After a knock-down, drag-out fight with Daryl (Norman Reedus), Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) swears she's "stronger than ever," but The Walking Dead might have already entered into the endgame for its current lead villain. Carol (Melissa McBride) is waging war against her archenemy, carrying out a vendetta over murdered son Henry (Matt Lintz), but it was Daryl who almost delivered the killing blow in Season 10 episode 10, "Stalker," before both combatants collapsed half-dead from their wounds. Daryl was saved from a last-minute rescue by the returned Lydia (Cassady McClincy), but Alpha's fate appeared to be left in the air when she was last seen muttering the Whisperer code — "We are the end of the world" — after Lydia refused to kill what used to be her mother.
But Alpha lives, and will next be seen in episode 1011, "Morning Star," alongside newest Whisperer recruit Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The fugitive on the run from Alexandria seemingly fully gave himself over to Alpha when he eagerly accepted a "crass reward" in the midseason premiere, "Squeeze."
In the comic books, Negan similarly enlists with the Whisperers against the misgivings of Beta, Alpha's most loyal follower. After living among them for weeks, Negan takes issue with the "vile" way of life exhibited by Alpha, including the allowed rape of "weak" female Whisperers. It's survival of the fittest, Alpha says, clashing with Negan's belief civilizations are built on protecting the weak.
Negan has gained Alpha's respect, and her trust, getting him close enough to call her a hypocrite for preaching strength and self-preservation when she relies on the towering Beta for protection. Zeroing in on her weakness — lingering affection for her disowned daughter — Negan draws a knife and cuts Alpha's throat before severing her head. Holding Alpha's decapitated head in the air, Negan says to no one, "Wait until Rick gets a look at you."
He then proudly marches back to Alexandria, presenting Alpha's bagged head to community leader Rick Grimes. Asked why he murdered Alpha, Negan answers, "To gain trust."
Taking Alpha's head in good faith, Rick conscripts Negan to fight on the frontlines alongside the militia assembled to combat the Whisperers. When it's all over, Rick will uphold his end of the deal by releasing Negan from prison and setting the ex-Savior leader with enough food and supplies to live out his days in an outpost — away from Alexandria. It's a turning point in Negan's path from villain to anti-hero.
The Walking Dead's midseason premiere, "Squeeze," appeared to foreshadow Alpha's death when it recreated the cover of issue #156, which ends with Alpha's decapitation. Another hint came when Negan, before having sex with Alpha, quipped, "This isn't some sort of a praying mantis situation, is it? Cut off my head afterwards?"
When asked in a recent interview about the television show nearing the source material's ending for Alpha, Morton played coy.
"Is it coming to an end? That’s what you assume," Morton told Red Carpet News TV with a grin, adding you "never know" what might happen.
"This is the thing about AMC and that world, and the comic book world. It’s like, you just don’t know what they have in store, and you don’t know how people’s stories [are going to go]," she said. "‘Cause I just had, ['We Are the End of the World'] was a flashback episode, that I didn’t know was coming up. And I was like, ‘Oh, wow, we get to go back to the past.’ So you just never know."