‘The Walking Dead’: Daryl Gets a Maggie Comic Book Story

The Walking Dead will play out a comic book beat between Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) that originally would have gone to Hilltop leader Maggie (Lauren Cohan).

In 911, ‘Bounty,’ Daryl confronts Alpha when she marches on Hilltop, backed by small army of Whisperers. She demands the return of her captured daughter, Lydia (Cassady McClincy), promising there will be “no conflict” if the girl is safely reclaimed.

A sneak peek released on Talking Dead sees Daryl growl a warning: “If it’s a fight you’re lookin’ for, we got enough firepower to light you up. Right here and now.”

Daryl eyes a Whisperer cradling a baby and reacts with disgust. “You brought a baby out here?”

“We’re animals. Animals live out here. Animals have babies. So we have babies out here,” Alpha says nonchalantly, offering a glimpse of the barbaric philosophy that drives the Whisperers.

“Now, what were you saying? Light us all up? You seem to want conflict. I don’t. So I’m proposing a trade.”

Two Whisperers step forward, guiding a pair of prisoners concealed by the skinned faces of walkers. The prisoners are unmasked, revealing Luke (Dan Fogler) and Alden (Callan McAuliffe), previously captured by a shotgun-toting Alpha.

This coming episode borrows from The Walking Dead #138, which sees Maggie come face-to-face with Alpha for the first time.

The Walking Dead 138
(Photo: Image Comics)

There an unfazed Maggie, staring down dozens of Whisperers, admits Alpha’s forces are “impressive.” Though Maggie says she has no intentions of pursuing conflict between the two groups, she warns Alpha the Hilltop’s forces are “more than capable of defending ourselves. And we will.”

Alpha, removing her mask, says plainly she only wants her daughter returned. When Maggie assures her the captured Lydia hasn’t been harmed, Alpha presents her prisoners, Dante and Ken of the Hilltop, and proposes a trade.

“Make this trade, and stay out of our lands... and there will be no further trouble between our people,” Alpha tells Maggie when she agrees to release Lydia. “That is my promise to you.”

The trade is protested by Carl, who quickly grew romantic feelings for Lydia. A firm Maggie orders Carl to drop the issue, telling him he’s known Lydia for one day and she’s accepting the trade to facilitate the safe return of two of their own.

Lydia reluctantly admits she has to rejoin her people and is returned to her mother, who coldly tells the girl to address her as Alpha, “like all the rest.”

The Walking Dead 138
(Photo: Image Comics)

A survivor of childhood abuse, Daryl empathizes with Lydia after the girl opened up about the cruel treatment she’s suffered at the hands of Alpha and the Whisperers.

Daryl will go on to establish what Reedus characterizes as mutual respect with Alpha even as he resists his growing leadership responsibilities.

“I think Norman plays all the stuff related to that character’s abuse so well, just all the complexities of that. That Lydia has the upbringing that she has, we just immediately kind of jumped to Daryl as such an interesting character to cross with her because he has had a horrible childhood,” show runner Angela Kang told EW.

“He’s kind of risen above it in so many ways, even though there are still parts of himself that he struggles with. We thought that that was a really interesting opportunity to tell stories with people who have such trauma in their lives and are just trying to cope with it as they move forward in this apocalypse.”

Maggie left the Hilltop with son Hershel sometime during a six-year time jump and is now off “someplace far” with Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) overseeing a new community. Sunday’s ‘Bounty’ will reveal more of this past timeline through flashback, as will coming episodes this season.

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Cohan is open to returning, even if in a limited role, next season.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.