The Walking Dead Awards: Dog days

Season 9, Episode 7: A rare pupper

The Walking Dead 907
Oh god, something horrible is going to happen to Dog, isn’t it?

Photograph by Gene Page/AMC

(Spoilers ahead)

Each week, we comb through the guts of The Walking Dead, much like a horde of hungry walkers, to bring you the episode’s best moments, surprises, and other post-apocalyptic curiosities. This week: Hunting with Daryl, hiking with Michonne, and sparring with Jesus.

Season 9, Episode 7: “Stradivarius”

Blast from the past: This week’s episode was directed by Michael Cudlitz, who previously played Abraham on the show.

Best new character: Dog, the dog.

Wish, granted: Daryl having a dog is not a brand new idea. In fact, way back during a panel at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2015, when Norman Reedus was talking about crafting Daryl’s character, he said, “There are many times on this show where I think, ‘I should have a dog!’ And [the writers] are like—‘Nope.’” Guess the writers finally gave in.

Biggest disappointment: We had been looking forward to meeting Hershel Rhee this week, only to find out he disappeared with Maggie off to Georgie’s mysterious colony. Maybe next season?

Best repurposing: The “wagon” pulling the new crew to Hilltop is actually the back of an old pickup truck.

Best fashion choices: We don’t care, Bernie’s paisley shirt was awesome.

The Walking Dead 907
Jesus and Aaron keep the peace.

Photograph by Gene Page/AMC

Best diplomatic relations: We’re glad that Jesus and Aaron have a diplomatic back channel despite the apparent Alexandria/Hilltop cold war.

Worst diplomatic relations: What happened between Michonne and Maggie that caused such a horrific rift? And are we going to see Maggie (and Hershel) again? (For those not in the know, Lauren Cohan’s last episode for the foreseeable future was “What Comes After,” as she’s starring in the upcoming ABC drama Whiskey Cavalier.)

Most expensive mistake: Michonne’s slicing into the Stadivarius violin has overtaken Rick’s bridge explosion has the most expensive thing destroyed since we’ve been keeping track.

Worst instruments: Of the three that were mentioned in this episode, two—the recorder and the kazoo—are perhaps the most annoying ever invented . . . unless of course Luke also has a vuvuzela in his collection.

Missing-in-action: One of the famous angel wings has been ripped from the back of Daryl’s vest.

Biggest question: With only one episode left until the winter break, we’ve now got two characters sporting X-shaped scars—Michonne and Daryl. Here’s hoping that we won’t have to wait long to figure out what exactly happened during the six-year time jump.

Second biggest question: How does Daryl’s motorcycle still have fuel?

Best exchange:
Tara: There’s a noise complaint from trailer seven . . .
Jesus: Why did you give that kid a kazoo?
Tara: You find a kazoo, you give it to a kid.

Most disturbing image: Dog trapped with a group of walkers closing in. He can’t die, he’s a good boy!

Best kill: It took one good arrow from Yumiko to bring down that giant piece of aluminum sheeting, blocking the walkers from attacking the horses. Daryl would be proud.

Episode MVP: Tara. While we agree that Jesus needs to keep communications between Alexandria alive (and training Aaron isn’t a terrible idea either), Tara knows that Hilltop needs a present leader to keep things running smoothly. We think a vice presidency is in order.