The threat of walkers keeps the survivors of The Walking Dead constantly moving, always jumping over fences or running through wooded glens. Said survivors never have an opportunity to sit down and rest—except when they find an RV to camp out in, which happens quite often. But you may not have noticed that recreational vehicles serve a purpose beyond just providing a temporary safe haven for survivors of the apocalypse—they're actually the secret plot weapon of #TheWalkingDead.
Almost every season of The Walking Dead has utilized an RV in some manner. And each and every time, the scenes that take place within one of these vehicles is pivotal to the story.
While Dale's RV from Season 1 didn't make it beyond Season 2, it provided us with a number of pivotal scenes before it was abandoned on Herschel's farm. The RV stood as the site Andrea's life or death fight with a zombie in the first episode of Season 2, along with setting the stage for Dale and Andrea's heated conversation about suicide and a person's right to decide. These moments set Andrea on the path she'd take until her death on the show. In the end, Andrea exercised her right to decide which way she exited the world by killing herself, calling back to the debate to the she had with Dale in Season 2 on the RV.
After the brief absence of an RV in Season 3, a new recreational vehicle showed up in the possession of Martinez, one of the Governor's former lieutenants. Shortly after reuniting with his old friend from Woodbury, the Governor used the RV as an appropriate location to kill his former comrade by bludgeoning him with a golf club, then forcing him into a pit of walkers to be devoured.
The Governor's RV also served as the location for Michonne and Herschel's final conversation with him. That particular scene wound up standing out among the rest because it set up the shocking mid-season twist of Herschel's death. Were it not for those scenes involving Herschel and the Governor, we might've never understood the kind of resolve the Governor had after renaming himself Brian. Nor would we have been able to comprehend what his motivations were in engaging the Prison. His conversations with Herschel and Michonne aboard the RV were used to remind the audience of what the Governor was capable of, which was killing without remorse.
Season 6 had quite a number of pivotal scenes involving an RV, the first being Aaron's RVs used to set up a barrier, guiding the army of zombies away from Alexandria. But the more noteworthy scene aboard Aaron's RV was when Rick used the vehicle as cover to kill the Wolves surrounding him. Unfortunately for the Wolves, they underestimated Rick's badass level and wound up suffering the consequences in the form of the hail of gunfire Rick rained upon them.
The vehicle came into focus again when Rick's group took the vehicle to the Hilltop colony. They intended to transport an ailing Maggie to the Hilltop for the doctor to look at her and her unborn child but were stopped by Negan's henchmen. It was the first moment the group visibly became scared of the faction Negan has amassed.
Season 7 also included an extremely pivotal scene aboard an RV, with Aaron's old RV being the location where Negan psychologically battered Rick into submission—a moment that could be deemed one of the most pivotal scenes in Season 7. Had it not been for Negan's complete and overbearing domination of Rick in the Season 7 premiere, the plot could've shifted in any number of directions. But since the RV stood as a setting for Rick's submission to Negan, he was able to grow a stronger resolve from the experience. And it was this resolve that has pushed Rick into full blown badass mode, ready to take Negan on.
What Does This Mean For Season 8?
How might RVs play into the plot in Season 8? As the Season 8 premiere showed, Father Gabriel and Negan are now trapped together in an RV, surrounded by walkers. Will Negan sacrifice Gabriel? Or will they work together to escape?
Assuming the two do come to an accord of some kind, they'll probably be forced to rely on each other to survive. If they're in an unknown region in the land of the dead, they could have no other option than to partner up. But who knows how long a potential truce between them will last, especially when Negan is more likely to end Gabriel's life without warning.
The Walking Dead Season 8 airs Sundays on AMC.