Three regulars were killed off in the latest episode, setting up some very interesting dynamics going forward.
We're diving straight into serious spoiler territory for Sunday's new episode of "The Walking Dead" today. If you haven't watched yet, this is your last chance to turn around!
Alright, you've been warned ...
Our favorite survivors scored a major win in the Whisperer War tonight, as a secret partnership led to the takedown of their biggest foe: the one and only Alpha.
That's right, the bald Whisperer queen was taken out in brutal fashion by Negan in "Walk With Us," in a move that echoed the source material comic series, with a twist. Since it's easily the biggest moment of the night, we need to start here.
Though Negan and Alpha had nasty, skin mask sex a few weeks back, it was clear as crystal these two weren't on the same page at the very top of the hour. Following the siege on Hilltop, the two surveyed the damage -- with Negan killing walkers instead of having them join her horde.
While they wreaked havoc and sent the survivors scrambling, Alpha didn't consider their attack a victory, because she didn't have "everything I want," meaning Lydia. Beta vowed to catch her, but it was Negan who came through, conveniently running into her in the middle of the woods.
Alpha believed she was going to see her daughter in a remote cabin, letting Negan know she intended to kill her when they got there. Despite her plan, he tried to talk her out of it, arguing Lydia would be the perfect trainee to take over someday -- not Beta. He also spoke with her about his wife's death and how it made him an emotionless killing machine.
"Now me, I am dead to this world. But you, you are pretending," he told her. "You think it makes you strong to say emotions aren't real, that we are animals. That is bullshit and you know it and now you claim you have to kill your own daughter, your own flesh and blood." Alpha said it was Lydia's destiny to be killed, saying, "I have to do it because I love her."
As this conversation was happening, the show kept cutting back to Lydia tied up in a chair, struggling to break free. We thought Negan was bringing Alpha to the cabin her daughter was in, but when Alpha opened the door, it was empty. It was then that Negan slashed her throat and watched her bleed out. Collecting her head, he was later seen throwing it at Carol's feet. Her response: "Took you long enough."
This all but confirms Carol was the one who let Negan out of his Alexandria jail cell, setting off a plan for him to infiltrate the Whisperers and take out their leader. While Negan kills Alpha in similar fashion in the comics, he did it of his own accord there -- and used her murder to try and prove to Rick he was a good person and could be trusted.
With Alpha officially out of the picture, Beta will likely step up as leader of the Whisperers -- and be very angry about his boss' death.
Speaking of Beta, he had quite the night too. While out looking for Lydia, he ran into Mary/Gamma, who had just proven herself trustworthy to Alden and Kelly by rescuing them and baby Adam -- her nephew -- from a group of walkers. As she was basking in her success, Beta popped out and stabbed her in the gut.
"You will walk with us," he said to her. "Never!" she shouted back, clawing half of his mask off. With that, he stuck a machete through her stomach, killing her. With half of his face exposed, he was recognized by another Whisperer who told him his "voice sounded familiar." This confirms the fan theory that Beta was a famous musician before the zombie outbreak, one who was drying up in rehab when everything went to hell. Clearly not wanting anyone else to know his true identity, Beta then killed the guy who recognized him.
Alden put zombie Mary out of her misery, as Beta ran off.
So Mary's dead, Alpha's dead ... but there's still one more death we need to talk about from the episode: Earl.
After the attack on Hilltop, Earl and Ezekiel were responsible for getting all the kids out of town safely. Somewhere along the way, Ezekiel became separated from the group, leaving Earl to fend for all the children. He got them to a safe house, but not without getting bit first himself.
After assuring the kids everything would be okay, he went off into another room and devised a contraption to kill himself with. Before he did the deed, he had a conversation with Judith, calling her "strong" and "brave" and telling her it's her job now to keep the other kids safe. After he failed to kill himself in a way that would prevent his reanimation, that means Judith had to put him down.
Between putting down a loved one and realizing she killed a Whisperer, not a walker, earlier in the episode, it was a rough one for Judith. Thankfully, Daryl found the children and comforted her.
In other developments, Magna found her way out of the cave, confirming Connie got out too before they were separated. Also, Magna and Yumiko split for good and had a laugh about it, Yumiko punched Carol in the face for putting her now-ex in danger and Carol convinced Eugene to go meet Stephanie.
Before closing out this recap, can we give props to the actors leaving us tonight. Jonn Finn brought heart to a character who had been through hell and back. Samantha Morton was a straight up beast playing Alpha, giving the show a villain unlike any who came before her. And while we didn't get a lot of time with Gamma, it was great to have Thora Birch back in our lives with a fulfilling mini character arc.