As the first half of The Walking Dead Season 7 drew to a close last year, there wasn't a whole heaps of loose ends left to tie up for the second half. Sure, there was the overarching threat of Negan, but with Rick getting his mojo back that whole storyline seemed to be progressing nicely. Then, in a post-credits scene we were reminded of a person who briefly showed up mid-way through the mid-season finale, a person identified only by their apocalypse-ready boots.
While Boots only observed Rick, Aaron and Alexandria, what was worrisome is the fact that they managed to get so close to our group without being detected, and also what they might do once they report back to whoever they're scouting for. But regardless of intentions, due to a newly released image we might have had our first look at what Boots looks like. Sort of.
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The image, released by Entertainment Weekly, shows Rick meeting with a new group in a rather strange setting, with the person known as "Boots" almost certainly the main figure standing in the foreground. The androgynous-looking person is wearing a black patchwork coat, which includes a hood, much like the one Boots wore in the post-credits scene, and sporting blonde regrowth (though, who knows, perhaps that's just a post-apocalypse trend in this new community?).
But while we've finally had our first proper look at Boots, what you may have failed to realize is that we've actually seen this community before!
That's right, it may have been fleeting, but we actually got a quick glimpse at this interesting looking community in the promo release for Season 7b last year (see promo below). In fact it was right at the very end of the promotional clip, where Rick seemed to be confronted with a very weird looking monster:
Of course, rather than an actual monster it seems more than likely that this was actually a walker suited up in some weirdest armor, and now thanks to that new image we've had a look at the community responsible for it.
So with all the scraps of info we can gather about this community and its people, what do we know so far?
1. They're good scouters - or at least one member is
Ok, so no one's impressed by the fact that you can outsmart Father Gabriel, but given that Boots was too stealthy to avoid being spotted by both Aaron and Rick, I'd say this group is at least very competent at scouting, or at the very least that Boots is. This is likely one of the contributing factors to their staying alive for so long, and not to mention that if they don't have a deal with Negan's Saviors, their stealth skills are probably the reason why.
2. They appear to have blended into pre-apocalypse surroundings
As EW asserted in their article about the image, it looks at though Rick and these folk are inside some sort of junkyard. If this is true then it's truly one of the smarter areas that a post-apocalyptic community could have built a home. After all, how many horror movies consist of people being chased through junkyard-like environments only to be trapped in the winding passages, unable to escape.
3. They're leveling up their walker protection
Alright, so it was mildly impressive when the Wolves used dismembered walkers to take care of enemies, it was applause-worthy when the Saviors used an intricate system of concrete barriers and walkers to make the only entrance to their base a confusing labyrinth, but I have to say this new community is taking walker security systems to a whole new level. Whether this walker died in that weird suit or armor, or whether the group forced it onto the undead with some level of insane skills, I don't know, but either way this is a whole new way to using walkers to protect your home.
4. They're taking precautions, or Rick
The big question of course is whether or not the group are friends or foes, and while we don't have enough information to know definitively, it is worth noting that it doesn't appear as though Rick is wearing his gun and holster. This means that Rick either stashed it somewhere safe before entering, like he did in Season 5 at Alexandria, or it was confiscated. However, given that Rick was just reunited with his beloved Colt Python, I have a hard time believing he'd be easily parted with it. But hey, perhaps he disarmed himself in the name of a new alliance? I guess we'll have to wait 'til February to find out either way.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with Episode 9 on February 12
Do you think Boots's group are good or bad?