Welcome to this week’s recap of The Walking Dead. After last week’s interesting ending, we’re now about to spend some time with the Whisperers. This episode jumps between flashbacks and the present day as we learn about the origins of Alpha and Beta.
If you haven’t, check out my recap of the season’s first episode right here.
So put on your surgically removed walker mask and come with me as I recap the second episode of the latest season, “We Are the End of the World.”
“I’m so sorry, mama.”
In a flashback, we see Alpha and a young Lydia make their way through a small group of walkers. Visually, you can immediately discern that Alpha has not yet perfected her disguise. Instead of a mask she and Lydia lined their faces with blood, with Alpha even throwing in a snarl here and there to fit in more closely. Lydia is wearing some ear mufflers, presumably to mask the sound of the walking dead.
They spot a woman try to escape her crashed car, but before she can she’s set upon by walkers. This is a genuinely gruesome sequence, a level of violence the show hasn’t depicted in a while. A walker tears at the woman’s face which makes Lydia scream; she and Alpha run away and make their way into a building, with Lydia profusely apologising for giving their cover away. Before Alpha can get into it, Lydia spots a man at the end of a hallway, standing straight and tall.
“We’re all monsters now.”
In the present, Beta is helping Alpha shave her head. Beta wonders about Alexandria and the rest, but Alpha assures him that they fear the Whisperers no matter where they are. We jump back to the past in that hallway, and Alpha is making one thing clear to the man, who is the man we know as Beta: if he tries to kill her, he’ll need to kill her daughter too. He allows them to stay the night, but they are never to leave that hallway in the meantime.
We’re back in the present, and Beta is leading some Whisperers and walkers to a place where they’ll be able to gather more walkers. With them are two sisters that Alpha insisted Beta bring with them. One of them is seemingly enjoying the weather and the sun, but the other one lambasts her for acting like this as she looks like she isn’t committed to the cause and to Alpha.
“I like it. The sound of the dead.”
In the past, Alpha is bathing Lydia to clean off the walker gunk they’ve put on themselves. Alpha walks off to find something for them to eat, and hears Beta humming. In reciprocation, she begins humming as well but he somehow takes issue with that and commands her to stop. He asks for her name, but she replies that the dead don’t have names so neither should the living. Those strong enough to survive know each other on a primal level, which seems to answer Beta’s question. He tells her that he’s been holed up in this building ever since the dead raided a camp of his.
We jump forward and Beta continues to lead his group. He smartly manages to distract a group of walkers and guides them into his own group. In a field, the same sister who wasn’t focusing begins to think of her baby that she was forced to abandon by Alpha in the last season, when the Whisperers demanded the return of Lydia outside the gates of Hilltop. She begins to cry, and Beta kills two walkers who notice she isn’t one of them.
At the Whisperer camp, Beta tosses the sister on the ground and commands a Whisperer to kill her. Right before they take the killing blow. Alpha demands they stop. Beta approaches her and informs her of what the sister did, of how she endangered the safety of the pack. Alpha empathises with her, telling Beta that he’ll never understand how it feels to abandon a child.
“Remove your mask.”
In the abandoned building, Alpha takes Lydia somewhere to put her to sleep. She hands Lydia her teddy bear, but she doesn’t want it. She isn’t a child anymore and wants to be strong, like her mama. Alpha lights up, she’s incredibly happy and reveals that she’s been waiting for her to say that. Alpha casually throws in a warning, that if she won’t toughen up then she has no choice but to leave her behind.
Back at the Whisperer camp, the sister enters some sort of cave that looks like the one Luke entered in The Empire Strikes Back, just as Alpha instructed to Beta earlier. She finds Alpha, who commands her to remove her mask. Alpha grabs the woman’s head which causes her to scream, but it turns out she won’t be hurting her. Alpha holds her close as she cries, and calms her.
Beta confronts Alpha, and lets her know that the sister has already unsettled the pack so it would be hard for them to trust her again. Her presence also has the others questioning the life they lead and thinking about the life they could have at Hilltop. Beta says he knows she’s been leaving the camp at night by herself. Alpha reassures him that she’ll always be where she needs to be.
“She’s Alpha. She doesn’t cry.”
In the abandoned building, Alpha walks the halls only to find that some walkers managed to find their way into the building. She kills a few before they begin to overtake her, and Beta saves her. They kill the rest of them together, with Alpha saying that she enjoys killing with him. She begins to cut them open and plunk their innards into buckets, which intrigues Beta. She calls him Big Man, or B for short, and she calls herself A when he asks what to call her. Alpha wants to convert him to her cause, asking him if he’s strong enough to walk with the dead. He violently reminds her that she and her daughter must leave at sunrise.
In the camp, the two sisters are talking to each other. The woman who encountered Alpha in the Dagobah cave sings the praises of Alpha, of how strong she is and of how she isn’t thinking of her baby anymore. Her sister reminds her never to do anything like what she did again.
The next day, the Whisperers continue to strengthen the herd. Just as Alpha and Beta’s group is about to merge with a larger one, that satellite from the sky enters the atmosphere and disperses the herd that were hoping to merge with. In the confusion, the woman that Alpha educated spots a walker with that front-facing baby carrying device, which sets her off. She removes her mask and tackles Alpha, which draws in a swarm of walkers. The woman’s sister rushes in and saves Alpha, leaving the walkers to tear her sister apart.
At the camp, Alpha asks the woman if she regretted what she did. She answers plainly: her sister wasn’t committed, and she had to save Alpha. Beta comes in and asks to be alone with Alpha, and asks her why she’s so calm despite the chaos that just occurred. They lost three Whisperers and the pack they were eying. Alpha tells Beta that there is clarity in this chaos, and that the woman she just spoke to fears nothing.
At a ceremony that night, Alpha anoints the woman as Gamma. Everybody present whispers in support, but Beta watches from the back and says nothing. Beta approaches Gamma the next day and asks where Alpha is, and she tells him that she last saw Alpha head towards their old camp. Beta goes off to find her.
“We are the end of the world.”
In the abandoned building, Lydia sneaks away and finds the buckets of walker guts. She bloodies herself up and goes off in search of walkers in the building. Alpha wakes up and follows Lydia’s bloody footprints, which lead into Beta’s domain which she isn’t allowed to enter. She enters and upon walking around finds a picture of two men, one of them wearing a shirt with a happy face. This is the shirt Beta wears in the present day. Beta appears out of nowhere and attacks Alpha despite her claim that she’s looking for her daughter. A walker walks in, and it’s wearing that happy face shirt. Alpha makes quick work of it which enrages Beta even more, but he’s calmed down by Lydia. Alpha makes her sales pitch again, asking Beta to join her in the darkness so he can never be alone again. Beta protests, saying he doesn’t want to leave the walker behind, so she hands him her knife and he begins cutting the walker’s face off.
In the present, Beta finds Alpha hanging around some sort of monument or marker that she built for Lydia. This proves that Alpha didn’t kill Lydia like she said she did, and Alpha destroys the marker as an indicator that she has moved on from Lydia and isn’t attached to her anymore. Beta informs her that smoke has been seen on the border, which means the enemy must have passed through. Alpha wants to teach her a lesson, and we end up where we ended the last episode: with Alpha and Carol staring each other down.
And thus concludes this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. In typical The Walking Dead fashion, we spend an entire episode dedicated to other characters just when things were getting really interesting with the first group. It seems that despite a change in showrunners, The Walking Dead still manages to pull the same tricks.
I enjoyed this episode overall, though. It gave some insight as to the loyalty Beta has towards Alpha, and shows that despite him questioning her decisions he’s still on her side. The introduction of Gamma should provide an interesting dynamic within the Whisperers.
Catch me here next week for my recap of the third episode of this season, “Ghosts.” Same Beat time, same Beat channel.