The Walking Dead wrapped up the first half of season seven by avoiding the show's cardinal sin: stupid, unnecessary cliffhangers. Instead, viewers got an action-packed midseason finale that included a bargaining Spencer, Spencer's guts, Olivia unceremoniously shot and Daryl devouring an entire jar of peanut butter. By the standards of season seven, which has been a slog, this was a promising turn.
It was an open and closed narrative, with Rick and the group finally prepared to take on Negan and the Saviors — likely with the help of the Hilltop Colony and the Kingdom, just like the comics. But the show did leave one unsolved mystery: Who was the mysterious character with the dapper boots that was stalking Rick and Aaron?
The mystery character (technically, just the boots) watches Rick and Aaron from afar while they gather supplies from the houseboat, before the character is seen watching Alexandria with a pair of binoculars in the midseason finale's post-credits scene. It feels like an ominous sign for Rick and the group — we would assume it's a foe, rather than a friend.
But who could it be? Here's four theories on who the mystery character may end up being.
While the Whisperers don't show up in the comics until there's a time jump — following the group's fight with Negan — there's reason to believe the show could introduce the new threat much sooner. For one, AMC teased the Whisperers' appearance on Instagram before the season seven premiere. It's either an absurdly premature tease, or a sign that we should keep an eye out for sketchy-looking zombies.
The creepy conceit for the Whisperers is that they disguise themselves as zombies, blending in so they don't get attacked. Like the Insta tease from AMC, which features a spiked head, it's not going to go well for Alexandria once they make their appearance. Perhaps they already have their eyes set on Rick and the group.
There's been signs that Dwight, like in the comics, will eventually turn on Negan, and we wouldn't blame him. Negan ironed his damn face, and took Sherry as one of his many wives. If Dwight's looking to betray Negan, he may need to do some scouting ahead of time; it's not like Alexandria holds him in any high regard. Plus, Daryl did escape the Sanctuary, with the help of a mystery person leaving a note and unlocking his cell.
Could it have been Dwight? Perhaps, but it's still unlikely that he's the mystery man with the boots. For one, the last we see of Dwight he's at the Sanctuary, and even with Negan occupying himself at Alexandria, it's hard to imagine Dwight going rogue for an extended period of time.
Cindy from Oceanside
While the boots in question were somewhat masculine, it's certainly not a stretch to assume it could've been a female character. Cindy from the Oceanside community was a friend to Tara, and probably won't be welcomed back with open arms after helping Tara escape.
One of the biggest issues with Tara's Oceanside episode was that it led nowhere; Cindy made Tara promise that she wouldn't tell Alexandria about the Oceanside group's whereabouts, or that they exist at all. Tara has obliged thus far, and it appeared that The Walking Dead spent an entire episode introducing a group we'll never revisit. However, if Cindy — or another Oceanside member — is brought back into the fold, that episode won't feel like an unnecessary one-off. They have their own reasons for wanting revenge against the Saviors, after all.
The person who made this sassy sign
It's assumed — from the sassy sign left on land — that the person who occupied the houseboat died. (Maybe the occupant was the zombie on the floor of the houseboat?) However, the mystery person was certainly capable, holding a stash of weapons in their humble abode. If they're still alive, they could be interested in finding a new community with more supplies.
Given the hostile nature of the sign, of course, we don't expect the character — if it is the same person — to be friendly.