The Walking Dead Reveals Lance Hornsby's CRM Connections

Warning: this story contains spoilers for Sunday's "A New Deal" episode of The Walking Dead. It's all connected in The Walking Dead Universe, and Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) has connections. After the reveal that the elitist Sebastian Milton (Teo Rapp-Olsson) sent dozens of the Commonwealth's poorer citizens to their deaths to steal cash, Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins) cuts a deal with Carol (Melissa McBride) to save her spoiled rotten son. Hornsby takes the fall for the disappeared citizens, Sebastian skates scot-free, and Governor Milton wipes the slate clean with supplies to rebuild the communities colonized by the Commonwealth

Facing trial for Sebastian's crimes, the Commonwealth's ex-Deputy Governor tells Pamela privately, "You still need me." Hornsby warns cryptically: "If something happens to me, certain alliances the Commonwealth has — certain stabilizing factors — are likely to become a problem."

Season 11 episode "Rogue Element" revealed the deep state within the walls of the Commonwealth: Eugene (Josh McDermitt) uncovered a conspiracy and exposed Hornsby's spies, secret agents Roman Calhoun (Michael Tourek) and Shira (Chelle Ramos). But Hornsby hints at a greater threat: the Civic Republic Military.

The CRM is the authoritarian military of the Civic Republic, a civilization dwarfing even the Commonwealth's population of 50,000. Nearly a quarter of a million survivors live within this utopian "hidden city": a post-apocalyptic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These black-clad soldiers abducted Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in Season 9 of The Walking Dead, shuttling him away aboard a CRM helicopter with Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh).

Read More ▸ The CRM Master Plan, ExplainedThe Walking Dead: "A" and "B" Meaning RevealedTWD Post-Mortem: "A New Deal"

The Walking Dead: World Beyond revealed the Civic Republic was part of the Alliance of the Three, represented by the three-circle symbol that has appeared in The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. This network of communities included the Civic Republic, Portland, and the Omaha safe-zone, which was eliminated by a CRM chemical weapon under the orders of Major General Beale.

The spinoff, co-created by AMC's Walking Dead Universe chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, also revealed that the CRM preemptively eliminates potential threats — wiping out entire communities that could drain their resources. As the "last light of the world" on a mission to save mankind from extinction, the CRM conducts human experiments as it researches a cure to the zombie virus under Project Votus.

Because the CRM is active in multiple states across the country — their helicopters have touched down in Texas, New York, Nebraska, and Virginia — is the CRM aware of Ohio's Commonwealth? 

"We will see on [Season 11] of The Walking Dead the answer to that question," Gimple answered on a 2021 episode of Talking Dead. "I don't want to spoil it. But we'll find out." Gimple added: "I might have spoiled it just by answering it that way."

With only six episodes of The Walking Dead's final season left to air, Hornsby's "stabilizing factors" might soon become a problem for the Commonwealth.

Follow @CameronBonomolo and @NewsOfTheDead on Twitter for TWD Universe coverage all season long. New episodes of The Walking Dead's final season premiere Sundays on AMC and AMC+.