The Walking Dead review: A daughter’s defiance


This week’s episode focuses on character changes for two integral characters. However, their development is rather conflicting.

No post-apocalypse setting is ever the same without a menacing villain, and we’re glad that Alpha is officially here to bring chaos to The Walking Dead.

While we’ve officially seen Alpha in The Walking Dead comics, we’re weren’t acquainted with her televised counterpart until this weekend’s episode. We haven’t yet seen her sadistic approach to parenting or leadership; however, we do know her arrival at Hilltop is beyond troublesome.

At the forefront of this week’s episode, “Omega,” it serves as an abridged origin story for the Whisperers and how Alpha gained leadership. Flashing back to the start of the end of civilianization, the episode implicitly shows the end of natural order. For those who are fans of The Walking Dead for its post-apocalyptic characteristics, this episode gifted us with a look back to when things first began to crumble. It’s been some time since we’ve seen a flashback like this, albeit this was a pretty terrifying one.

Scarlett Blum as Young Lydia, Steve Kazee as Frank, Samantha Morton as Alpha – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

For Alpha’s initial group, which quickly morphed into the Whisperers as we saw at the end of Sunday’s episode, most civilization was willingly banished and harsh survival instincts took over.

Apart from giving us insight into how the Whisperers started their walker-skinning habits, the episode showcased Lydia’s rapid character development. Using her flashbacks and interrogation sessions with Daryl (as well as her late-night chats with Henry), “Omega” shows Lydia’s initial defiance for cooperation and her general distrust of the Hilltop people.

This illustrates her general upbringing and the canon abuse she’s faced living in the anarchistic anti-society ruled by her mother. After Henry sneaks her out of her cell at night, she quickly learns that most of what Alpha told her growing up — about having a long-running society and having kids in the apocalypse both aren’t possible — were lies.

Disproving those lies on her own, without anyone at Hilltop dissecting Alpha’s history of convoluted lies, allows Lydia to undergo an expedited character shift. (Complete with second thoughts about killing Henry with a hammer.) Given the hold that Alpha’s abuse has on Lydia in the comics and the general manipulative nature of abuse overall, we know that Lydia’s defiance against her mother will be a continual battle — especially since the episode leaves us with Alpha and a small fleet of Whisperers outside Hilltop’s gates.

Samantha Morton as Alpha, Steve Kazee as Frank – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Where “Omega” succeeds with Lydia’s powerful character development in a severely short timeframe,  the episode befalls a repetitive theme in recent The Walking Dead episodes. It consolidates any physical action or major plot development into the final moments of the episode.

Sequestering Alpha’s own implicit character development where she decides to track down her daughter and save her (although we know Hilltop actually saved Lydia from the Whisperers), the final moments in the episode make the abrupt shift from a primarily contextual episode back to the unfolding conflict even more distracting.

Although her decision to find her daughter is still cloaked in Alpha’s canon manipulative tendencies, her confrontation with Hilltop serves as a cliffhanger for the next episode, and shock value no less.

Splitting up the episode-long backstory about Alpha into small segments throughout this episode (and beyond) could have helped ease the transition between the contextual moments in the episode to the slowly burning plot.

Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Nadia Hilker as Magna, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Sure, we’re glad to learn about the on-screen incarnations of the Whisperers, particularly Alpha. However, breaking up these flashback into smaller bits mixed in with physical drama and well, any visible action, could have helped mix up the storytelling, rather than forcing on a large chunk of flashback and context before actually showing the latest big bad’s face in clear focus.

Now that Alpha’s immediate on-screen motives are in focus, we can expect the rest of the season to focus mostly on physical and verbal conflict, seeing as Hilltop will have to make some onerous decisions.

Next. Maggie’s fate on The Walking Dead is still a big question. dark

Where Lydia subtly finds autonomy in the form of her first non-inundated decision in her adult life, she could easily wield her newfound power against the group in the future. However, we know she isn’t Alpha.

Though The Walking Dead‘s “Omega” used Lydia’s powerful character development before pivoting back to Alpha’s shenanigan’s, we still have a lot of question before going into next week’s episode.

Namely, could Alden and Luke still be alive given Alpha’s apparent mercy and compassion? And, how will Alpha and Lydia’s conflicting character developments implicate Hilltop?