‘The Walking Dead’ Fans Wonder If Daryl And Rick Are Communicating By Morse Code

Fans of The Walking Dead on social media have speculated about whether Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) was communicating with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) via Morse code.

This theory first arose after the November 13 episode when crime boss Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his menacing Saviors showed up at Alexandria for a little pre-Black Friday shopping/extortion, with prisoner Daryl in tow.

Daryl was either blinking from the sun after spending way too much time in a cell being tortured by the bad guys, or as some maintain, he was silently informing Rick of the location of Negan’s compound, supposedly spelling out “I East” in Morse, depending on one’s interpretation of the open-closed message.

Earlier in the same episode, the camera focused on an American Morse code chart hanging on the wall of Rick and Michonne’s home.

The clicking sound in the Oceanside compound in “Swear,” last night’s installment, apparently reignited the Morse code debate, but the Oceanside group employed dog clickers to alert the community about an intruder, which was series semi-regular Tara (Alanna Masterson).

Amateur (ham) radio operators probably comprise the only group that still transmit and receive Morse code in any significant way, even though the Federal Communications Commission abolished the code test in the licensing exam process about 10 years ago, and it is also optional around the world. Slight character variations exist between American and International Morse (the latter which hams use on the air).

According to the FanSided website, the buzz about the Morse code theory could be plausible in the context of the hit AMC series.

“There is evidence that both Rick and Daryl know Morse code. In Season 5 when Daryl and Carol were looking for Beth she taught him some basic Morse code. And Rick knows Morse code. Police routinely use codes that are based on Morse codes for calling in or receiving messages from a police dispatcher. There was also a huge Morse code framed print in Rick’s home in Alexandria. It’s safe to assume that both of them know enough Morse code to communicate.”

Short-circuiting the Morse code connection, kind of, in a typically roundabout way, showrunner Scott Gimple had this to say, according to Comicbook.

“I would like to live in a world where Daryl Dixon residuously learns Morse code and knows that Rick has an intimate knowledge of Morse code, as well, and that they have practiced this with blinks. I would love that. I will also say that it was an incredibly sunny day…It just excites me that [the fans] have enough faith that we have put in some labyrinth theme kind of stuff. I would love to live in a world where that was true but it also could have been a sunny day…”

About the alleged Morse code communication between the two Walking Dead fan favorites, Comicbook separately noted that “Should these Morse code theories turn out to be true, The Walking Dead will have earned a level of complexity which it has not otherwise utilized. If the communities have certain characters who can communicate using Morse code, the skill will serve as a major advantage in the inevitably impending war against Negan and the Saviors.”

Former U.S. Senator Jeremiah Denton, a brave Vietnam POW who passed away in March 2014, famously blinked out T-O-R-T-U-R-E on TV in May 1966 to notify the world of the brutal treatment from his captors while being held by the North Vietnamese, the New York Times and many other news outlets have reported.

Parenthetically, many Walking Dead fans were less than enamored with last night’s episode, noting that the Tara-focused digression in Oceanside was a form of treading water, as it were, which did not move the plot forward much as the mid-season hiatus approaches. There were a few interesting elements, however [Spoilers], such as the compelling moral dilemma inherent in Tara keeping her word about not revealing to Rosita (or anyone else) the existence of Oceanside, particularly its weapon cache, now that Negan has disarmed Alexandria.

Then there was the dinner scene when the Oceanside hierarchy’s demeanor changed markedly when Tara, in a TMI moment, foolishly discloses the sneak attack on Negan’s satellite compound. In what would have been a huge twist, did anyone think that it would turn out that the men who were killed at said compound were the husbands, brothers, or sons of the Oceanside women?

While still a juggernaut in the fragmented TV universe, The Walking Dead has been on a decline since the Season 7 premiere when fans and non-fans alike finally found out who Negan lucilled with his barbed-wire-covered baseball bat. “Despite debuting to 17.1 million people, Season 7 of The Walking Dead has begun to lose viewers faster than a zombie loses body parts. Episode 5 was the season’s lowest rated episode yet, attracting less than 11 million viewers,” MoviePilot explained.

[Featured Image by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Images]