The Powers The Be have never confirmed that The Hunters cannibalism storyline from The Walking Dead comics will be covered on the AMC show in Season 5. But come on. Why would they adapt the child killer storyline and The Marauders attempted rape of Carl but pass over a storyline with as much gruesome potential as people eating people in the zombie apocalypse? Talk about losing your humanity.
The producers are playing coy about cannibals, not confirming or denying anything and trying their best to make it seem like it’s too obvious for the Terminus people to be cannibals, and they always want to stay ahead of the public. The Termites are already different from The Hunters, since they have a deeper backstory tied to whatever led to the candle room. But there have been subtle and overt hints to cannibalism from the start of Season 4. Here are eight of them.
1. Eddie Needs Something Alive
Right in the premiere, Rick met Clara in the woods, a lady who looked like she was already a walker. She lured Rick into what she hoped to be a trap, to feed him to her dead gentleman friend, Eddie. Poor Eddie was slowing down and he needed something alive. She figured it would be easier to lure Rick back to Eddie than bring back food like a boar. She also hinted to all the bad things she and Eddie had to do to stay alive. The Hunters trapped loners and small groups because it was easier than trapping animals, so this may have been the first hint to that storyline.
2. Rick Shows How to Trap Dinner
In the Season 4 finale, Rick showed Carl how to lure and trap an animal for food. This could be considered another hint to the Termites using their signs and messages to trap food.
3. Rick Bites Joe's Neck
This is straight from the comics, before The Hunters storyline, and it shows how brutal (and inhuman) Rick is willing to get to protect his family. He went half-walker himself, biting into another human's flesh.
4. Mary Has a BBQ Stand
Clever fans pointed to a Wikipedia page for Mary of Bethezuba in a story of cannibalism during the siege of Jerusalem. She killed her son, roasted the body, and ate half of him. Details here. Foreshadowing for Terminus Mary?
5. The Way Termites Talk
Mary talked about making people a plate of food. Literally? During the Terminus tour, Michonne asked tour guide Alex why they take people in. He answered, "When people become part of us, we get stronger." That's why they put up signs, to invite people in. "It's how we survive." Because you eat them?! Maybe we're reading into it, but...
6. They Were Being Herded
Those Terminus snipers on the roof looked like the worst shooters since Tyreese, but Michonne and Rick quickly deduced that they were never aiming to kill them. They were shooting at their feet, as if they were being herded to a particular location. It looked like a sniper did take out tour guide Alex with a clean shot to the head, so it’s not like they weren’t willing to do damage. Maybe they’re OK killing their own but only eating strangers? There might be something more going on there, but when our group started running for safety, we could hear people shouting for help. It wasn't our group in the "A" car, it was other people. So there are multiple people being kept alive for some purpose, whether it's cannibalism or ... some kind of ritual sacrifice? Either way, it’s bad.
7. There Were Bones and Offal on the Ground
There's a quick shot of Rick, Carl, Daryl and Michonne running by what looks like bones and meat parts on the ground. Is there an "innocent" explanation — maybe food from mystery animals being slaughtered? Do they have their own farm somewhere, or was that a quick hint to human leftovers?
8. Powdered Milk on the Ground
This is so nasty, but a fan who knows more about veal than we do suggested that the powdered milk on the ground in front of the train car may have been fed to the group to make the milk sweeter. The comment came in response to people thinking maybe the powdered milk was related to Tyreese, Carol, and Judith already arriving. "Carol and Tyreese have not gotten there yet," Angela Hopson wrote. "The powdered milk containers is most likely for the crew in the train. Why? Well, do any of you know what it takes to create veal? Calves are forced to stay in a dark space, no larger than they are, and are fed only milk. Why? Because it makes the meat sweeter. Hopefully Carol and Tyreese will find the weapons Rick's crew left stashed outside the fence ... in his words .. 'just in case." Gross! Veal sounds like "evil" for a reason, people. Just saying.
Did you see other hints to cannibals? If so, share them! Or do you think we’re being led to believe there are cannibals here when they aren’t going to go there at all?
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October 2014 on AMC.