‘The Walking Dead’ Recap ‘Stradivarius’: Divided We Fall

In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap, Michonne leads the strangers to Hilltop, Daryl reconnects with Carol and Rosita is found scared, bloody and alone…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

With only two episodes remaining in this half of the season, ‘The Walking Dead’ spent a lot of time this week setting up what’s coming in the finale seven days from now.

There wasn’t much movement on the overall story but rather catching up with the Hilltop, who is now being led by Jesus with Maggie no longer living there. Daryl has been living in the middle of the woods by himself — well he does have a dog named Dog — in what started out as a search for a missing Rick Grimes and he ultimately just ended up staying there indefinitely.

And then there was Michonne leading the new group of survivors to Hilltop where she hoped to set them up with a new place to live. There were a lot of trust issues during the trip to Hilltop but it seemed like everybody found some common ground by the time they battled back against a group of walkers that descended upon them.

This episode was all leading towards a reunion at Hilltop where Rosita is currently recovering after being found bloody, alone and scared out of her mind after it appeared a herd of walkers was hunting her through the woods.

We’ll get to that and what it means for the mid-season finale — but for now let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘Stradivarius’…

Jesus Walks

Maggie is gone from Hilltop and there’s no word when — or if — she’ll ever return.

In reality, actress Lauren Cohan has left ‘The Walking Dead’ for the rest of season 9 to begin filming her new series for ABC and there’s no word on whether or not she’ll come back. The hope is that Cohan can eventually split her time between the two series but her full commitment is to the new series ‘Whiskey and Cavalier’ so it’s unknown if her time on ‘The Walking Dead’ is done.

In the storyline, Maggie has joined up with Georgie and they are helping each other establish new communities across the region.

In her absence, Jesus has been voted as the new leader in an election where nobody even bothered running against him. Unfortunately, Jesus prefers to be out in the field rather than tied to a desk handling bureaucratic duties like deciding where the new farm land should be planted and handling community complaints from residents. While the Hilltop appears to be thriving, Jesus just doesn’t seem all that interested in being leader.

In his down time, Jesus likes to escape beyond the walls and reconvene with his old friend Aaron, who he’s been teaching martial arts whenever they can get together. It seems there’s a real fracture between the communities — to the point where they barely communicate with each other anymore — and these secret rendezvous are seriously frowned upon.

Still, Jesus enjoys his time with Aaron and they are a bridge between the two communities.

Jesus is also talking to Aaron about the upcoming community faire that Ezekiel is putting together at the Kingdom and how important is will be for Alexanderia to get involved. The once thriving relationship between all the communities has really fallen apart and Jesus is doing his best to try and rebuild those bridges through this community fair.

Their shared moment comes to an abrupt end after they spot a flare fired into the sky a short distance away.

Before Jesus and Aaron met up outside Hilltop, we found a frantic Rosita running through the woods as if she’s being chased by something or someone that wasn’t directly behind her. Last week, Rosita and Eugene were overrun by a herd of walkers and they ended up hiding in a creek bed, covered in mud just waiting for the undead to pass them by. What they didn’t expect, however, was to hear voices coming from the herd.

Now, Rosita has been separated from Eugene and she’s running for her life — bleeding and out of water and seemingly running out of time — but she throws up one last call for help with the flare fired into the sky.

Jesus and Aaron find Rosita slumped against a tree and she tells them that she was forced to leave Eugene behind at a barn until she could find help. They take her back to Hilltop for medical care where Enid is now the chief physician in town as she hooks Rosita up to an IV to get some fluids back into her body.

Whatever happened to Rosita out there chilled her to the bone — and now it’s up to Jesus and Aaron to go hunting for Eugene to find out if he’s alive or dead or something worse.

Divided We Fall

Michonne is leading the caravan to Hilltop along with the new survivors who were discovered a week ago. She’s taking them there in hopes that Maggie will allow them to stay.

The new survivors — Magna, Miko, Luke, Connie and Kelly — are still not sure if they can trust Michonne and the people they met at Alexandria, especially considering they still haven’t been given back their weapons.

Before making it to Hilltop, Michonne is returning the group to their old campsite to find out if their story was true while also allowing them to retrieve their personal items. Magna and the other survivors are also intent on finding another member named Bernie, who was apparently significant to all of them.

When they finally arrive, the campsite has been nearly destroyed and the group is forced to stay there overnight before finishing the trip to Hilltop the next morning. Overnight, a paranoid Michonne finds Luke stumbling through a trunk holding something in his hands — when he refuses to hand it over, she chops it in half fearing that he has a weapon.

In reality, Luke was retrieving a previously priceless Stradivarius violin as he’s been rescuing all sorts of musical instruments during his travels. It seems Luke believes music and art were the ways that early man survived the Neanderthals and he believes that music and art are important to the future of humanity now more than ever before.

Either way, Luke has his violin slashed in half as Michonne’s worst instincts are still kicking in when dealing with this new group. To make matters worse, Michonne has to find out along the ride to Hilltop that Maggie is no longer leading the community because she’s gone to stay with Georgie instead.

It seems Michonne and Maggie hadn’t talked in quite some time and there were no plans that they were going to hold a conversation this time either. Michonne had been itching to return to Alexandria ever since she started this trip.

Once again, the group of besieged by a herd of walkers storming through the campsite and Michonne is forced to trust the new people by handing them back their weapons. With their forces combined, Michonne and her group along with Magna and the new survivors fight back the zombies until they are free and clear to finish traveling to Hilltop.

Just before making it to the gates, the group runs into a pair of guards monitoring the area and that’s when Michonne learns that Rosita has been found and taken back to Hilltop for medical care. Michonne decides to stay the course and lead the group to Hilltop so she can find out what exactly happened to Rosita and why Eugene is still missing in action.

As for the frayed relationship between the communities, we still don’t know what exactly happened that drove a wedge so deep between Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom.

Man on Fire

Last week we saw Carol and her son Henry traveling to Hilltop where he is supposed to learn how to become a blacksmith — but first they ran into Daryl Dixon, who has been living alone in the woods for who knows how long with a dog named Dog as his only companion.

It seems Daryl started camping in the woods to search for Rick after the bridge explosion left no trace of his body. Of course we all know he’s been rescued and he’s currently with Anne-Jadis where he will reappear in a trio of upcoming ‘Walking Dead’ movies made for AMC.

In Daryl’s world, Rick was never found and so he’s determined to search for his old friend or at least try to find his body so everybody can have closure if he’s actually dead.

In the woods, Daryl has survived on his most base instincts — he hunts for food, sets traps all around his campsite for walkers and he’s turned his dog into an early warning system. Carol is obviously concerned about him, especially considering how long Daryl has been cut off from the rest of the world.

That’s why she showed up with Henry — because the boy is very idealistic like his father Ezekiel and she wants him to understand that there’s another side of this world and she hopes Daryl can teach him about it.

Daryl doesn’t seem that interested in playing mentor to Carol’s son but later that night while out hunting for his dog, who has gone missing, he ends up needing Henry’s help while he’s killing off a group of walkers about to get to his beloved pet. The dog is fine, Henry gets a scratch but the end result is the boy becoming friends with Daryl.

Back at the camp, Daryl finally agrees to lead Carol and Henry back to Hilltop as he may attempt to reconvene with society after so much time spent in isolation.

When they arrive, Carol is happy to find Jesus in charge and he says that they can definitely help Henry learn to become a blacksmith as requested but right now they’ve got bigger problems.

Rosita is currently hospitalized and Eugene has gone missing.

Jesus and members of the Hilltop are about to go searching for him and they ask Daryl to join since he’s the best tracker in the communities. Daryl agrees and everybody mounts up to find the barn where Rosita left Eugene while still mumbling about a herd of walkers that was actually talking to each other.

Little does she know, the walkers aren’t talking but rather they are being led by a group of people called The Whisperers, who wear the skins of the dead in order to control and move the herd wherever they desire. A whole new threat is about to be unleashed on ‘The Walking Dead’ and it appears we’re going to meet them during the mid-season finale next week.

‘The Walking Dead’ mid-season finale airs next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC and don’t miss our recap immediately following the episode. Check out a couple of previews below:

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