The Walking Dead silenced one of the Whisperers by putting a twist on a major death from the comic books in Sunday's 1012, "Walk With Us." Pack leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) unleashed her Whisperer and walker army on the Hilltop colony when waging war against the survivors rallied by Daryl (Norman Reedus) in "Morning Star," a battle that left Hilltop in ruins and its survivors scattered. Among them: Alpha's disowned daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy), the defector Whisperer who refused to kill her mother and take her place as alpha. But when Lydia is taken prisoner by Negan in "Walk With Us," Alpha goes to "free" her daughter by killing her.
Marching with Negan to a shack in the woods where Lydia is tied to a chair, Alpha is prepared to renege on what she told Beta (Ryan Hurst) in 1002, "We Are the End of the World": "She's my daughter. She's my baby! I could not kill her."
In "Walk With Us," the time has come for mother to release her daughter and become "guardians" — the Whisperers' given name for the undead.
Like a lioness, Alpha slinks through the woods towards her prey. "But like the young lion cub who must leave his pride, it is time to roam the Earth," she tells Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who has proved himself a trustworthy follower. "Build a new pride."
When he asks if she wants him to "preach her gospel," Alpha corrects him. "I want you to become a lion."
"I may not be hip on the whole Greek alphabet, but Beta is no Alpha," Negan says. "And if we're gonna stick with the whole lion thing, then isn't the young lioness who takes her mother's place?"
When Negan opens up about his late wife who died from cancer, Alpha tells him, "Be grateful. Death set her free."
In an exchange inspired by issue #156 of creator Robert Kirkman's comic book, Negan confesses he "didn't feel much anything anymore" after his wife's death. He then calls "bullshit" on Alpha's philosophy preaching the living are animals. "And now you claim you have to kill your own daughter, your own flesh and blood."
"It is her destiny," Alpha says. "That disease took your wife because that was what nature intended. She could not take you with her. But you live every day wishing she could. Lydia was made for this. To be free. With me." Negan points out Alpha still loves her daughter.
"I have to do it because I love her," Alpha says. "She will always be my baby."
Reaching the shack before her, Alpha has been lured into a trap. Lydia is in a different location and will never see her mother again.
Negan slashes Alpha's throat, holding her steady as blood waterfalls from her neck. He cradles her, lowering her gently to the floor, where Alpha expires.
Negan then presents her decapitated head to the person who arranged Alpha's doom.
In the comic book, Alpha entrusts Rick Grimes with keeping her daughter away from the barbaric Whisperers in issue #144. "You do not belong here. You are weak and you long for the old ways, the broken ways. You belong with them," a tearful Alpha tells Lydia. "Be gone with you."
These would be the last words Lydia would hear from her mother.
Negan of the comics similarly infiltrated the Whisperers, but it was a scheme of his own planning. The fugitive freshly escaped from the Alexandria jail never received his own mask made from walker flesh, never engaged in an intimate relationship with Alpha, and never used Lydia as "bait" to kill her mother.
In issue #156, Alpha confesses she misses her daughter and she's "not strong," to which Negan replies, "You think it makes you strong to pretend emotions aren't real. That you're all animals and you value strength above all else. It's all a game, Alpha… and you're not f—ing winning."0comments
Negan then slices her throat, lays her down, and uses his blade to sever Alpha's head. Lifting his trophy into the air, Negan says, "Wait until Rick gets a look at you."
Audiences will learn what happens next in Season 10 episode 14, "Look at the Flowers," airing in two weeks after the exit episode for Danai Gurira's Michonne. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.