When it comes to easter eggs, the necromancers behind Breaking Bad have set the gold standard. Not to be outdone, fellow AMC megahit The Walking Dead has sprinkled quite a few secrets across their own episodes, but then they took it a step further.
Not only can you find tons of zombie-related secrets in and around the adventures of Rick Grimes and Co., but there are actually Breaking Bad easter eggs hidden within The Walking Dead. The references are so prevalent that they almost seem like they take place in the same universe, just at different time periods.
It started in season one, with a cameo by some very familiar "product" placement.
Walt's trademark blue meth can be found in the second-ever episode of The Walking Dead, when Daryl digs through his stash for meds to save the guy that you forgot was actually called T-Dog. It's a pretty obvious reference -- they zoom in pretty close -- but maybe it's a coincidence. I don't do enough meth to know whether the blue stuff is common.
But there's more. You might remember the part in Breaking Bad when Walt gets his son a Dodge Challenger. Later he reassures Skylar that he'll return it.
Glenn's a common name, though. Could be referring to any Glenn, right? Maybe that Glenn who likes the Tea Party and is funded by Cash4Gold, or that other Glenn who wanted to capture all those puppies and make them into a coat.
I mean, it's not like the Glenn from The Walking Dead was driving the exact same car in the zombie apocalypse.
Knowing how meticiulous the creators of Breaking Bad are, that's probably not a coincidence. Still, it's probably more of an indirect wink, as it would seem unlikely that's the same car and the same Glenn. More than anything, AMC probably just has a deal to promote terrible American muscle cars.
Maybe the most explicit evidence of the tie between BB and TWD came in the seventh episode of the fourth season, when Daryl tells a story about a strung-out dirtbag he knew once.
Do you know any janky, white, drug-dealing tweakers who are guilty about never seeing their kid and also might be fond of the word "bitch?"
That certainly fits the description of one Jesse Pinkman. Maybe Merle and Daryl hung out with a down-and-out Jesse before the world ended; it could be that's when they scored the blue meth we saw earlier. Which would mean Breaking Bad has a vastly different ending than the one we saw in the series finale. Maybe they'll get to that in the Better Call Saul spinoff.
You can spot a few undead celebrities amidst The Walking Dead's shambling masses, but musicians and athletes are so boring. The best guest zombies are the ones tailored specifically to diehard horror fans.
Above is a great example; on the left is a fella known as "Flyboy," who's known for getting his head chopped off by a helicopter in the 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead. Compare him to the dude on the right, from season three/episode five of TWD. It's not as if they both hurt their necks while slurping from a vat of Cherry Kool-Aid -- the Walking Dead zombie was modeled speficially after the Dawn of the Dead zombie, down to the craning neck and sensible belt.
The guys at TWD are big fans of Dawn of the Dead, as evidenced by the Red Flannel Zombie. He's exactly what he sounds like in both the movie (left) and the tv show (right).
The showrunners could've easily just whipped a rough approximation that would've ended up looking like a rotting version of Sloth from The Goonies, but The Walking Dead really goes all out in their homages.
But zombie cameos don't necessarily have to come from zombie movies. Example:
In the horror classic American Werewolf in London, Jack Goodman (top left) returns as a gory ghost after being mauled by a werewolf. As the movie wears on, his appearance deteriorates with every scene. By the end, Jack looks like a corpse that's been hanging in a jerky smoker for a few weeks (bottom left). If you're quick on the freeze-frame while watching the ninth episode of The Walking Dead's fourth season, you can peep Jack shambling along with the undead hordes that are following Michonne.
And then there's Bub.
In Day of the Dead, Bub (bottom right) was the zombie who was at least sort of semi-intelligent. The subject of a series of experiments, Bub displayed the ability to form memories and also use basic motor skills.
You'd expect The Walking Dead to honor what might be the most famous movie zombie, and sure enough, Glenn shines a light on un-Bub late in season four. He's even wearing the same clothes, down to the denim jacket and collar. Smelly but super-lovable, he's like the Daryl of zombies.