The Walking Dead sent fans for a loop in its The Big Scary U episode on Sunday night when Rick Grimes saw a major sign of civilization.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 8x05 follow.
Before the Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead came to a close, Rick Grimes would head in a separate direction than Daryl Dixon on a solo mission to see "those a--holes" referenced weeks ago. However, on his journey to the undefined destination, Rick would look to the sky and see a helicopter fly right over him.
The helicopter's pilot, takeoff point, or landing spot were all left completely a mystery but there are a number of possibilities for whose helicopter Rick saw flying over head, as well as things to consider when trying to get answers...
Ahead of The Walking Dead's eighth season, the show's cast and producers thoroughly promised nods and Easter eggs referencing prior seasons. Rick looking up to the sky and seeing a helicopter certainly felt similar to Rick's experience in Atlanta, where a helicopter flew high above the city as he first discovered the world overrun by walkers.
"In a lot of ways this whole season pays, in some moments, very, very, exactly what you said: Direct references to the past stories," showrunner Scott Gimple told ComicBook.com. Those references wwere promised to come in various forms. "Some visuals that are carbon copies of earlier visuals, and it very much just has to do about the cumulative nature of the story," Gimple explains. "I'll just say weighing upon each character, or in some ways you see how it's made them who they are. Or in other ways, how they might be fighting that history. But the history of the show in general, yeah, very much in the first episode, and even the whole season."
While the helicopter certainly feels like a nod to previous seasons, it should also be something greater.
Rick Grimes has hallucinated in the past, so Father Gabriel actor Seth Gilliam's tease of the helicopter being just that in an interview with ComicBook.com is no surprise.
"We heard a helicopter," Gilliam said. "Did we see a helicopter?"
The script for the episode called for Rick hearing a helicopter but did not explicitly state that he would see it fly over heard. "I haven't seen the episode," Gilliam said. "I've just read it and it said 'hears' a helicopter and I'm like okay, but do you see the helicopter? So you do actually see a helicopter?"
Upon realizing both Rick and the audience see the helictoper is when Gilliam mentions Rick's state of mind. "Can Rick be a little confused or crazed?" Gilliam points out. "Is Rick having a moment or does he seem clear at the time? Is he clearly doing something and then he hears or sees a helicopter? I don't know, man."
In The Walking Dead's seventh season, a moment fans thought a mistake took the Internet by storm when Rick visited the Scavengers' trash heap for the first time.
As Rick stop atop the trash heap in front of a clearly green-screened extension of the location, a black object is seen zipping through the sky behind him. Some fans thought it was a bird, others thought it was a plane, and some thought it to be a flat out mistake on the behalf of The Walking Dead's production crew.
What if the Scavengers actually have themselves a helicopter and are more civilized than anyone could have imagined? Jadis actress Pollyanna McIntosh has weighed in on the subject. “I certainly will tell you as an audience member when I watched it, I didn’t notice it, and it’s only when the internet went buzzy about it that I thought, ‘Hm, what’s going on there?’ So the fans are informing me as much as I’m able to inform the fans," McIntosh said to Huffington Post.
As for whether or not it was actually something fans should make note of, McIntosh doesn't want to weigh in as to avoid spoilers. "I can’t say anything," McIntosh. "You either talk about a studio screw-up or you talk about a possible thing that might be part of a story, so either
Could her politician-style dodge be an indication of knowledge or was it a mistake worth dismissing? Time will tell.
The cover of The Walking Dead's issue #175 introduces a new story titled "New World Order."
The cover of the issue sees a new group, appearing to be a mash up of The Hunger Games soldiers and Star Wars' Stormtroopers. In any case, they clearly look very advanced, modernized, and come from a thriving community.
With very little known about the new group, it's possible The Walking Dead TV series is teasing their arrival well ahead of the comics' storyline. Currently, a group including Michonne and Eugene is venturing far north of Alexandria into Ohio to meet a group the latter met via radio. Eugene's radio friend "Stephanie" claims to be an ally but in the apocalyptic world, fans and character alike have been trained to expect the worst when new faces arrive.
The end of The Walking Dead's most recent issue saw the group finally being introduced by cornering Michonne's group with a serious show of weaponry on the final page. Still, the helicopter belonging to this group would be a seed planted far ahead of their comic book introduction, which comes well after the Whisperer War story the TV series hasn't yet began to touch.
It may seem farfetched but the helicopter may have been carrying characters from Fear the Walking Dead who are due for a crossover with The Walking Dead's survivors.
As promised at New York Comic Con, at least one character from either The Walking Dead or Fear the Walking Dead will appear on the other series. Should the character be from Fear the Walking Dead, they will certainly need something like a helicopter to be anywhere near the Alexandrian survivors on the main series.
In Fear the Walking Dead's third season, a helicopter played a key role throughout several moments. To start the season, it was shot down and took out Cliff Curtis' Travis but much later would be used as a weapon to battle a herd crashing down on Broke Jaw Ranch.
Should Madison Clark become a Whisperer or Alicia make her way to the east coast, a helicopter would be a welcome aid to such a journey through the apocalypse.