While there is a legitimate difference of opinion about whether Negan is good or bad for The Walking Dead, I think we can all agree that Spencer is the worst. He may not be as bad as the worst character in The Walking Dead universe — Chris from Fear the Walking Dead — but he joins a long list of obnoxious Alexandrians on the show, a list that includes Pete, Ron and Sam Anderson; Nicholas; Carter; and Spencer’s brother, Alden.
On this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Spencer talked so much trash about Rick Grimes that, during a supply run, Father Gabriel called him out for it. “What you’re saying doesn’t make you a sinner. But it does make you a tremendous sh*t.” Amen to that.
Spencer continued on his scavenge without Father Gabriel and came upon a zombie hanging from a tree. Spencer cut him down, took his loot, and found a piece of paper in his pocket that led Spencer to a number of other treasures, all of which Spencer seemed to be happy about handing over to Negan and his men, as though kissing up to the teacher if the teacher were a gleefully deranged, homicidal maniac.
The thing about that piece of paper that led Spencer to all that loot, however, was that it was written in Latin.
Fortunately, Spencer just so happens to know Latin, because his mother taught him. It’s his one positive quality. “It was a pain in the ass class,” Spencer said, “but my mom said that the pain would be useful someday.”
Believe it or not, that line was a callback to a sixth season episode, “Now.” In that episode, Deanna expressed determination to turn Alexandria into an even better home and community. During one scene in the episode, Deanna could be seen working on blueprints for some expansion ideas she has for the village. On those blueprints, she wrote an Ovid quote: “dolor hic tibi proderit olim.”
I happen to remember this because, after the episode, I spent more time than I probably should have trying to read foreshadowing clues into the Latin phrase. At the time, however, it had no specific meaning to the series. What does it mean? Exactly as Spencer said: “Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.”
It’s not a game-changing callback or anything, but it is good to know that the writers can deliver a few nice details here and there. In fact, both “Now” and this week’s episode, “Go Getters,” were written by the same person, Corey Reed, who has clearly found a Latin phrase that has stuck with him.