This week's episode of AMC's The Walking Dead was emotionally intense, and had a lot going on and a lot of groundwork being set for next week's finale. So it's easy to understand if you--like we did--missed these two clever little nods to the history of the show and the genre on your first time through. Merle ain't gonna beg Merle Dixon's last words, at least as far as any of us know, were "I ain't gonna beg." That's what he said just before the Governor pulled the trigger, and the next time we saw him, he was all about snarling and eating brains. Well, that's actually a variation on a theme. Handcuffed to the roof way back in the first season episode "Tell it to the Frogs" (you know--the same one where he got the name "Officer Friendly" for Rick?), Merle Dixon began to pray for guidance and then, catching himself, muttered the following: "That's okay. Never you mind, silly Christ boy. I ain't begged you before. I ain't gonna start begging now. I ain't gonna beg you now! Don't you worry about me begging you ever! I'll never beg you! I ain't gonna beg you! I never begged you before. Oh s--t. No!" Apparently that remark is his way of asserting control in a situation where he knows that he has little or none.
Who's this handsome devil? That's not the only throwback in this week's episode, though; people have wondered why zombies haven't yet started to starve or fall apart? Well, this dude would be a great one to ask since he's been around since 1978. That's right, folks, this zombie is the same iconic walker seen in George A. Romero's landmark Dawn of the Dead, on which the effects were done by Tom Savini. For the next George Romero zombie film--Day of the Dead--Savini brought in a young man named Greg Nicotero--who now runs The Walking Dead's effects department and who directed this episode--to assist him. Super Podcasto Magnifico pointed this one out, and one of their commenters joked, "Brother tries to save group in his own unique fashion & the couple get engaged. Cue Guns N' Roses for next week 'Welcome to the Jungle' for the showdown." I'd watch that.