The Walking Dead season 9, episode 10 review: Omega


The Whisperers step into the forefront in The Walking Dead, from a glimpse into their alpha’s post-apocalyptic beginnings, to the pervasive threat they pose inside and out of Hilltop.

After Luke and Alden went missing in last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, a Tara-led search party finds their mutilated horses. They are torn apart from a “sicko” feeding frenzy. Connie notices that knives were used to kill the horses, proving that the Whisperers are involved in their friends’ disappearance. Magna’s clan wants to keep looking for Luke, however Tara shuts down the investigation in order to regroup.

Back at the Hilltop jail cell, Daryl listens in on Lydia opening up to Henry. She speaks about her parents back in the early end-time days, then Daryl is compelled to break up the teenage bonding when Henry starts mapping out the details of the Kingdom. Henry believes that Lydia is an innocent girl wrapped up in a bad situation.

When it is Daryl’s turn to interrogate, Lydia doesn’t play so nice – she attempts to go after him when he hands her a water ladle. Daryl and Henry argue about Lydia, yet realize that all three of them have had some sort of experience when it comes to domestic abuse. Henry goes back to the cell and expresses his hopefulness for Lydia by letting her out for a stroll.

They hide out in a garden to avoid being seen and snack on some worms. Henry wishes to show her how great Hilltop is, while Lydia plans to snatch up a weapon. She is incredulous that a place with doctors and families can even exist – it contradicts everything her mother taught her about the world. The sound of a baby crying triggers a slight mental breakdown and Lydia drops the weapon and heads back to lockup.

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The tale that Lydia tells and retells Henry and Daryl modifies when she comes to terms with the past. She first remembers her mom singing to her when she was scared and her father startling her. But that was her twisted version of her childhood – her father would soothe her, and her mother was the intimidating one, who would use forceful means to harden her daughter. Daryl caught Lydia’s lies when he spotted bruises on her arm.

Lydia would imagine her father trimming his beard, when it was her mother who shaved her head after the fall of humankind, and for very different reasons than Henry’s mother – Henry told Daryl about his mom’s abusive husband who would rope her in by her hair. Lydia also initially recalled her father’s noble death when he stepped in front of a zombie to save her, but it was really her own mother who took advantage of the reanimation chaos to kill her dad.

In the present, the four women who came to town with Luke are worried about his fate and vote to sneak out and look for him in the middle of the night. When they cross a solo sicko, Magna and Yumiko decide to head back, although Connie and Kelly can’t bear to return for a second time without their friend. Unfortunately, they are being spied on by a clandestine Whisperer.

When Yumiko arrives back in the morning, she explains her regretful actions to Tara. Tara demonstrates her open-minded leadership by asking for discussion rather than distrust. The Hilltoppers are bringing the pair of sisters back to the community, with Yumiko watching from atop the gate. Through binoculars, she also sets her sights on a pack of Whisperers heading straight to the town. Connie is lagging behind and needs to hide as the guards pull Kelly inside to safety. Alpha announces herself and her intentions of reclaiming her daughter.

Weekly Walkaways

  • Anyone who watched Minority Report in a dark theater knows that Samantha Morton has the ability to induce spine-chilling feelings (that scene where she eerily warns Tom Cruise to run). The difference as Alpha is her stone cold demeanor. Even her first kill when she smothers a panicked lodger while scolding him to shut his mouth is ruthless. The only off-putting part about that shot is how she managed to suffocate a man shortly after digging her arm in his neck.
  • Henry and Lydia’s spontaneous snack is the closest Walking Dead will ever get to a Lady and the Tramp homage. The gender roles would be reversed in this scenario, but there is definitely a romantic undertone when Lydia sucks the worm clean of dirt before Henry takes a bite.
  • As Lydia speaks about her past to Henry and Daryl, the nature of honesty is explored when Lydia is shown to state falsehoods about her family dynamic. Whether someone can be trusted is consistently touched upon in the show when our protagonists are faced with newcomers. There is an extra layer in play with Lydia because she seems to be burying the truth about her mother from herself.
  • Building on those themes, we can take the question of Lydia’s trustworthiness further from the viewer’s standpoint. The episode’s progression suggests that she is turning a corner, but what if opening up to Henry and Daryl is also just an act? We don’t know her well enough to simply accept that her apparent remorse is true. The last thing she says is that her mom wouldn’t bother coming for her, but that is exactly what happens in the final seconds.
  • The MVP of “Omega” is Alpha for Samantha Morton making a surprising and impactful first impression. Because of the distorted storytelling perspective, she plays Lydia’s mother in opposite states during the flashback yet the reality of Alpha is just as unsettling and terrifying as before we put a human face to the fearsome leader.

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The Walking Dead returns next week with “Bounty” on Sunday, Feb. 24th at 9:00 p.m. ET on AMC.