WARNING: Possible spoilers for The Walking Dead TV and comic series ahead.
Now any dedicated fan of [The Walking Dead](series:201193) will be able to tell you how much importance is placed on the concept of time in the show. From the very beginning of the show it is something which has been brought up again and again, and now some savvy viewers have realized that the latest reference to time may have been part of an even bigger Easter Egg.
In last Sunday's episode of the show, "Remember," Deanna conducted her interview with Rick, towards the end she tells Rick he needs to decide whether or not his group will stay, saying:
Rick, it's 3:37pm, you're sceptical, you have a right to be, but it's time to decide, if you're the one that's doing the deciding.
This was the first time in a long time we've heard the exact time mentioned aloud in the show, and as a response to Deanna's question, Rick started winding his watch to the correct time. Now this in itself was, firstly, a cool way of showing how Rick (and the gang) were rejoining the 'real world' where things like time mattered again, and secondly it was a very nice nod to Dale, our sadly deceased wise-old-man of the group who always kept his watch ticking. However, as some people over at The Spoiling Dead Fans have spotted, this small tip of the hat to Dale actually goes further than we could have first imagined.
Now, Dale was probably the first character to really make a point of time in The Walking Dead, when way back in Season 1, episode 4, "Vatos," a character named Morales asked Dale why he continued to wind his watch when it was so clearly unneeded. Dale, paraphrasing Faulkner, responded:
I like what, uh, a father said to son when he give him a watch that had been handed down through generations. He said "I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire, which will fit your individual needs no better than it did mine or my father's before me, I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you may forget it for a moment now and then and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it."
Now aside from the quote itself being great, there's something else this Season 1 gem has given us: the titles for the last five episodes of Season 5. Check them out above in bold, you have from episode 12 "Remember" all the way to episode 16 "Conquer."
Now I know some of you might say that this is just a coincidence, but Season 5B has already provided another Dale reference when Glenn was the only one able to fix Aaron's RV back in episode 11, after Dale taught him back in Season 2. Also just last week there was a nod to Dale in the form of the actor who played the walker who killed Dale, appearing again as a walker in episode 12.
Anyway you slice it, Dale has been all over Season 5, at least in memory.
So now of course, with any Walking Dead Easter Egg you have to wonder if it means even more than what we've already worked out. Could it be hinting that someone else's time is up, or maybe something more obscure - not a character leaving, but a character returning?
Now this is just my theory, so bare with me, but if we take this reference all the way back to its root, it all started with a character names Morales asking Dale why he winds his watch. After Season 1 we never see Morales again, not because he was gruesomely devoured by a hungry walker, but because he and his family left to look for their relatives in Alabama. Nothing has been heard of from Morales since, but that's not to say that they were killed. So, perhaps instead of making it to Alabama, somehow they end up Alexandria? After all, it was speculated that the character would make his way back on screens after a cryptic tweet was sent out by Juan G. Pareja back in October (see above).
But, theories or not we still have the flesh of a few more episodes of Season 5 to sink our teeth into before we get to that all important 90 minute long finale. I cannot wait!