Warning: Spoilers for tonight's episode of "Fear the Walking Dead" and the Image comic series "The Walking Dead" follow.
In the front half of "Fear the Walking Dead"'s second season, Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) had taken up the habit of smearing himself with zombie guts and roaming among the walkers. This has been going on for a few episodes now, so we realize it's not news.
However, when watching tonight's premiere, it struck us for the first time that his behavior is very similar to "The Walking Dead"'s current antagonists, The Whisperers. Granted, they take things a few steps further by actually wearing zombie skin-suits and living like animals in terms of social structure, mating rituals, and sanitation, but the similarities between their way of life and the road Nick is shambling down are remarkably in parallel to each other.
Nick continued this behavior in the excellent midseason premiere, "Grotesque." As he makes his way through the Mexican desert, Nick disguises himself amidst the undead for a more direct route -- and to take down a band of mysterious men who take pleasure in killing the reanimated and the living alike.
It's that last plot point that makes Nick different from so many other characters on "The Walking Dead" who have also smothered themselves in zombie gore. Where Rick Grimes and co. only do it for strategic purposes -- usually to escape an enormous horde of zombies -- there's a spiritual, communicative element to Nick's approach, an outlook that first got explored (somewhat jarringly) in the midseason finale, "Shiva." When walking with the undead in "Grotesque," he feels as if he can understand them. He can hear what they're saying. And because of that, he's able to steer them towards the new men with the guns.
Which brings us back to The Whisperers. Nick isn't simply using walkers as a means of safety; he's actually connecting with them -- or at least he thinks he is. We can;t say for sure if the writers actually had The Whisperers in mind when developing this aspect of Nick's character, but it seems at least a little likely. While it has been stated repeatedly that there are no plans to cross over the two series, that won;t stop us from wondering "What if Alpha, Beta and the rest of the early Whisperers clan ended up showing on 'Fear the Walking Dead' before debuting on its sister show?" Fans' heads would surely explode -- and then Nick would smear their brains all over his body.