Warning: SPOILERS for The Walking Dead ahead
The Walking Dead commenced its winter break earlier this month and the show's seventh season certainly seems to have divided fans so far. Whilst the season opener - "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be" - attracted record viewing figures, it also received plenty of criticism for its brutality and the ratings quickly began to fall as some viewers struggled to connect with the multitude of new characters and communities being introduced.
The show's mid-season finale - "Hearts Still Beating" - returned the focus largely to the central group of characters as Negan and Rick once again came face-to-face, Daryl made his escape from The Sanctuary and Spencer spilled his guts over a game of pool. Significantly, the episode concluded with Rick and pals boldly deciding to go to war with Negan's Saviors, thus setting up a potentially very different second half to season seven. Another story simmering subtly in the background was the mystery pair of boots that was seen stalking Rick and Aaron on their supply run.
The boots' owner returned in a post-credits sequence, however for fans who had already changed channels or gone to the fridge by this point, AMC has now released the scene on Twitter so those who weren't already attempting to analyze just who those boots belonged to can now join in the fun. International fans are out of luck, however: the video is currently only playable for U.S. residents.
— The Walking Dead AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) December 22, 2016
The scene shows that whoever was stalking Rick and Aaron has followed the duo - on foot, no less - to their home of Alexandria. The figure is seen spying on the group in a tree using a pair of binoculars before jumping down, seemingly satisfied they've seen enough to make whatever move they intend to make. Director Michael E. Satrazemis continues to focus on the individual's boots, which - assuming a red herring isn't at play - suggests that the figure's footwear could be one of their distinctive features or provide some clue as to their identity.
Naturally, the speculation among the online community as to who this mystery person may be has begun in earnest. Some are suggesting that the boots belong to Dwight who - after having enough of Negan gallivanting about with his wife - has decided to betray his leader and offer his services to Rick. Other fans (particularly those who have read the comic books) are suggesting that the character represents the introduction of the Whisperers: the enemy group who rear their head later in the narrative. However, given that the Whisperers are defined by their penchant for wearing zombie skins, the focus on the figure's footwear suggests this may not be the case.
Perhaps a more likely scenario is that the boots belong to either a member of the Oceanside or Kingdom communities (Cyndie or Richard would be prime contenders), or perhaps the figure is an entirely new character not based on any individual from the comic books or previously seen on the show. Perhaps the more important question is whether the new character will be a friend or foe to Alexandria, and given how heavily the mid-season finale built up the sheer scale of Negan's army, a friend may be the safer bet.
The Walking Dead returns February 12th on AMC.
Source: AMC (via Twitter)