Warning: SPOILERS ahead for The Walking Dead season 9, episode 11, as well as the comics!
The Walking Dead introduces a new, cryptic symbol that may mark the border of Whisperer land, and now that characters have crossed it, the AMC series might be setting the stage for a shocking and disturbing moment from The Walking Dead comics' Whisperer arc.
The Whisperers are the brand new villains introduced in The Walking Dead season 9 and they are unlike any enemy they've faced before. The Whisperers don't use guns and they aren't interested in stealing the survivors' supplies. Instead, the Whisperers are led by Alpha, a cruel woman who believes that with civilization over, humans should embrace their more animalistic nature. The Whisperers disguise themselves with masks made from dead skins, using them to blend in and hide within large herds. What they want is to be left alone, but after some of the survivors cross in to their land, the Whisperers attack.
In The Walking Dead season 9 episode 11, "Bounty", the residents of The Kingdom are continuing to prepare for The Walking Dead's upcoming fair - a gathering which Ezekiel hopes will renew the strained relations between the surrounding communities. The Walking Dead comics also include a fair, though its purpose is more to illustrate how far along the communities have progressed following their war with the Saviors. Still, the event is one of celebration and joy, but it results in a shocking slaughter of several characters. And this new symbol may be hinting that something tragedy is about to happen on AMC's The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead's New Symbol & The Kingdom
The mission (or quest, seeing as it's The Kingdom) to retrieve a projector bulb from a nearby movie theater may at first seem unnecessary or silly, but there's a strong argument made for how much holding a movie night at The Walking Dead's upcoming fair would lift people's spirits. Not to mention, it would be something truly magical for those young kids who've never even seen a movie. Unfortunately, though they were successful at securing the bulb, this quest is sure to come with unforeseen circumstances.
As Ezekiel, Carol, Jerry, and the rest of The Kingdom's merry band are making their way back home, they pass a street sign with an unusual symbol spray-painted on it - almost like a "K" that's fallen forward and is now horizontal. The symbol is found on the back of the sign, so no one in their party notices it. This strange symbol isn't anything recognizable from The Walking Dead comics, which means it's likely a new creation for the AMC series. However, just because it's something new doesn't necessarily mean it's automatically hinting at some new enemy.
It's most likely that this new symbol is linked to the Whisperers and what it's marking is their border. Earlier in The Walking Dead season 9, Rosita and Eugene venture into Whisperer land to set up a radio transmitter, beginning the conflict they now find themselves in. And when Jesus is later killed because even more survivors cross in to Whisperer land to rescue Eugene, the Whisperers who lands the killing blow says: "You are where you do not belong." It's possible, then, that this symbol glimpsed during the latest Walking Dead episode is a symbol marking that border - and unknown to those from Kingdom, they've just crossed it.
How Walking Dead's Symbol Sets Up The Fair
In The Walking Dead comics, this border plays an even bigger and more gruesome role in the survivors conflict with the Whisperers. As previously mentioned, there's no symbol marking the border in the comics, but characters do cross into Whisperer land and incur their wrath. Eventually, this leads to the Whisperers kidnapping several of the survivors, killing them, and mounting their heads on stakes to mark the border of Whisperer land. It's a terrifying and wholly unexpected attack, made all the more intrusive and unsettling because the Whisperers kidnap their victims during the fair.
The Walking Dead season 9 is also set to include a fair, though the way in which this celebratory gathering is coming together is different than what happens in the comics. And yet, with this Walking Dead episode introducing a symbol that very likely marks a border and having characters from The Kingdom cross that border, season 9 is on track to include a similar attack on the fair that is just as horrific as the kidnappings, murders, and decapitations which happen in The Walking Dead comics.
Whether or not the same characters who are killed at the fair in The Walking Dead comics will die on the AMC series remains to be seen, but this new Walking Dead symbol does appears to be setting up something similar for The Walking Dead season 9. And once the Whisperers perpetrate such a heinous act, there's no doubt the survivors will again be at war.
The Walking Dead season 9 airs Sundays on AMC.