Warning: There are spoilers ahead for "TWD" season 11, episode five, "Out of the Ashes."
Insider rounds up the comic references, tiny details, and callbacks you may have missed.
Many include Aaron. Nods to Michonne are seen in the Commonwealth. Margot Bingham makes her debut.
Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Dean Morgan's son, Gus, is a walker on Sunday's episode.
Morgan plays Negan while Burton played Negan's wife, Lucille, on season 10 of "TWD."
Gus Morgan played the young walker reaching inside the wall of Alexandria that was biting at the teens.
"I personally just pretended that the people I tried to nip at were tacos because my determination for tacos is very strong," said Gus Morgan on an interview segment of after-show "Talking Dead."
"He was six when Jeff started doing this show, so his whole childhood has been this show so for them to include him in the last year is just really nice," Burton shared on last week's "Talking Dead," when she revealed his cameo.
"Mom, I found myself," Burton said of when Gus came home from set. "He knows what he wants to do now."
Gus Morgan said he was wearing pajamas while he was shooting, something that was part of the backstory that they came up with for his walker.
Greg Nicotero was under the Whisperer mask at the episode's start.
"TWD" executive producer, director, and make-up supervisor Greg Nicotero was the Whisperer haunting Aaron's dreams. Nicotero also directed season 11, episode five.
"Greg Nicotero, who directed the episode, put on a Whisperer mask [laughs] and it was, honestly, pretty terrifying, to receive directions from him while he was wearing that mask," Ross Marquand told Decider, adding that he was stabbed by retractable swords for that opening scene about 20 different times.
This is Nicotero's second cameo this season.
Previously, he appeared on season 11, episode three as the walker who bit Agatha and, ultimately, led to her demise. You can read more about Nicotero's other cameo here.
Gracie is wearing her dad's shirt to bed.
When Gracie awakes you can see she's visibly wearing one of Aaron's shirts. (H/t to @jaaryls on Twitter for spotting this one.)
Aaron wore the shirt on the season nine premiere and season 10, episode four.
Gracie's toy is the one Aaron retrieved for her on the season 10, episode 19.
After-show "Talking Dead" pointed out that the stuffed animal Gracie was holding was acquired by her adopted dad, Aaron (Ross Marquand) on the season bonus episode while he was out scavenging with Father Gabriel.
You can see it in a press photo for season 10, episode 19 above.
Margot Bingham makes her quiet debut on "TWD." She provided Stephanie's voice on the radio to Eugene on season 10.
Margot Bingham is the woman who picks up ice cream while Eugene visits the truck. She doesn't introduce herself, but simply walks off.
Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene, confirmed to Insider in 2019 that Bingham provided the voice of Stephanie on season 10. Bingham's name appeared on the credits to the show.
On season 11, the woman we're introduced to as Stephanie is played by Chelle Ramos.
What's going on? The theory is that Ramos' Stephanie may be a spy who is trying to make sure Eugene and the others are on the up and up as they seek asylum at the Commonwealth. A few edited captions on the AMC press site last week seemed to confirm that theory.
If you watched Sunday's episode closely, you may have noticed that Bingham's character didn't speak to Eugene, but certainly seemed to eye up the woman we know as Stephanie before walking away. Eugene looked after her for a second.
If the Commonwealth community looks familiar, you're right.
"It took over the area that used to be the Saviors' compound," showrunner Angela Kang confirmed to Entertainment Weekly's Dalton Ross.
"Basically, it sits where the front of that factory was and the yard with all the zombies attached to the fence, which is also the same as part of where the prison was," Kang added. " They tore down all of the Sanctuary sets and that took over that area."
Before it was home to the Sanctuary, the area was also used as the exterior to the prison during seasons three and four.
On the show, Yumiko's brother, Tomi, is a baker, a nod to the comics.
In the comics, it's Michonne, not Yumiko, who finds a long lost family member at the Commonwealth.
Michonne discovers her daughter Elodie, who she believed to be dead, has been at the Commonwealth. There, Elodie's a baker.
Tomi's job is a nice little nod to Elodie. If you've read the comics, you'll recognize that Miko and Tomi's reunion directly mirrors Elodie and Michonne's reunion in "TWD" issue No. 176., right down to the dropped cake.
"In terms of replacing Michonne with Yumiko, we knew for a while that Danai [Gurira] was going to — might — exit, but, we didn't know exactly when that might be," Kang told Insider while discussing the premiere.
"So we started just laying in like jobs for various people," Kang added. They planted a seed on season 10, episode four that Yumiko was a lawyer, a role which Michonne had in the comics pre-apocalypse.
There's still a little nod to Elodie on the episode.
The name of the bakery where Tomi works is called "Elodie's Treats."
There's also a nod to Michonne's last name inside the Commonwealth.
As Eugene and Stephanie walk around the Commonwealth with ice cream, a door in the background reads, "Hawthorne & Gibbs" law offices.
Late in the comics, it's revealed that Hawthorne is Michonne's last name. She becomes a judge at the Commonwealth.
Aaron sees all of the villains of his past on the episode's opening minutes, a sign of his ongoing PTSD and a hint that we'll continue to see him battle those demons this season.
In a thrilling nightmare sequence, Aaron sees a member of the Wolves, the Saviors, and the Whisperers along with a walker close in on him and his adopted daughter Gracie.
Funny enough, it's a member of the undead which seems to give him the least concern as he quickly slices its head off.
The nightmare ends with Aaron getting stabbed to death and seeing Mays (Robert Patrick) before he wakes.
Aaron has clearly been dealing with some PTSD for a while, but it was recently exacerbated when Father Gabriel killed Mays on season 10, episode 19. Though Mays held the two hostage, Mays was prepared to let them go. Aaron, always wanting to believe the best in people, started to come around to Mays and was shocked that Father Gabriel used his faith to trick Mays and ultimately murder him. That's haunting him.
On "Talking Dead," Marquand said Aaron's going to continue to "go real dark" as the season continues.
Aaron is adamant about saving Alexandria. It's likely fueled by a personal reason.
Rosita tells Carol and Aaron that if they can't make Alexandria safe, they may need to start considering other options for where to live.
Aaron tells Rosita he's "not ready to abandon ship."
"We got to fight to save it first," he says.
Why fight so hard for something that's clearly falling apart? It's likely because of Aaron's close ties to the community. Aaron is one of the few original members of Alexandria.
He was the one who sought out Rick's group to bring them into Alexandria, a former safe haven, which, at the time, seemed too good to be true. It's a place where some of their dead are buried, including Carl, Rick's son.
Judith is seen training kids at Alexandria. It's a nice callback to how Michonne taught her how to wield the katana.
Judith's passing on what she learned to the next generation.
In a conversation with Insider, Fleming explained that it was important for Judith to teach the kids how to fight in case something happened if their parents were away.
"If they don't know how to fight, they're not going to know what to do. But if they're trained, then we have a better chance of survival and it probably makes them feel more confident knowing, "OK. If something happens, I know how to fight and I'll be OK,'" Fleming said.
"That definitely boosts their confidence and probably makes them feel a little bit better," she added.
The moment also shares a parallel with Carol training children how to defend themselves at the prison on season four.
The scene of Judith training some of the young members of Alexandria also reminds us of Carol on season four, episode one gathering together a group of children to teach them how to safely use knives to kill walkers and properly defend themselves.
Someone rips down and breaks a pair of floorboards that are very important to Judith.
Carl and Judith memorialized their hand prints on their porch on season eight. Those floorboards were then placed inside the Grimes' home.
This was one of the last things Carl did with Judith while he was alive.
"Carl wanted you to have a memory together," Rosita tells Judith.
"Pieces of wood are nice, but you don't need that to remember how much they loved you," Rosita adds, before telling Judith she can likely fix the pieces of wood.
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