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Zombies on fire: 5 memorable moments from record-breaking 'Walking Dead' return

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Sunday night's "Walking Dead" episode.They're baaaack. And they're still hunnnnnngry. "The Walking Dead" returned with its season-five premiere Sunday night, and we've only just now begun to digest the happenings. On Monday, the Nielsen Company reported that 17.3 million people watched Sunday's episode, setting a record for the biggest audience ever for a single non-sp
IMAGE: Walking Dead
Walking DeadFrank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Sunday night's "Walking Dead" episode.

They're baaaack. And they're still hunnnnnngry. "The Walking Dead" returned with its season-five premiere Sunday night, and we've only just now begun to digest the happenings. 

On Monday, the Nielsen Company reported that 17.3 million people watched Sunday's episode, setting a record for the biggest audience ever for a single non-sports program on cable TV.

Here are five spoiler-filled moments that ensure we'll be staggering towards our TV sets again next week.

Rick at the zombie chow line on "Walking Dead."Today

To serve man
Yes, we all figured Terminus was a Georgia branch of Old Cannibal Buffet, and we were right. But sharp eyes, or those who frantically Googled for details after the episode aired, will realize that the blonde actor who dies first at the execution trough has been on the show before. Actor Robin Lord Taylor, now The Penguin on "Gotham," reprised his role as "Hippie Sam," who vanished in a season-four episode after his girlfriend Ana was eaten. (And the body shown dead on the table was Alex, the Terminus resident who was shot in the season finale. Apparently Term-ites even eat their own.)

Zombies on fire
Zombies coming atcha are bad. Zombies coming atcha while on fire? Even worse! This episode didn't quite have the enormous-zombie-breaking-apart-in-the-well gross-out of the second season, but face-eating, flame-covered zombies more than made up for it.

Touching reunions
"The Walking Dead" is so rarely happy that fans could be excused for not knowing how to handle the moment where Rick and crew joyfully reunite with Carol and realize she's the one who set fire to Terminus and helped save them. Daryl's expression as he runs to hug her is alone worth the price of face-eating admission. Rick running to baby Judith, Sasha sobbing over Tyreese, and Rick seeming to forgive Carol. It was a beautiful day in the zombie-hood.

A rare happy moment on "The Walking Dead."Today

Flashback frenzy
In a rare use of flashback, viewers saw that the cannibals of Terminus once had good intentions, but soon found themselves imprisoned and tormented by crazies, eventually leading them to realize that "you're the butcher, or you're the cattle." Sharp-eyed viewers were again rewarded: The rapist with the face tattoo seen terrorizing Terminus types in the flashback was the long-haired dude Glenn let out of the boxcar. (Why did the Terminus originals not kill him long ago?)

That last scene
And after the action appears to be over, we see a lone man with his face covered, following Rick and the gang's trail. But instead of drawing out the suspense, the show immediately shows us who it is: Remember Morgan (Lennie James), one of Rick's earliest after-the-apocalypse friends from way back in the first season? "We’ve got a lot of big plans for the character of Morgan, so stay tuned," creator Robert Kirkman told Entertainment Weekly.