The Walking Dead 913, 'Chokepoint,' revealed soon-to-die members of the Whisperers are encouraged to become walkers, or guardians, the group's moniker for the reanimated undead who are used by the Whisperers as camouflage and protection.
"We were just thinking a lot internally about… If you're the Whisperers, what is your attitude towards zombies? 'Cause it's clearly not the same attitude we have towards them," showrunner Angela Kang explained to EW.
"They're not seen as a threat in the same way. In a lot of ways they have used the zombies, used their skins, but also just their physical presence to protect them. There's something that's so cult-like in a lot of ways about how the Whisperers think, and the way they behave, and the way they call Alpha, Alpha and Beta, Beta. It made sense to me and the other writers that they would try to make it seem like if you die and you're a warrior, that this is a thing of honor, and you will always be with us."
This plays out in a scene with Whisperer army commander Beta (Ryan Hurst), who unexpectedly comforts a dying member soon to transition to the other side.
The minion suffered an incurable walker bite when Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Connie (Lauren Ridloff) unleashed a horde of 'guardians' on the unsuspecting Whisperer camp to rescue Henry (Matt Lintz) and Lydia (Cassady McClincy) before fleeing in the chaos.
This Whisperer-turned-walker was then integrated into the pack steered by Beta and his army when pursuing Daryl and company into an office building, only for it to be picked off by the bolt-firing Daryl from atop a perch.
"It's part of making that entire philosophy feel as if it's one piece, and putting importance on different things than our people would," Kang said of the Whisperers' ritual.
"We thought that it was interesting in this episode, which really kind of deals with what we call the Field Team Six of the Whisperers. That that's part of their warrior mythology, it's like you die and then you still are with us forever, which felt kind of true to the general belief system that they have."0comments
Hurst expects more of that mythology — and Beta's own personal history — to be revealed in the season ahead.
The Walking Dead premieres new episodes Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.