Warning: There are spoilers ahead.
Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead” left viewers with a big unexpected twist.
However, if you dug a little deeper into the the latest episode of AMC’s zombie series, diehard comic fans may have recognised the setting of the season five midseason premiere was inspired by one of the earliest issues of the comic series.
In the episode, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Tyreese (Chad Coleman), Glenn (Steven Yeun), and Noah (Tyler James Williams) show up at a gated community Noah used to call home.
However, when the group gets there it’s completely ravaged. Houses are burnt, bodies are dismembered and strewn across the ground, and the dead are walking aimlessly through the abandoned enclave.
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” Story Sync, a companion app for those watching the live show, showed the origin for Sunday’s episode came from issue 8 released in May 2004.
Look slightly familiar?
Just as the tiny Rick in the drawing suggests, despite some damaged homes and a few zombies, Michonne (on the show) thinks it’s a place where they could potentially live.
In the comics, the caravan of survivors soon learn that’s not the case. A snow covered sign prevents the group from seeing a giant warning telling them everyone inside is dead.
On Sunday’s episode, there’s no sign, but it’s not really needed. One of the walls to the compound is broken down, and many of the dead aimlessly wander around the barren streets.
The zombie threat isn’t as great as it was in the comics, but there are nods to the graphic in the television adaptation.
One big change Sunday night from the comics centres around Chad Coleman’s character, Tyreese. *spoiler* In the episode, we see the untimely, and unexpected, demise of Tyreese’s character. In the comics, Tyreese isn’t killed off this early. He was given a more brutal death at the hand of the Governor. Of course, we saw that exact scene play out in the TV show with a different character in Tyreese’s place. *spoiler*
Sunday night’s episode is the most recent example of the series backtracking to adapt earlier moments from the comic series that were skipped over in early seasons.
A few episodes back, the show referenced the entire “Fear the Hunters” storyline about a group of cannibals, which was adapted from issues 61-66.
Before that, Rick tore a guy’s throat out with his bare teeth. That was another nod to a moment from issue 57.
What’s going on? Is the series running out of ideas that it now needs to head back to the beginning of the comic series before it’s in danger of catching up?
Kirkman told us back in Oct. he has enough plans to carry on “The Walking Dead” for at least 11 or 12 seasons. That sounds like a tall order, but if you know where the comics are heading, it starts to make sense. We haven’t even hit on one of the biggest storylines yet.
The second half of season five should start to lay the groundwork for that, and the eventual introduction of one of the series’ most beloved villains.
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