A Whisperer spy could be hiding in plain sight within Alexandria. The Walking Dead Season 10 introduced Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) as a smooth-talking medic and assistant to Siddiq (Avi Nash), who is plagued by PTSD and disturbing flashbacks after being forced to watch the Whisperers’ slaughter of a group that included Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Henry (Matt Lintz). As Alpha (Samantha Morton) warned, the Whisperers are always watching: the skin-wearers have eyes everywhere, and their apparent omnipresence can be explained away by their ability to blend in among the dead. Carol (Melissa McBride) already caught trespassing Whisperers, but could they have eyes on the inside?
Alpha is aware of the three times the survivors crossed her borders into Whisperer territory: the first during winter, the second to extinguish a freak fire that threatened to burn down Oceanside, and a third trespass made by Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) atop a bridge.
When explaining the decision to involve a Soviet satellite crash landing to Earth in the Season 10 premiere, showrunner Angela Kang told ComicBook.com the satellite was used to reinforce the Cold War-like feel for the season.
“Thematically, we wanted to kind of talk about a war that felt like it had Cold War aspects and the Whisperers always watching our people, and so a satellite felt like a good metaphor for that,” Kang said.
Another important component of a Cold War feel: spies.
In The Walking Dead Season 10 trailer, released in July, Daryl (Norman Reedus) holds a man by the head before punching him in the face as Carol (Melissa McBride) watches. The scene appears to be set in the Alexandria infirmary, and though the interrogation suspect is shown only from behind for a brief second, the figure bears a strong resemblance to Dante’s shaggy hair and white medical coat.
You can watch the moment in question at 1:08 in the video above.
As Siddiq’s assistant, Dante is close by each time Siddiq suffers a flashback to the barn murders. In 10x01, “Lines We Cross,” Siddiq and Dante shared a strange moment when the camera moved uncomfortably close to Dante’s mouth. “What’s with this Whisperers thing?” he asked, triggering a quick flashback to Enid’s last stand.
Siddiq had another panic attack when caring for Carol, wounded from a run-in with the Whisperers, in “Ghosts.” There it appeared to be the sight of medical equipment that sparked the flashback to bloody knives used to decapitate the Whisperer victims.
If Dante is a Whisperer, he could have participated in the barn murders, and his presence in Alexandria could be subconsciously triggering Siddiq’s PTSD. The zoom in on the mouth — one of the few human features often left exposed by the Whisperers’ fleshy masks — could be a clue Siddiq might recognize Dante’s voice or features, even if he hasn’t yet realized.
In July, Kang said Dante would in Season 10 “play an important role in the story in Alexandria.”
The absence of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) encouraged The Walking Dead to make alterations to the live-action version of Dante. In the comics, the character is a loyal member of the Hilltop colony who becomes the widowed Maggie’s new love interest.
“It’s one of those situations where, just [because of] the nature of where we are in the show and the characters who are no longer here, we had to bring Dante in a little bit of a different way than what you’re expecting,” executive producer Denise Huth previously told Radio Times. “In the comics, he’s very much tied to Maggie’s story and right now Maggie’s not here. But it was fun to introduce such a great character from the books and bring him in in a very different way.”