The Walking Dead 909, ‘Adaptation,’ introduces another key figure from the comic books: Lydia (Cassady McClincy), daughter of Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton).
When returning to Hilltop after a rescue mission in search of Eugene (Josh McDermitt) resulted in Jesus’ (Tom Payne) death at the hands of a human enemy posing as a walker, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) quickly dispatch two more Whisperers.
The last remaining Whisperer surrenders and is unmasked, revealing the doe-eyed Lydia.
She’s then taken to Hilltop, where she’s jailed next to Henry (Matt Lintz), adopted son of Carol (Melissa McBride) and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), who is still serving out his punishment in the drunk tank.
In the books, the 16-year-old Lydia is similarly captured and taken prisoner at Hilltop, where she’s interrogated by Jesus.
“The skin makes the dead leave us alone. We travel with them. They protect us... and we protect them,” Lydia explains when confronted with the skinned face of a walker.
“Because that is all that is left for us in this world. For us to live and them to not. We live together or we don’t live at all. You haven’t learned, but you’ll see... we all learn or die. That is what we are taught.”
It’s in jail where Lydia first meets Carl Grimes, held in detention for brutally beating a gang of Hilltop teens with a shovel when defending Sophia. Carl expresses sympathy for a sobbing Lydia, who is released under Carl’s watch.
Quickly smitten, the pair later enter into a Romeo and Juliet-like romantic relationship as they’re caught between their respective warring factions.
Lydia admits to Carl she’s had sex forced onto her by other Whisperers, but denies it’s rape, telling him, “We don’t recognize that anymore. That went away with the world.”
She tells Carl she wants to stay with his people, who she’s surprised to learn differ greatly from the merciless Whisperers and their nomadic and animalistic way of life.
Alpha and dozens of Whisperers arrive at Hilltop and demand a meeting with leader Maggie, who tells Alpha she wishes to avoid conflict but warns her people are “more than capable” of defending themselves.
“Conflict? There will be no conflict. You come into our lands, there will be conflict,” Alpha says, unmasking.
“You kill our people, there will be conflict. You are here, and there is nothing here, nothing of yours that is of any interest to me or my people. I am Alpha... and I show you my face because we mean you no harm. We only want one thing from you... my daughter.”
Carl’s live-action counterpart (Chandler Riggs) was killed off midway through Season Eight. Henry — who doesn’t exist in the books — is expected to adopt Carl’s comic book storyline.
“We’re committed to keep telling the story from the comic book. Yes, it’s going to be different. And yes, Negan’s relationship to Carl was a big part of the story moving forward, especially in the world changes we see early on. But, as usual, we do plan on telling those comic stories,” former showrunner Scott Gimple previously told EW.0comments
“It just will have to be with different people and it’s a different way to tell those same stories. But we hope to still fulfill what those stories do.”
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.