Alpha's victims reveal how they really felt about being killed off, as the showrunner defends some of the choices.
Fans of "The Walking Dead" are likely still recovering from Sunday night's bloodbath of an episode, one that claimed the lives of 10 characters in brutal fashion -- and the actors who played the victims were also caught off-guard.
Echoing the comic books, Alpha infiltrated the big fair, kidnapped a number of its attendees and then decapitated them. She then stuck their zombified heads on spikes for some of their friends to find, marking the edges of her group's territory.
Though major characters like a very pregnant Rosita and Ezekiel were killed off at this point in the source material, the show switched it up by taking out Henry, Enid and Tara instead. Tammy (Brett Butler) died the same way in both mediums.
Speaking with EW, Alanna Masterson said she learned Tara's fate only two weeks before filming, though showrunner Angela Kang said she warned everyone to know their cards could be up when the season began.
"I was caught off guard for sure, but also excited for what the future holds," said Masterson. "Tara has been extremely fun to bring to life."
"It was really fun to explore that side of Tara," she added of the character's leadership role at Hilltop after the time jump. "I wish we had gotten to explore that more, but I'm excited to see where the story goes from here."
She said she'll also miss the cast and crew, who she called her "home away from home," and added she'll "forever cherish the bonds we formed." Looking back, Masterson said she'll also "miss the heat, the hours, and the challenges."
"Honestly, I was surprised that it wasn't anymore series regulars other than me and Alanna," she explained to The Insider. "Because when we first discussed it in the beginning of the season, it had sounded like there was going to be a lot of big people with their heads on pikes, but I was honestly kind of surprised that it was just me and her out of all the series regulars. I thought there was going to be more."
She told the publication that the actors who play Ezekiel and Rosita, Khary Payton and Christian Serratos, also thought they'd be axed "up until the episode came out for all of us to read."
Looking at her storyline during Season 9, Nacon expressed some disappointment in how Enid was handled near the end.
"At the beginning of the year, I thought it was going well with her learning how to be a doctor and everything," she said. "But I was a little bummed out with the second [half] of the season of her just kind of being pushed down into a love interest role." Nacon's character was paired with Alden (Callan McAuliffe) after the time jump.
"Yeah, I was a little bummed because my storyline still carried, or centered around someone else's character," she added. "It's sad that you have a really strong independent woman character on your show already, but then, you put her storyline so focused on a man."
As for how the show decided who to kill off, Angela Kang explained what went into the choices, adding that Butler knew Tammy's fate when she signed onto the show.
"You know, there were so many conversations about it, because it's really hard to decide who dies, and any time there is death on the show, sometimes it's just story-related, sometimes, as with Andy [Lincoln], it's because there's a personal factor. There are contractual things. There are all kinds of things that go on," she told EW. "In this case, we love all of our actors. Some of the people who are on those pikes, we knew from the time we cast them that they were gonna be on the pikes. We specifically cast Brett Butler as Tammy knowing that she would wind up in that array. And we told her that at the time we cast her."
Regarding Tara, Kang said it made sense for her to go because, "as the leader of Hilltop, who Alpha really has a beef with, there's some sort of sense and a feeling of retribution specifically with that death."
The season finale of "The Walking Dead" airs this coming Sunday on AMC.