How The Walking Dead’s major deaths differ from the comics


We know a certain festive-themed comic book scene was bound to turn up on The Walking Dead show at some point, but we still weren’t prepared for those deaths.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers about The Walking Dead‘s “The Calm Before,” as well as The Walking Dead comics. Read on at your own peril.

If Mondays weren’t bad enough, we’re still grieving last night’s episode of The Walking Dead. As one of the most maniacal villains settles into her role on the series, not everyone survived the fair. Clearly, Alpha just really hates festivals (among a lengthy list of other things, namely having her leadership tarnished in any way). Apart from the devastating deaths, the series changed a lot about the pike scene from the comics, and that could impact the future of the show.

You know what scene we’re talking about, and yes, we have to recap it, as hard as that is.

The show definitely teased us with scenes leading up to the lineup of beheaded community members. In the comics, the two most high-profile deaths were Rosita and King Ezekiel. The show definitely toyed with our comic knowledge, making us think Rosita’s head was on one of the pikes thanks to Siddiq’s horrified face and Eugene and Gabriel’s search for a vague person.

But per usual with The Walking Dead‘s television storyline, variations took place from page to screen and thus, these 10 people ended up on the Whisperer’s pikes:

  1. Ozzy (the leader of the Highwaymen)
  2. Alek (the second in command in the Highwaymen)
  3. Frankie (one of Negan’s former wives)
  4. Tammy (Earl’s wife and the mother of the abandoned Whisperer baby)
  5. DJ (an ex Savior, turned a member of the communities)
  6. Tara (who’s now another tally in the bury the gays trope)
  7. Enid
  8. Henry
  9. Addy (the girl apologizing to Henry earlier in the episode)
  10. Rodney (all-around teen jerk, and one of Henry’s friends)

While a few more Hilltop community members died, including a couple on their anniversary, we’re more concerned with these new faces on the pikes. We’re on the eve of the season finale, and it’s definitely noteworthy that  Ezekiel and Rosita’s comic deaths were swapped for other central characters, such as Enid, Henry, and Tara. The changes in the Fair arc could ripple into next week and the next season.

As Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang tells Entertainment Weekly, she was toying with us comic fans with the suspicious clips and panning. While Tammy also ended up on a pike in the comics, there are a lot of new faces that didn’t follow the same comic accuracy, which gives us some ambiguous potential for the start of the Whisperer War and onward.

Now that Alpha has used her heinous energy to intentionally abuse Lydia with Henry’s death, the situation isn’t just personal for Lydia. It’s personal for Carol and Ezekiel too.

They lost a son, and while they’re grieving, they’re going to want to take a stance and protect their community so this doesn’t happen again. To do so, they’ll have to take down Alpha and the Whisperers, igniting the Whisperer War.

Since the Whisperers are a much more personable threat now, Alpha’s reign might not necessarily end at Negan’s hands. The distraught survivors will probably turn to Negan, the former bat-swinging jerk, but that doesn’t mean his role in the Whisper War will follow the comic arc verbatim. If there’s anything this recent episode taught us, it’s that Angela Kang is ready to use the comic panels to create some twists and turns.

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While we personally vote that Lydia gets the powerful arc of defeating Alpha, we know her proximity to her mom would be disastrous for her and the group (plus she has a lot to work through now). Perhaps Carol will return to her former combative roots — it’d be fitting to see a Queen versus a Tyrant.

The Walking Dead season 9 finale airs next Sunday at 8 p.m. CT.