The Walking Dead: Dead City Episode 3 Pulls Off An Escape From New York Spin

Contains spoilers for "The Walking Dead: Dead City" Season 1, Episode 3, "People Are a Resource"

Post-apocalyptic stories about dystopian cities are bound to draw comparisons to "Escape from New York," especially when they're set in the Big Apple. Sometimes, though, the similarities are by design. The creators of "The Walking Dead: Dead City" have openly acknowledged the influence of John Carpenter's cult classic on their series, and Episode 3 sees them go all-out with the tributes.

In this one, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) continue on their quest to rescue Hershel (Logan Kim) from the clutches of The Croat (Željko Ivanek). However, in order to do that, they must find a way into his Madison Square Garden stronghold while simultaneously contending with the flesh-eating creatures who roam the streets. 

"Dead City" Episode 3 also sees the protagonists mingle with other survivors, who explain that the army doesn't want New York to have access to the rest of the world. Sound familiar? The post-apocalyptic city in Carpenter's movie is also a prison that's closed off from regular society. That said, "Dead City" borrows other ideas from the 1981 actioner, especially regarding the villains' favorite forms of entertainment. 

Dead City Episode 3 pays homage to Escape from New York

The military units in "Escape from New York" and "The Walking Dead: Dead City" force the citizens to remain in their respective metropolitan hellscapes. As such, both environments have become lawless lands that are ruled over by sadistic criminal kingpins. Furthermore, the rulers love putting on a show for their people — and they don't like outsiders causing trouble.

In "Escape from New York," Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) gets captured and is forced to compete in gladiatorial-esque combat at the behest of The Duke (Isaac Hayes). The villain doesn't take kindly to Plissken meddling in his affairs, so he pits the hero against his champion warrior. "Dead City" Episode 3 features a scene straight out of the same playbook, as the Croat's "Arena" hosts a cage fight between the imprisoned Perlie Armstrong (Gaius Charles) and some vicious zombies, and the captive must overcome insurmountable odds to survive. 

Of course, the Croat is arguably more demented than the Duke. However, each villain shares some similarities, including an appreciation for violent bloodsports and ruling over their respective domains with an iron fist. "Dead City" Episode 3 is a love letter to "Escape from New York," proving that John Carpenter's film is still influential in 2023.