The Walking Dead went where no TWD series has gone before when its Season 10 premiere launched with a scene set in space. In the first 20 seconds of 10x01, “Lines We Cross,” a Russian satellite hurtles through quiet blackness. Later, the satellite is seen again rocketing towards Earth, eventually crash landing in Virginia, near the Alexandria, Kingtop and Oceanside settlements. Upon landing, the satellite ignites a forest fire that threatens to burn down everything it touches, including the nearby Oceanside camp. Survivors from across these communities, including Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus) and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), work together to extinguish the fire, but in doing so they’re forced to cross into Whisperer territory claimed by Alpha (Samantha Morton).
When the fire is extinguished, genius Eugene (Josh McDermitt) examines the innards of the satellite despite the piece of space junk resting in enemy territory. Pleading for 20 and then 10 minutes, Eugene requests just enough time to collect parts he says could advance the communities’ limited technological prowess.
“We should excavate and transport this satellite to our vehicles,” he says, already digging in. “I believe there may be invaluable technological implications for our communities if I’m able to retrieve any of the useful bits from inside.”
When Luke (Dan Fogler) inquires about potential radiation, Eugene tells him, “There’s radiation all around us. Certainly there’s radiation from space, but every one of us is already infected with some kind of nasty that changes us into epidermis epicureans to point of RIP. I don’t understand what you’re talking about.” Luke backs off. “No one’s getting any superpowers today,” he jokes.
This marks the first time The Walking Dead Universe has gone off-planet, but Fear the Walking Dead briefly touched on space when Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) inadvertently made radio contact with cosmonaut Valery Stephanovich Vashchenko (voice of David Agranov) in the spinoff’s third season. Vashchenko was left helplessly stranded in space when the initial outbreak occurred just three days before his scheduled reentry.
Vashchenko is long dead as TWD is now set roughly a decade post-apocalypse when the series jumped six years into the future following the presumed death of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).
It remains to be seen what purpose the Russian satellite has beyond being responsible for the fiery blaze that forced the survivors to enter Whisperer territory, a violation that does not go unnoticed by Alpha. In Season 10, as the cold war between the survivors and the Whisperers worsens, fear seeps into the communities now facing their greatest threat: deadly paranoia.