The Walking Dead preview: Stakes of mutual exchange


The next episode on The Walking Dead won’t feature a physical exchange for Lydia, but Hilltop’s decision will end in an implicit one later.

Warning: Depending on how The Walking Dead tackles The Whisperer War, there are some potential spoilers about the comic arc below.

Complete with her broiling sadistic indifference for non-Whisperers and her canon bald head, Alpha showed up outside Hilltop’s gates during the ending scene of The Walking Dead last week. We’re still dissecting the scene and Alpha’s chilling power move. Giving into Alpha’s demands seem simple; however, how Hilltop plans to handle Lydia’s troubling situation could change the kickoff of The Whisperer War.

As The Walking Dead‘s preview for this Sunday’s episode shows, Alpha is willing to forfeit her animosity toward civilization in exchange for her daughter’s return to the walker-mask-wearing cult. Yes, the Whisperers are a humanity-hating cult. No, we don’t take constructive criticism on that take.

All Alpha wants is her daughter back. Simple compromise. Right? Unfortunately, even the apocalypse isn’t uncomplicated.

Knowing Daryl’s stance on abuse and his rightfully protective nature over abuse survivors, we already know that he’s not going to willingly let Lydia go back to the Whisperers. However, Lydia’s alignment with Hilltop was never the blaze that really ignited the Whisperers’ war against Hilltop and company.

Negan’s first run-in with the group of nihilists arguably started the Whisperer War. In the comics, his escape from Hilltop didn’t include canine deaths, instead, it included his initiation into the Whisperers. Then, he rejected his new non-family. Then, things got bloody, which only foreshadowed a lot more bloodshed.

The way Negan’s withdrawn leadership position (offered by the Whisperers no less) led to a trade of Hilltop casualties, giving Lydia refuge from the Whisperers will enact an implicit exchange. In this case, in the form of lives because we sense the war will officially start if Lydia doesn’t return to mommy dearest. And although Alpha didn’t reveal Alden and Luke were captured by her people, we have a feeling Beta has something to do with their deceased horse and subsequent disappearance.

Though Daryl will want to keep Hilltop safe from the Whisperers, we’re confident Daryl won’t offer a kid back to this demented group. We don’t blame him, of course, but we hope Hilltop is prepared for another excessively bloody battle.

Even if Lydia doesn’t reunite with her mom, either temporarily or permanently, we know we aren’t done learning about the Whisperers and Alpha’s manipulative approach to leadership and motherhood. The Walking Dead writer Angela Kang tells Entertainment Weekly that Lydia’s reaction to a baby crying can provide an interesting reveal into the Whisperers’ troublesome customs:

"We’ll find out a lot more about the Whisperers and babies very soon. There’s an aspect related to the culture of their society that’s probably running through her mind. But I also think for somebody who’s been told the world is over, there’s no such things like communities behind walls that are safe and where people can live — all of that’s a lie, all of it will fall apart always."

We’re not sure how the live-action series will handle the Whisperers and babies, or if the series will delve into the hierarchy of abuse within the system of pseudo-walkers. However, given Negan’s unexpectedly brisk vacation outside Alexandria’s walls, we can assume Negan won’t make any Whisperers’ heads roll, at least not in the foreseeable future. Along with the former bat-wielding fallen leader’s lack of familiarity with Whisperers, Lydia’s predicament could expedite the Whisperer War.

The Walking Dead‘s most recent episode already changed some of the minor dynamics in Lydia’s newfound kinship with Hilltop, seeing as Henry is the first non-Whisperer friend she makes, unlike Carl in the comics (R.I.P. Carl Grimes). Therefore, we can expect some more minor changes in the televised adaptation, as well as a possible major change or two.

Next. Remembering some of Michonne’s best moments on The Walking Dead. dark

Our link to the next article is our not-so-subtle way of letting you know we miss The Walking Dead‘s Michonne-centric episodes. However, we’ll accept the few Michonne cameos in the second half of season 9 if that means she and R.J. will be spared, safe and happy from the approaching Whisperer War.