Alpha (Samantha Morton) is losing her head in a new promo for The Walking Dead Season 10B. The Whisperer leader went into the winter hiatus victorious, trapping archenemy Carol (Melissa McBride), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Kelly (Angel Theory), Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and Magna (Nadia Hilker) in a cave filled with the thousands of walkers belonging to the horde she's lording over Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the allied communities. While she has a new ally in the formidable Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who has seemingly pledged his fidelity to Alpha, a traitor within her ranks could cause her unraveling.
As newly inducted Whisperer Negan continues to rub the ferociously protective Beta (Ryan Hurst) the wrong way, Alpha attempts to sniff out acolyte-turned-traitor Gamma (Thora Birch), who supplied Aaron with intel that was supposed to lead the trapped heroes to the site of Alpha's horde. Also in the mix is Alpha's defector daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy) — believed dead by the Whisperer camp because of Alpha's lies — last seen trespassing into her mother's territory alone following a betrayal committed by Carol.
Could a run-in with her disowned daughter cause Alpha's coming breakdown?
"One of the things that I always thought was interesting in the comic book is that Alpha does have this care for Lydia even though, I mean, she’s a horrible mother. There’s not even an origin point. She’s not a good mother to Lydia," showrunner Angela Kang previously told EW. "And yet, for somebody who professes to try to live as the animals do, survival of the fittest, stamp out these kinds of vestiges of humanity — because we live in the world of the dead, there’s such a hypocrisy at the core of that."
"It’s a thing that she struggles against, and that is one of the compelling things about her character in the book," Kang continued. "So we have our own take on it in the season, but certainly that mother–daughter bond and her mental and emotional state around it, and what Beta sees as a weakness — that must be hidden. All of that plays into the conflict that is growing within the Whisperers, as well as between them and our people."
Alpha's lies, her persistent attachment to Lydia, the presence of Gamma and her failure to full-on attack the communities are all "little things that are starting to gnaw" at Beta, Alpha's usually unquestioning number two.
"It just makes him wonder a little bit. And Alpha feels that there are ways in which Beta is judging her actions, and that causes her to have a little bit of pause about him too. When leaders feel like they’re being judged, they often react accordingly," Kang teased. "So it’s all part of the very interesting psychology of the Whisperers that we’ve been having fun just playing with, and guessing at what kinds of things they might be thinking and doing based on what is so beautifully done in the comics."
TWD Season 10 returns with new episodes Feb. 23 on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.