(WARNING: Spoilers for The Walking Dead follow)
Just when we thought the world of The Walking Dead couldn't get any bigger, it does. After last season introduced us to the massive army that is the Saviors, we didn't expect any more survivor communities to enter the fold anytime soon, but that isn't the case.
Last night's episode of #TheWalkingDead introduced us to another survivor community in the post-zombie apocalypse. Natania's group has been identified as the Oceanside community, but they may turn out to be one of the deadlier groups of survivors to ever inhabit the comics of The Walking Dead. For now, Natania's group is a wild card on The Walking Dead television series. They could turn out to be allies to Rick's group since the Oceanside community trades with the survivors' communities after Negan is taken down from his post.
Aside from the possibility of Natania's group being equal to their counterparts from The Walking Dead comics, it looks like Rick and Aaron are going to encounter them in next week's episode, "Sing Me A Song."
The promo for next week's episode, "Sing Me A Song" shows Rick and Aaron on a mission to scavenge more supplies. During the video, Rick and Aaron come across a sign with an ominous warning on it. Most people would read the sign and move on, but who would Rick be if he didn't completely ignore the sign and go in anyway?
Apparently, Rick and Aaron venture beyond the sign but the scene cuts to another image shortly after. What's notable here is that Rick and Aaron have come across another group of survivors. Who this mystery group is has yet to be determined, but the likeliest candidates are either the Kingdom or Oceanside.
It doesn't seem like Rick and Aaron have stumbled across the Kingdom yet, evident by the mass of shrubbery in the near vicinity. So, accounting for the image of Rick and Aaron venturing beyond a sign in a forested area, it appears as if they're closing in on Natania's group on the east coast.
However, there's a small possibility that Rick and Aaron have stumbled into the Whisperers camp.
Considering the ominous sign at the entrance to the camp, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Whisperers introduced imminently after the surprise appearance of the Oceanside community. By introducing them right before the Whisperers show up would make sense since the Oceanside community began trading with Alexandria before the Whisperers showed up.
The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple has already teased that hints of the Whisperers could appear earlier on than expected, which means it's quite possible Rick and Aaron will have a run-in with them before the Whisperers are given a full introduction in Season 7 or 8. Here's what Gimple had to say towards the Whisperers on The Walking Dead:
"If we've gotten this far without saying anything about them, I'd like the audience to discover this group when it's on screen. I will say ... I mean, it's not the Whisperers. I will also say, though, that it's not impossible that the Whisperers could come along or aspects of them could come along earlier than the timeline of the book, but certainly not this early."
Reasonably speaking, the Whisperers should come around during the last half of Season 7 or the beginning of Season 8. However, when we consider The Walking Dead being quite unpredictable in introducing groups who aren't present until later on (in the comics), along with TWD showrunner Scott Gimple hinting at the Whisperers, we shouldn't throw out the possibility of the Whisperers having a role to play earlier than expected.
Next week's episode "Sing Me A Song" also appears to host a variety of plot threads, which likely means the conclusion of Rick and Aaron's journey will be left to the following episode, in the mid-season finale. The mid-season finale has already been given a title but nothing else has been said towards what will take place in "Hearts Still Beating."
Most fans who have read the comics assume that the mid-season finale will depict the Kingdom and Alexandria forming an alliance to take Negan down. And with all the events of Season 7 pointing in that direction, the mid-season finale is likely to conclude with Rick and Ezekiel — the respective leaders of Alexandria and Hilltop —agreeing to work together against Negan, followed up by the Kingdom, Hilltop, and Alexandria forming the Militia in the second half of Season 7 on The Walking Dead.
What do you think is in store for the rest of Season 7? Will Rick and Aaron's journey in Episode 7 "Sing Me A Song" lead them to another survivors community, or is their journey inevitably leading them to the Kingdom? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9pm on AMC.