The Walking Dead paid a slight homage to its pilot episode in the Mid-Season Nine premiere.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 9x09 follow!
In the opening moments of The Walking Dead's first episode for 2019, the Whisperers crept up on Michonne, Daryl, and the survivors in the graveyard. When they chose to flee, the gate was closed behind them. However, while walkers would have been unable to open this gate, a Whisperer stuck its hand right through and unlatched the lock to allow the herd to pass. What was once "Don't Open, Dead Inside," is now no match for The Walking Dead's greatest threat.
This moment was an homage to the opening episode of The Walking Dead which saw Rick Grimes waking up in a hospital and discovering walker fingers poking through a pair of doors. Director of the episode Greg Nicotero tells ComicBook.com this homage was subtle but intentional.
It's a sign of the evolution The Walking Dead is showcasing with its villains. Initially, the walkers seemed as though they would be the biggest threat to Rick and the survivors near him. Fans and survivors know that humans have turned out to claim more victims than anything else. Now, a group which is a mash-up of the two seems to be the darkest and most threatening enemy the survivors will face.
The Whisperers walk among the dead, disguising themselves within herds of walkers to survive in the wild but also providing themselves with the ability to sneak up on potential enemies. The new group will be unmasked moving forward as Daryl and company look for answers.
Did you catch the subtle homage to The Walking Dead's pilot episode? Do you enjoy those types of moments on The Walking Dead? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season later in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.