The Walking Dead star Khary Payton revealed an unseen detail from the penultimate episode of Season Nine, “The Storm,” which saw King Ezekiel unknowingly encounter disguised Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton).
When infiltrating the fair hosted by the Kingdom, Alpha used the scalp of murdered Hilltop citizen Hilde (Caroline Duncan) to pose as “Debbie” from Alexandria — a macabre disguise Payton says was made worse by an extra gruesome touch hidden beneath Alpha’s stolen hat.
“I just love that it had this wolf in sheep’s clothing thing happening. Here comes this lady who cut off somebody’s hair — not cut off their hair, but cut off their hair and put it on,” Payton said at Walker Stalker Con London.
“Oh, you guys, one of the things that you don’t even know about from the episode, is that underneath the hat that Samantha Morton was wearing and the wig — you never saw it because she always had the hat on — but there was this tiny line of blood that was going on. It was so freaking creepy! I swear to God. I just want you guys to know that it was there, because it just makes it that much worse. She looked so cute in that little dress and then I looked a little closer, and she had a line of blood going across her forehead. Oh man, you gotta love this show. It’s so creepy, I don’t know what to do.”
The cunning disguise helped the otherwise recognizable Alpha capture or otherwise lure away multiple victims, including Ezekiel and Carol’s (Melissa McBride) son Henry (Matt Lintz).
“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,” showrunner Angela Kang previously explained to 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.”
When The Walking Dead returns with Season Ten, Payton’s grieving king is queued for an all-new story now that he’s outlived his comic book counterpart, who fell victim to Alpha and the pikes. The king has freshly separated from Carol, who has since relocated to Alexandria with old friends Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus), and now oversees Hilltop.
The Walking Dead returns this fall on AMC.
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