A missing character returned to The Walking Dead just in time in Sunday's 1010, "Stalker," where Daryl (Norman Reedus) ended up in a nasty fight with Alpha (Samantha Morton) when returning to the cave where Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Magna (Nadia Hilker) remain trapped. The scrap pitting Daryl against a knife-wielding Alpha and a pack of walkers worsened when the Whisperer leader slashed his face, forcing him to fight through an eyeful of blood, and both half-dead combatants were left bruised and bloodied when the fight ended at a nearby garage where Lydia (Cassady McClincy) was seen for the first time since November's episode 1007, "Open Your Eyes."
"Thank you for making me strong," Alpha tells Daryl, both having lost too much blood to spill any more. "Pain made me. Pain made you. Pain made my Lydia."
"You lost her," he spits back. "You drove her away. Because you didn't love her." Pissed off, Alpha musters the last of her strength to creep towards Daryl for the kill.
"What did you say? What did you say, boy? I can't hear you," she says, filled with contempt. "I'm all ears." When she collapses, she's met by the blurry vision of her disowned daughter.
"Are you really here?" Alpha asks, losing whatever inch of maternal instinct remains when Lydia answers back, "Yes, mama."
"Don't call me that. You know better," Alpha tells her. "You came home. I am you. And you are me." Now tearful, Alpha sings "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady," what was once a soothing song for a young Lydia.
Pulling a knife, Alpha puts Lydia's hands over it. Urges her to make the kill. But Lydia can't. "I made sure you're ready," Alpha says, saying "they're waiting for you."
"I'm not here for them. I'm not here for you," Lydia says. She's picked a side. "They're human. Not perfect. Just human. That's all I ever wanted. It's what you never gave me."
Alpha finally blacks out and wakes up, managing to utter "stay" to no one. When she stands, she sees her knife embedded near a carved message: "Your way is not the only way." Lydia has saved Daryl, and herself, leaving what used to be her mother alone.
It's the final rejection of Alpha's last remaining humanity. In the company of her indoctrinated believers, Alpha declares she's "stronger than ever."
Lydia was last seen in "Open Your Eyes," taking off into her mother's territory alone after realizing she was manipulated by Carol (Melissa McBride). Taking Lydia to the Whisperer border, where she was spotted by Gamma (Thora Birch), Carol hoped to expose Alpha as a liar and sow dissension among the Whisperers. The ploy worked, at least with Gamma-slash-Mary, who has since fully flipped on the pack leader.