Spoilers below for The Walking Dead episode "The Big Scary U," so please watch it before reading on.
Of all the shows on TV that could readily feature helicopters on multiple occasions, The Walking Dead might not seem like a top contender, considering transportation isn't the easiest thing to come by. And the further along we get into the story, the lower the plausibility gets that helicopters are still zipping through the sky. Yet, after Rick and Daryl's scuffle in "The Big Scary U," Rick is walking alone when he hears and sees a chopper flying just overhead. Oddly, his level of confusion and excitement were on par with him seeing a leaf on a tree, or a fish underwater.
So while Rick's reaction was slightly less ecstatic than others' might have been, we're still fascinated and scratching our heads about it. After all, a working helicopter, combined with someone who knows how to fly it, could be as big a boon to Team Family as anything else they've come across over the years. But what hell is the deal with it? Here are our four biggest and most logical theories about where that Walking Dead helicopter came from.
It's Merely Another Pilot Reference
In this case, we're not talking about the pilot controlling the helicopter, but the actual Walking Dead pilot episode that served as the series premiere. Near the end of the episode, as Rick is riding his horse through Atlanta, he hears a helicopter and sees a reflection of it in a skyscraper's windows, and then it's possibly never directly referred to again.
Season 8, especially Episode 100, were highly promoted as being reflective of Season 1, and the pilot in particular, and we saw a slew of easter eggs and references in "Mercy." So it's definitely possible that the helicopter was another one of those callback moments, meant to celebrate the lifespan of the show without actually leading to another narrative avenue. Not the ideal answer, but it wouldn't be so out of character for the creative team.