Spoilers below for The Walking Dead TV and the most current arc of the comic book series.

Father Gabriel's quest for Hilltop health was cut short by a pack of Saviors in tonight's episode, but not before The Walking Dead introduced a new location that potentially teased the comic book series' explosive new story arc, dubbed New World Order. And it all just might involve the increasingly hard-to-watch Eugene and that radio operator's equipment, with Gabriel being the key link.

The New World Order storyline, which was only fully introduced in 2018, first had its seedlings planted around 25 issues earlier, when Eugene started tinkering with a CB radio as a way to keep his mind off of his other problems. Similar to how this episode's now-deceased radio operator had tried finding other survivors out there in the world, Comic Eugene was dedicated to getting some kind of response during his comm-centric mission. And then, one day, someone did respond, leading to an extremely interesting series of conversations that eventually brought about some shocking revelations about Eugene's new "friend."

Obviously, Eugene isn't currently in a spot where he'd be concerned with making further contact with the outside world, so we don't expect for Season 8 to cap off with the New World Order arc starting up in earnest. But it's all about those seedlings being planted, and now that Father Gabriel is back with Eugene in the Sanctuary, he'll have ample opportunity to share his recent discovery, which Eugene might simmer on for a while. At least until the point where he'd have the time to devote to a side project like that. After all, he's got some bullets to make first.

The Walking Dead's creative team has been pretty vague about how the TV show will handle the comic book's big time jump after the All Out War's conclusion, so bringing the radio into the story this early could have interesting implications. For one, it could be a clever way to make the show and the comic's respective storylines partially concurrent, which could hint at combined efforts to end both projects around the same time, on similar notes. Other story elements would need some major alterations, but fans are used to that by now.

It's also possible the radio could come into play in a way that won't necessarily lead into the New World Order story. Because what if someone is able to make contact with survivors in, say, Texas, tying these characters into the big Fear the Walking Dead crossover that Morgan is central to? That could still lead to the bigger comic arc later on, while keeping its earliest use focused on connecting the two TV worlds. Which would be pretty awesome, really.

Of course, Walking Dead viewers might never see that dude's radio again, nor any others like it, since there are no guarantees that the TV show will head down the same path as the comics in that respect. Things might also go completely different if Eugene ever does make his way to that depressing house. Or maybe it won't be Eugene that does it. Too many variables.

With more big moments on the way, The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what else is coming to the small screen in the near future, head to our midseason premiere schedule.

Watch: The Walking Dead Season 9 Trailer

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