The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang has explained how Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers managed to quietly capture Henry (Matt Lintz), Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and the seven other victims who were later slaughtered as part of a gruesome show of force, and why the filmmakers opted to withhold showing the characters’ abductions.
“I think it was some sort of a mix of a ruse. Like when we had that moment where Henry had to kind of go off to deal with the pipe crisis — was that actually what was happening? Or was that something that they generated in order to kind of draw people in? And it’s very much in the comics,” Kang told EW.
“People were fooled into going with them, and I think that’s kind of what’s terrifying — that she’s able to put on a wig and a hat and look totally different and walk through the fair. In the comics, she just kind of walks around with her bald head, but because we played events differently, too many people got a good look at her. But she looks completely different with long hair and a flowing dress. So I think that’s kind of the horror of it, the feeling that somebody could snatch you from within the midst of a giant crowd.”
Those characters — along with the slain Ozzy (Angus Sampson) and Alek (Jason Kirkpatrick) of the Highwaymen, Alexandria’s DJ (Matt Mangum) and Frankie (Elyse Nicole DuFour), and Hilltop’s Rodney (Joe Ando Hirsh), Addy (Kelley Mack), and Tammy (Brett Butler) — were only learned missing after Alpha had committed her gruesome act of terror, maneuvering Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and Carol (Melissa McBride) into stumbling across the victims’ severed heads displayed on pikes.
“We didn’t want to really get into the weeds of exactly how it happened, ’cause in some ways it’s more terrifying not seeing that happen on screen,” Kang explained. “But I do think it was you trick people into going to an advantageous location, and then you very quickly knock ’em out, tie ’em up, et cetera.”
The episode also played with time as part of its narrative choice, first following Daryl’s group as they’re confronted by Beta (Ryan Hurst) and the Whisperers before jumping back to the fair at the moment when Carol departs, leaving behind son Henry and husband Ezekiel (Khary Payton).
“It just felt right for some reason. It starts with Carol and the King kind of splitting. And this is a fateful moment in the timeline,” Kang said.
“It’s like, this is the moment where in some ways, it’s like the Whisperers took advantage of what would normally be the very smart thing to do. It’s like, ‘Okay, we head out to protect the most vulnerable place,’ because they don’t know that the Whisperers have discovered the Kingdom. And in a lot of ways, it’s what makes them weaker in the moment. They’ve split off some of their most capable people, and then it’s like they’ve gone through and picked through what’s supposed to be this really happy, joyous thing. And so it kind of makes sense to go, ‘Okay, here was this very important incident in the timeline. Let’s see what happens with group A, let’s see what happens with group B.’ And then it all just merges together at the end.”
The Walking Dead next airs its snow-covered Season Nine finale, “The Storm,” Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.
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