A PTSD-ridden Siddiq (Avi Nash) could be masking a secret. Traumatized by his encounter with Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers, Siddiq is suffering from survivor’s guilt: he was the sole survivor of a slaughter that claimed the lives of ten victims, including protégé Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Hilltop leader Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Kingdom prince Henry (Matt Lintz). In Season 9, Siddiq was tied up and left behind after the abducted community members were murdered in a barn; he was rescued by Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and Henry’s mother, Carol (Melissa McBride), who were horrified to discover a border marking Whisperer territory topped with the victims’ decapitated heads.
As the only surviving witness to this slaughter, Siddiq was left alive to spread a message of fear. “I was supposed to die with them. I was ready to. And then Alpha whispered in my ear, ‘Tell them.’ Something hit me and everything went black,” Siddiq told an assembly of the survivors in the wake of the murders. “When I woke up, I was alone. What happened was evil. It was evil. And I think she left me alive to tell you that story. To scare you, and to drive us all apart again.”
But Siddiq told a different story recalling the heroic final actions of the pike victims, who made one last stand against the Whisperers.
In Season 10, new father Siddiq is cracking under the pressure of his posttraumatic stress disorder: even a mention of the Whisperers and their actions during a tension-filled Alexandria town hall meeting is enough to send him out of the room.
When a wounded Carol is brought in after falling into a Whisperer trap, a shaken Siddiq is unable to perform medical care, forcing Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) to take over. Attempting to remove a shard of glass from Carol’s arm, Siddiq is triggered by the sight of several sharp medical tools.
He flashes back to the barn, and a close-up of a glimmering, bloodied knife flashes, before Alpha — close enough to whisper in the ear — tells him, “Good.”
Could Alpha have forced Siddiq to participate in the pike victims’ murders? Worse, could he have been forced to kill Henry?
Carol is now dead set on getting her revenge against Alpha. During a meeting at the border, Alpha told the grieving mother, “The blond boy? He screamed your name, just before we took his head.” Siddiq suffered another flashback from the barn in 10x01, where he was troubled by the image of Alpha sat admiring a blood-covered hatchet.
Was Siddiq’s flashback in 10x03 triggered by a stressful situation and medical tools, or could it have been triggered by Carol?
It remains to be seen if there’s more to learn behind the night at the barn. For now, we see Siddiq “dealing with a lot.”
“There are a lot of layers to this,” Nash told the AMC blog. “There’s the fact that he’s the only witness to what Alpha is really capable of, so he’s got a responsibility to share that knowledge with everyone else and help them prepare for the war that they’re now entering. He’s also got a lot of survivor’s guilt. He doesn’t know why she let him go and he feels he should have died there in the barn. The scary part about PTSD is that your memories can restart at anytime. At any given moment, he can hear something or smell something that takes him right back into the barn. There is also a lot of shame attached because he doesn’t want everyone to know that it’s affected him as it has. Siddiq is dealing with a lot. It’s really terrifying and it’s difficult for him.”