I don’t know that everyone necessarily caught this Easter Egg. I noticed that, during one of the scenes in which walkers were approaching the prison in the mid-season finale of last night’s The Walking Dead, that they took an extra beat on one of the zombies, but I didn’t immediately recognize that it was Clara. Clara, you may recall, was the woman from the season four premiere who killed herself so that she could be a zombie, and thus, be with her husband’s zombified head. Her appearance in the episode, however, wasn’t just a cute nod; it actually served a symbolic purpose.
The speech that Rick delivered to The Governor, as The Governor held a sword to Hershel’s throat, echoed the same speech he delivered to Clara in the season premiere. “Everyone’s made it this far. We’ve all done the worst kinds of things just to stay alive, but we can still come back. We’re not too far gone,” and the reason I think that Hershel was smiling as Rick delivered the speech was because Hershel had realized that Rick had again become the leader he once was.
That was a major theme of the half season: Both Rick and The Governor attempted to shed their identities — Rick, turning to farming, and The Governor trying to be a family man — but in both cases, their true selves resurfaced: Rick, as a leader, and The Governor, as a psychopath. The re-appearance of Clara emphasized that point in a way that was less heavy handed than some of the other metaphors this season, like the King chess piece representing The Governor, and the leak in the RV of The Governor’s roof symbolizing his inevitable collapse. That is something that the new showrunner, Scott Gimple, has been able to introduce into the season: A few nice literary devices. On a network with two shows — Breaking Bad and Mad Men — that utilizes literary devices and Easter Eggs better than any other show (perhaps, ever), they are a welcome part of The Walking Dead.
After criticizing the series for its aimlessness (despite a great second half of the mid-season finale), I thought it only fair to give credit where credit is due. Nicely done, Scott Gimple.
(Hat Tip: Reddit)