Fear the Walking Dead aired a new episode on Sunday night, the fourth of its fifth season. While the episode is very much a standalone, it has now introduced two characters from The Walking Dead to carry out crossovers. However, Episode 5x04 managed to also inject a slew of references to both the past of Fear the Walking Dead and the larger Dead universe with several key moments and Easter eggs.
Spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Episode 5x04 follow. Major spoilers!
Fear the Walking Dead Episode 5x04 is titled, "Skidmark." The official synopsis for Skidmark reads, "Charlie makes a friend, while Strand, Wendell, and Sarah's rescue mission hits a snag. Elsewhere, Alicia, Luciana, and Morgan struggle to fulfill their mission." The episode is directed by Tara Nicole Weyr on a script from Samir Mehta.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest Easter eggs and references in the episode...
The soldiers which took Althea surfaced on Sunday night. This mysterious group, however, is also somehow connected to the disappearance of Rick Grimes. Their maps were stamped with the three ring logo seen on the side of the helicopter which flew Rick away from Alexandria on The Walking Dead.
Their motives remain unknown but the kids are a bit more familiar with them than the other characters. "We saw them here a few weeks ago, they had weapons, uniforms," Max explained to Alicia and Morgan, having previously counted "two" but "there could be more." So far, the audience has no reason to believe there are more than two. One is dead and there has not been more than one living soldier on screen simultaneously so far.
“They may remain mysterious for a little while but we can say they’re definitely not robots despite the wires sticking out of the uniforms," Fear the Walking Dead co-showrunner Andrew Chambliss said, adding a joke: "Maybe cyborgs, I don’t know." As more time passes on Fear the Walking Dead, new details will emerge according to his promise on Talking Dead three weeks ago. "We will learn a lot more about that symbol and the soldier, and it may have some lasting effects on a character on the show.”
As it turned out by the end of the episode, this would be the smaller reference to the group on Sunday night. More on that towards the end...
The Season 3 finale was a turning point for Fear the Walking Dead. While it was the last for showrunner-at-the-time Dave Erickson, it was also pivotal for several characters. The last time Daniel Salazar and Victor Strand saw each other prior to Season 5 was at the dam, where Strand shot Salazar in the face.
Not only does Salazar relinquish his desire to shoot Strand in the face a payback for their dam encounter but he outright calls back to it when talking to Strand. "You still think this is about what you did to me at the dam, Victor?" Salazar said. It's about "the same thing it's always about with you, Victor: lies." Salazar tells him to explain how he kept them from Ofelia.
Another Season 3 reference came when Salazar demanded that Strand explain his lies which cost Daniel time with his daughter, Ofelia, who had been bitten on the Otto Ranch invasion.
"Daniel got separated from his daughter," Strand explains. "I told him that I knew where she was. I lied because I needed something from him. When he finally got to her, when he finally found her, it was too late." Salazar is mad that Strand wasted time he didn't have.
In the first episode of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes found himself trapped under a tank in Atlanta. It was surrounded by walkers.
Fear the Walking Dead Episode 5x04 offered up a similar moment. Daniel Salazar was running from a herd on a highway and found himself trapped under Althea's tank, surrounded by the dead. He did what he could to put them down as they reached for him. Like Rick Grimes before him, it took an outsider's aid to be rescued from this under-the-tank peril. Whereas Rick was aided by Glenn, Salazar was aided by Strand.
Daniel Salazar revealed that he has a cigar which he is saving for a special occasion. The cigar might be a tie to a major character from The Walking Dead: Abraham Ford.
Abraham and Daniel probably encountered each other in Texas and this story might be expanded upon in one of the upcoming Walking Dead movies. "The show has sort of laid out in its history is through flashbacks and origin stories There's still characters on the show that were very close with Abraham that he had history with," Cudlitz said on Strahan and Sara. "We could very easily go back."
"They're also doing other movies that are gonna move in time, go back in time, go forward in time, and I believe pair up characters that weren't necessarily paired up in the graphic novels," Cudlitz said. While he was certainly (and probably contractually) beating around any definitive reveal, the actor offered one vague but encouraging conclusion: "A strong, subtle yes. Very, very possible."
The big plot twist of Sunday night's episode was the kids revealing that the mystery people at the camp which Morgan's group has been investigating are their parents. That's why they are setting traps around the perimeter.
This was the moment which made Alicia finally understand why they were so guarded: she saw a reflection of herself. Alicia has lost everyone close to her, starting with her boyfriend in Season 1, then her mother Madison in Season 4, and her brother shortly after. Madison's impact continues to be felt on Fear the Walking Dead.
Furthermore, Morgan Jones knows a thing or two about losing family members...
While on the topic of dead family members, Morgan opened up about his family members to Alicia Clark for the first time. He lost his wife prior to The Walking Dead and his son is said to have died off-screen before his return to The Walking Dead in Season 3.
"I couldn't kill her," Morgan said of his wife. "I couldn't bring myself to leave her behind so we stayed even after we shouldn't have." It was a reference to his time in Atlanta, which included a visit from Rick Grimes.
"I lost him," Morgan said of Duane, "When he couldn't bring himself to kill her, either."
Then, he said their names: "She was Jenny," Morgan said. "He's Duane." He's? Is Duane still alive?
The helicopter that took Rick Grimes away from Alexandria appeared on Fear the Walking Dead in Episode 5x04 -- unless this group has more than one helicopter. The mystery of who took Rick Grimes continues to unfold on Fear the Walking Dead, while it's unclear just how connected to the two shows will be going forward.
"Keep your eyes peeled," Colman Domingo told ComicBook.com. "There'll be more, but I think there's a lot of, I don't know, communities crossing each other and starting to cross. As we keep expanding in our universe, I think we're coming in contact with more people who are linked to others. It's just like living in L.A. and New York. You have a friend of a friend who knows a friend, and you're like, 'Oh wow, I can't believe you know John from Long Island.' You're like, 'Yeah, that's my cousin.' It's like that."