The Walking Dead’s newest big bad, Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton), could be nearing her expiration date with Carol (Melissa McBride) gunning for her to avenge murdered son Henry (Matt Lintz). In Sunday’s 10x03, “Ghosts,” Alexandria leader Michonne (Danai Gurira) is ordered to attend a parley at the border marking Whisperer territory, a meeting that brings Carol and Daryl (Norman Reedus) face-to-face with Alpha for the first time in months. As seen in a sneak peek look released ahead of the episode, Carol disobeys orders to arrive unarmed: she’s secretly packing a handgun, kept at the ready in case she’s able to take a shot at the usually little-seen Alpha.
In creator Robert Kirkman’s comic books, the circumstances are different: there Carol had long ago committed suicide at the prison, and it’s Rick Grimes, not Michonne, who is charged with leading his community against the skin-clad Whisperers. Unlike the books, where Rick’s son Carl initiated a romance with Alpha’s daughter, defecting Whisperer Lydia, that romance played out in live-action between Lydia (Cassady McClincy) and Henry. This short-lived romance was ultimately responsible for Alpha’s heinous act that ended with Henry’s decapitated head displayed atop a border spike.
An escaped Negan, released from the Alexandria jail by an angry Hilltop citizen hoping the ousted Savior leader would murder Rick, infiltrates the Whisperer camp and lives among them for a time, openly clashing with their barbaric way of life. After winning Alpha’s respect despite the misgivings of right-hand man Beta, Negan is allowed an unusual level of closeness to the pack leader.
He then capitalizes on this when he calls Alpha a weak hypocrite relying on Beta’s protection to assert control over her followers, who blindly believe in her “vile” and animalistic culture. Negan quietly murders Alpha and claims her decapitated head as a trophy, later presenting it to Rick and Alexandria co-leader Andrea as a bargaining chip to secure his release from prison.
In the show, Negan is already semi-redeemed, having risked his life to rescue Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) in the midst of a dangerous blizzard. Because of this selfless act and his eight-year solitary confinement, Negan is now sometimes uncaged on “work release,” performing chores under watch from supervising Alexandrians.
Negan is also recruited for a mission where he’s partnered with Aaron (Ross Marquand) outside Alexandria’s walls, and as hinted by Daryl Dixon star Norman Reedus, the survivors will later be forced to unleash Negan against the Whisperers.
While showrunner Angela Kang and star Ryan Hurst have confirmed Beta will share scenes with Morgan’s Negan in Season 10, Negan won’t have to go through Beta if he sets his sights on Alpha — he might have to go through Carol, who has already called dibs on the kill. As the mourning mother plainly puts it in “Ghosts” when talking to Michonne about Alpha, “Bitch has to die.”