Why Rick's Group On 'TWD' Needs To Step It Up — Quickly

Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Building a bridge seemed impressive on The Walking Dead, but our intrepid survivors just got showed up by the arrival of modern technology. At the end of Sunday's episode, Anne's watch was interrupted by a sound she and the others haven't heard in a long time. But who could be flying helicopters on The Walking Dead? The survivors have barely figured out how to make covered wagons.

The identified flying object was first revealed in the Season 9 trailer that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con over the summer — however, it's initial debut on the series is a little different than what the trailer teased. In Sunday's episode, the artist formerly known as Jadis hears the helicopter at night, whereas the trailer showed her standing close to the (possibly landing) helicopter during the day time, which could be next week or later this season. Someone is coming, and it may or may not be good news.

It's also not the first time that a character has seen or heard something like this in the sky. Rick saw a helicopter in Season 8, and fan theories rumbled that this marked the arrival of The Commonwealth, an advanced community of survivors in the comics. However, nothing was made of the helicopter Rick encountered after that... until now.

Honestly, our heroes should be low-key ashamed of themselves. Not that the remaining Saviors are necessarily heroes, but they're running around losing fuel, Justin can't even keep a walkie talkie charged — and there people are out here with the resources and their sh*t together enough to fly helicopters? As thankful as I am that, after nine seasons, there was finally a technical difficulty with the magical (and apparently solar-powered) radios, it's a little embarrassing when you put it into perspective.

Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Thanks to Fear The Walking Dead, there's no doubt in our mind that the rest of the country is experiencing an apocalypse as well. This isn't just isolated on the East coast, with other regions just carrying on as usual. The group behind the helicopter is surviving the apocalypse just like everyone else. Maybe they're from, like, Boston. New Englanders would definitely find a way to look down on the South, even at the end of the world.

The Whisperers are a villainous group in the comics that will appear in Season 9 according to casting reports over the summer. However, based on what the Whisperers are like in the comics, it doesn't seem likely that they've somehow acquired and piloted a helicopter. In the comics, these cult-like people cover their faces in walker skin. They are nomadic and generally eschew modern civilization. They adopt mysterious nondescript names like "Alpha" and "Beta." Not the type of people you'd see flying around in the sky.

Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Looking to the comics, the Ohio-based Commonwealth is still the best theory, unless the AMC series has something else entirely planned. Fear The Walking Dead has had its characters travel by helicopter before. Maybe it's Morgan Jones, dropping by to check in on his friends. It could also be Magna's group, a smaller faction from the comics joining this season.

Whoever is flying the helicopter, this is setting up an interesting idealogical conflict in Season 9. Especially once the Whisperers do arrive, these three groups are taking three distinctly different approaches to rebuilding society. The collective of Alexandria, Hilltop, Oceanside, and the Sanctuary are returning to early civilization with blacksmiths and wooden bridges. The Whisperers have regressed even further back, and those flying overhead are a reminder of what used to be the new world. Knowing The Walking Dead, that's not necessarily a recipe for hope.