After a Soviet satellite crash landed in The Walking Dead’s Season 10 premiere, “Lines We Cross,” igniting a forest fire that forced the survivors to cross into Whisperer territory, the satellite came back into play in episode 10x06, “Bonds.” After extinguishing the fire that threatened to burn down the Oceanside community, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) begged Michonne (Danai Gurira) for just enough time to collect useful bits he said could provide “invaluable technological implications” for the communities. Those pieces have since been put to use by the big-brained inventor, who explains to Nabila (Nadine Marissa) he used parts recovered from the satellite to spruce up his radio, used for long-range contact between the allied Alexandria, Hilltop and Oceanside communities, with “primo choice upgrades.”
“The transmitter’s been properly souped up with Soviet satellite guts … relocating the antenna to the apex provides unobstructed LoS [line of sight] to the secondary repeater, exponentially expanding our range,” Eugene explains. “You haven’t lived until you’ve bounced a transmission off the ionosphere. It gives me goose flesh, each and every time.”
In layman’s terms: the radio setup is now capable of making contact with further out communities that were previously unreachable.
When surfing the proverbial radio waves, Eugene makes contact with the same so far unidentified woman who just missed King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) when he was broadcasting from the Hilltop in the final seconds of Season 9. Through a weak and fuzzy connection, that muffled voice asked, “Hello? Hello? Calling out live on the open air. Is anybody out there?”
In the comic books, this person is revealed as Stephanie, who goes on to play a major role in both Eugene’s story and the story of his group. Through Stephanie, The Walking Dead introduces a sprawling community home to more than 50,000 survivors that plays a major role moving forward.
Showrunner Angela Kang previously told ComicBook.com the satellite would have “other implications for the season going forward” beyond serving as a symbol of the Cold War feel playing out in the survivors’ conflict with Alpha (Samantha Morton) and her Whisperers.
“It’s part of the fun mystery of the season, and it will come into play in hopefully interesting ways that turn the story. I can’t tip too much about, but I think there’s some fun to be had there,” Kang earlier told EW of the unfolding radio story. “Eugene will definitely be playing a role in the story. He’s certainly the one that has been helping set up these ham radios throughout all the communities. There are ways in which he is very involved. He’s tech support in the apocalypse. He makes some interesting discoveries and there is a hopefully very cool, satisfying story there.”