to take over at his behest. He also had a playful sparring match with Aaron, getting the better of the exchange even after taking a flush punch from his student – thankfully, it wasn’t with the metal hand.
As for the newbies, they were still viewed with distrust by Michonne and the others. Luke, who has been traveling with a collection of musical instruments, talked about his collection and its significance. He mentioned how music was used as a way to help people socialize with others, even their enemies, and outlast threats. That may be very prophetic for the second half of this season.
The new faces showed their combat prowess, finally being allowed their weapons after the entire group was overrun by a massive walker herd. Aside from Yumiko who uses a bow, the others debuted a weapon the series has yet to see – slingshots. It makes sense, as walker heads are probably mushy enough to allow the weapons to work, and finding ammo is as easy as bending down and scooping up rocks.
They also came face to face with their fallen friend, Bernie, who was put down gently by Michonne. Despite dropping ratings, the road to Hilltop and the mid-season finale continues.