The Walking Dead Hid The Episode Numbers In The Show's Clocks And Watches

"The Walking Dead" may be over, in a sense, but in many ways, things are just beginning for AMC's massive zombie series. What started, somewhat humbly, as a flashy ploy by the network to bring Robert Kirkman's beloved Image Comics series to the screen eventually blossomed into the biggest show on cable. Now? It's a full-blown franchise, with many spin-offs/sequels on the way. But will any of them contain a gag as good as the main show did for years on end?

Greg Nicotero, the special effects guru who was a huge force behind "The Walking Dead" during its run, revealed a pretty amazing thing they had been hiding in each episode around the time that season 5 was airing. Any time you would see a watch, clock, or time-telling device, the time would be set to mirror the episode number. Speaking to at the time, Nicotero said the following:

"He's using Hershel's watch with the chain. And then when he leaves, Maggie gets it, so of course if you see Maggie has the chain with the watch. And of course the time is 5:01 on the watch, because that was episode 501. So if you look at any of the stuff in the show ... even when Carol picks up Rick's watch off the table, it says 5:01. Every episode that we shoot we adjust the time on the watches and the clocks to whatever episode it is we're shooting."

Giving time meaning in a zombie-filled wasteland

Admittedly, when watching a show with as many characters and plotlines as "The Walking Dead" had, it's doubtful that many people would be looking at the time on a watch whenever it showed up on screen. More to the point, there is little chance they would make the connection in regards to the specific episode number. But this little gag does kind of get at a larger point about a post-apocalyptic universe such as this, in general.

As life exists, time is pretty important. We need to know exactly when to be at work, when to meet friends for dinner, or when something we want to watch on TV is going to be on. Civilized society runs by the hands of the clock. Once the zombies (even though they never said zombie) takeover? It's not to say one doesn't need to be aware of the passage of time, but time as we know it? It becomes far less meaningful. What good is a watch when society is but a tiny shadow of its former self? The small brilliance of this gag that Nicotero and the team weaved into the show is that it, in some way, added some meaning to time. Beyond that, it's just a fun thing to keep an eye out for if you happen to be watching an episode of the show.

"The Walking Dead" is currently streaming in its entirety on AMC+.