'The Walking Dead' fans think there was a brief, important moment on Sunday's episode most people overlooked

Warning: There are spoilers and speculation for “The Walking Dead” ahead.
Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead” not only saw Negan reunite with Rick and the Alexandrians after the season seven premiere, but it also saw Daryl, now under the Saviour’s order, return for a short visit.

While Negan forbade Rick or any of the Alexandrians to speak to Daryl, some fans are convinced that didn’t stop Daryl and Rick from communicating on Sunday’s episode.

Some fervent fans are convinced that Daryl spoke to Rick through Morse code when he saw him. One reader even emailed to ask me if I noticed the two speaking in Morse code.

Here are two moments near the show’s start — soon after the opening credits roll — where Daryl’s doing a lot of blinking.

While the second one is not as convincing, Daryl’s eye movements in the first GIF seem a bit more deliberate. Rick’s hard stare at him afterward could be interpreted as him processing what Daryl just communicated.

Honestly, though, it’s too hard for me to tell if Daryl’s simply blinking or trying to deliver some coded message. Remember, Daryl’s been locked away in a dark room for days on end with little access to the outside world. That real-world lighting is harsh on the eyes. You’d be blinking too.

He’s also still a mess, blaming himself for Glenn’s death in the season premiere. It’s probably tough to look Rick in the eye.

But maybe there is more to those blinks.

The Morse code idea comes from the fact that at the start of the episode, a prominent wall hanging is seen where Rick and Michonne live which displays a Morse code alphabet. Fans believe that it’s too coincidental to simply show the alphabet without it meaning something more.

So is it a red herring or have Rick and the group been learning Morse code in case of an emergency? It’s not something I would put past them.

Morse codeAMCWhy else are we casually showing this American Morse code hanging unless it’s just coincidence.

For those who buy into the Morse code theory, Reddit user Darkwing_Darling claims Carol taught Daryl some basic Morse code back in season five while searching for Beth. It’s become referenced in numerous theory posts by now. There’s one problem with that. I went back and watched season five, episode six when Carol and Daryl were looking for Beth and saw no proof of this. I then went back and watched a compilation video of scenes with Carol and Daryl from season two through six and didn’t find anything to support that.

But let’s say Daryl did blink some sort of message to Rick. What did he say?

Fans think it’s either “I East” or “HT,” presumably for Hilltop. East could be a potential direction for where the Saviour outpost is located. That would be good for Rick and the crew to know to either save Daryl and/or eventually attempt to wipe out the Saviors.

The walking dead negan rickGene Page/AMCThere may not be a Ricktatorship at the moment, but we’re sure he’s cooking something up.

And if you’re concerned that Rick has turned into a groveling sap at the sight of Negan, don’t worry. Sure, he’s been beaten down a bit so far this season, but Negan’s entry was more of a wake up call for a leader who was starting to become cocky. Rick thought he had this post-apocalyptic world figured out. He didn’t. He still doesn’t. He needs to continue to adapt to an ever-changing world. (Wait until he gets a load of that tiger Ezekiel has!)

I think Rick’s conversation with Spencer soon after the Saviors left shows us that Rick still has some fight left in him. He may look like a subservient puppy to Negan’s every fantastical whim at the moment, but he’s no dummy.

His look at the sign into Alexandria which reads “Mercy to the lost, Vengeance to the plunderer” is also another hint that Rick isn’t just going to lie down and take it (knowing where the comics go from here helps, too).

Rick alexandria signAMCRemember those words. Vengeance for the plunderers.

At the end of the episode, we see Rick watch and slowly follow the truck carrying Daryl as he rides back to the Sanctuary with the Saviors. If you’re in the Morse code camp, you may think this is another prime opportunity for a quick chat.

Since the camera’s from the point-of-view of the moving vehicle, it’s tough to make out whether or not Rick is trying to blink out a message to Daryl. Similarly, since we’re only seeing the back of Daryl’s head, there’s no way to know if Daryl’s trying to communicate to Rick.

The walking dead darylGene Page/AMCDid you tell Rick you missed your bro? Did you tell him to get that Daryl-wannabe Dwight?

If Daryl was indeed telling Rick a direction or giving him a piece of advice, it’s something we’ll probably know in the episodes to come.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on the Morse code theory. Feel free to email me at [email protected] I’d love to hear them.

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