It's been a week today that we were left with a jaw-dropping finale to the 8th season of The Walking Dead. Our questions on how the march to war would end were answered with treachery, deception, and nostalgia. With a new showrunner and a heap of new cast members, what will come next for Rick and his merry band lies now in the hands of Angela Kang. Having written some of the best episodes in the series such as Four Walls and a Roof, The Next World, and Coda, it is now safe to say that the fate of the show is now in good hands.
That said, seeing Rick's mercy prevailing over his wrath (even though so many of his 'family' wanted him to) will introduce a new unpredictable chapter in The Walking Dead. Will a civil war break out between Maggie and Rick? Will Rick even have the ability to go head-to-head with Daryl and Maggie after everything they've been through? Didn't Rick once say he would follow Maggie's leadership after defeating Negan? Or that time Rick told Daryl he was his brother? More is to come from this TV show as it enters its ninth season as the plot unfolds into a new chapter.
Yet, we must look back to The Walking Dead's past episodes and seasons to see what we missed. Here are 15 hidden secrets in The Walking Dead that fans definitely missed.
15 He's Always Watching
Back in the darkness of season 4, Rick and his group find Gabriel who brings them back to his church. There's a particular scene where Rick enters the church, next to him there's a series of bible verses indicating quite ominous things.
Each of the verses surprisingly talk about... The Walking Dead.
The first verse talks about Christ arising from the afterlife, the second about the bones of bodies coming together as complete skeletons. The third describes bodies of open tombs coming alive, the fourth says of men finding the end and the desire to pass while the fifth says, "Why seek ye the living among the [passed]?" It's a nice biblical touch to a dark series that gives us a sense of what is gone and what is not while playing on the topic of the worth of living.
14 Cherokee Rose
Daryl seems to have a thing for getting injured and lost in the woods. I guess that comes with being the stereotype he portrays. In Season 6, he once again ventures randomly in the woodlands with stuff oozing from his back after an excursion with Dwight and others. Norman Reedus, the actor portraying Daryl Dixon, mentions a particular instance in this scene where a Cherokee rose can be seen on the back of walker.
Norman Reedus mentions that his scene is a "hark back to a Daryl-Carol moment" all the way back in season 2 where Daryl gives the same flower to the distraught Carol after having failed to find her lost child, Sophia. Makes you think what the return of the Cherokee rose meant in this scene.
13 The Breaking Bad Connection
Season 4 brought a variety of very different characters together, sometimes even from other TV shows. Beth and Daryl find themselves wandering around in rural Georgia. The entire episode delves a lot into friendship, backstory, and trust. The two eventually find an ominous cabin in the dark woodlands. Inside is moonshine. While the two have some beverages, Daryl starts and opens up and by telling Beth his sad backstory.
“Merle had this [guy]. This janky little white guy."
Daryl tells Beth of his life as an outcast, living under the shadow of his oppressive and erratic brother. He continues by telling her about a certain salesman who called him names. He goes on explaining he was a 'janky little white guy.' Seems familiar if you're familiar with AMC's other shows.
12 Blue Skies Ahead
To talk further about Breaking Bad, the infamous blue salt cooked up by none other than Walter White and Jesse Pinkman can be found in Merle's bag of tricks at the beginning of season 2. If you couldn't see it, it's hanging off the handle of Daryl's motorcycle.
When T-Dog attacks him (something which I really did not like on the show) Daryl reaches into Merle's bag and gets him some antibiotics. If you look closely, you'll see some of the Blue Sky also inside the bag. Could this mean a possible cross-reference between the two shows? Or possibly that Breaking Bad is a prequel to The Walking Dead? Since they're both AMC shows, it's possible.
11 The Foreshadowing Of Terminus
Ever since we've heard radio broadcasts of 'those arriving, surviving,' Terminus never seemed like a safe bet. We were given a variety of clues throughout the span of season 4 of the dangers of Terminus. Following a railroad to some sketchy hideout with no guards seems a little fishy to me.
Something always felt off, and little did we know it was a giant food trap for the hungry people within.
However, there was some serious foreshadowing when we see Michonne parading around the house of a neighborhood in season 4. She finds in the house a strange painting of a girl, ironically, called Mary. This would later foreshadow the Terminus lady, who also went by the name Mary. What the painting was made of, well, that's another story...
10 Johnny Walker
Johnny Depp made a very small cameo in season 7. Remember when the Hilltop hired Rick's group to get rid of the Saviours' outpost in exchange for food? Well, right before going on about their mission, they needed to bring part of Gregory to prove their worth.
Instead, Rick's group found parts of three walkers to use as a dummy for Gregory who was still recovering from a bad wound back at the Hilltop. Well, one of these Walker heads was modeled after Johnny Depp himself. Greg Nicotero, the producer of the show, claimed that they used Johnny Depp's head as a basis for the clay sculpture. He later mentioned that Norman Reedus wanted to bring the heads back home with him.
9 Little Girl
Remember that very first scene of The Walking Dead? Yeah, the one where Rick walks around the abandoned gas station looking for fuel and maybe some help. While looking beneath a car, he sees the figure of a small child picking up a teddy bear.
He quickly gets up and calls, "little girl," who to his dismay appears to be a tiny walker.
The actor's name was Addy Miller, and you probably saw her in the opening premiere of season 8 (10 years later) where Carl was similarly looking for gas around the cars. The 100th episode paid homage to the premiere like I mentioned before, with the return of the very first Walker we ever saw. I'd recommend watching the scene again to see how Carl mirrors Rick's actions back in season 1.
8 The 2009 Red Dodge Challenger
If you remember the first few episodes of Season 1, you'll recall when Glenn drives that sweet-looking, yet annoyingly loud 2009 Red Dodge Charger out of Atlanta into the mountainous outskirts of the city, back to their camp. Although it was pretty funny to see the whole group flip out on him for bringing back an alarming car back to their camp, the same car can be seen in Breaking Bad.
In the later seasons of Breaking Bad, you'll recall that scene where Walter gets his son the same 2009 Red Dodge Challenger. Walter Jr. drives into the driveway, looking as happy as Glenn did driving out of Atlanta. Not to mention that when Walter's wife, Skylar, tells Walter to return the car, she mentions that general manager's name is Glenn.
7 Let Me Ask You Something
As we mentioned previously, the opening episode of Season 8 had a lot of nostalgic moments, what with the "little girl" walker as well as Carl mimicking his father in the pilot episode. When Rick confronts Negan at the gates of The Sanctuary with a much smaller force, Negan questions him.
"Let me ask you something, Rick, you think you have the numbers for this fight? You don't!"
This is a subtle reference to Rick's erratic partner, Shane Walsh, who would utter the same phrase before committing to his unpredictable outbreaks. The phrase grew infamous when Shane angrily confronts Hershel about keeping walkers in the barn by asking, "Let me ask you something: a living, breathing person, could they walk away from this?" and then proceeds to gun down the Walkers.
6 A Rick Grimes Enters An Establishment
The transformation of Rick Grimes is a very crucial aspect of The Walking Dead. Seeing the good ol' county sheriff turn into a man who ends bad people with a red machete is something of interest to those who enjoy character development.
Back in Season 2, Rick is put into a position where he revokes his former statement of "We don't [end] the living," having to end the two men who pulled their guns on him in that establishment. If you've watched the recent episode where Rick and Morgan find themselves in a place captured by a group of saviors, Rick gives his word that they can come back to the Hilltop with him. Although, when they accept and free him, Rick lies and ends them with the help of Morgan. It's interesting to see what the current Rick would have done back in Season 2...
5 The Pirate Governor
The Governor, or Phillip Blake, was definitely one of my favorite characters. He was a tough and unstable megalomaniac with a vendetta against Rick, Michonne, and the rest of his group. His signature eye patch and intimidating persona give him a signature look. Like he says to Megan who he's developed a personal relationship with, "I'm a pirate."
In a particular instance, the Governor can be seen lying on a pillow.
At this point, he's been out in the apocalypse too long and is seen with a thick beard, long hair and, again, is seen wearing his eye patch. However, on the pillow, you can see a small parrot behind the shoulder of the Governor, giving him a definite pirate appearance.
4 Like It's The Last Day On Earth
The opening episode of Season 7 was one of the best, yet definitely one of the most gut-wrenching. Witnessing the passing of both Abraham and Glenn was hard enough, let alone after a sadistic game of eeny, meenie, minie, moe.
Rick meets Simon after being forced down a path of many roadblocks. After a prideful yet obnoxious exchange between the two leaders, Rick walks away. Just before he enters the RV, Simon warns him of the possibility of his last day on earth, or maybe of someone he loves. The scene switches to Abraham's point of view. His face can be seen in the rear-view mirror after Simon waves him goodbye. A definite foreshadowing of his later passing, and something which made it all the more hard to swallow.
3 Carol Finds Sophia/Henry
I'll be honest, Henry wasn't among the most popular characters through Season 8, like many of the children of The Walking Dead (excluding Lizzie and sometimes Carl). However, there was a gentle reference to Sophia, Carol's daughter who got lost in the woods (finding her became the central issue of Season 2), in Season 8.
Rick tells Sophia near the roots of some trees on how to get back to the group.
In a more recent episode, Carol finds Henry who trapped himself in a tree. She saves him by ending some walkers (just like Rick does), however, this time, unlike her daughter Sophia, Henry is alive. It should be noted that Henry, who's portrayed by Macsen Lintz, is the actual brother of the actress who played Sophia, Madison Lintz.
After Rick turns Negan's sanctuary into a pile of glass shards, Negan escapes into a small cabin. He's later joined by Father Gabriel who he intimidates and later confesses to, revealing his story about his wife's tragedy, his take on how people are weak and the reason behind naming his bat.
This scene is a subtle nod to the pilot episode, where Rick escapes a horde of walkers into a tank. The lighting is different, yet mirrors the scene, especially to how Rick and Negan both plead with other people in order to find a way to escape their situation. Negan asks Gabriel for his help while Rick does it with Glenn. They escape the same way Rick does, as him and Gabriel fight their way through a ton of walkers.
1 Please... Please!
On a psychological note, the show gives us a good sense of how people develop in the worse of situations, especially when it comes to the five stages of grief. Watching Rick break down in front of Negan after asking him to take off Carl's arm clearly portrayed the five stages.
You can see it in Rick's eyes he's in denial, he can't believe what he's forced to do once he gets thrown the hatchet.
It's quite obvious he's angry and frustrated after, given the helplessness of the situation he's in, moving in weird ways. He bargains after, proposing that, "It could be me," begging Negan not to force him. Next is depression; you see Rick: crying, heaving, snot flying out of his nose as he raises the weapon. And lastly, just as Negan stops him, Rick accepts what's become of it. He nods to Negan capitulating that he now belongs to him.