“Stalker” was both the theme and the title of this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, and for an episode a week after the mid-season premiere, it was surprisingly action packed.
Beta invaded Alexandria with a vengeance, Daryl was in danger and Lydia finally made her return. And all of this had us biting our nails for the entire hour. There were several people who cold be considered the “stalker” in this episode – Alpha, Beta, Lydia and even Daryl when he was watching the Whisperers in the cave entrance.
Rosita is Over It
Can we take just a moment to once again appreciate how badass Rosita is? She lost Siddiq only a few days ago, and is still out there doing what needs to be done to keep the community safe. The only difference now is she is not here for any Whisperer bullshit.
Someone on Tumblr made this amazing gifset of all the looks Rosita was serving up this episode. And props to her for recognizing that she would freeze out in the field, but also telling Gabriel that his is being erratic and needed to get a hold of himself. We stan the strong woman that is Rosita.
And that moment at the end of the episode when she introduced herself to Mary officially was telling – she can indeed forgive a former Whisperer, if they prove themselves worthy.
Gabriel does seem to be going a bit off the rails when it comes to torturing Whisperers, and that shot of him through the cell bars with just his fake eye showing was pretty chilling. When he handed Rosita his hat before leaving, it felt like we may not see him again. But he turned out to be okay. For now.
Beta’s Wild Night
The entire storyline of Beta entering Alexandria to find Gamma was terrifying. We hated Dante before, but the fact that he probably helped put those secret tunnels into the community makes us want to spit on his grave.
The Walking Dead is really amping up it’s horror elements this season – to it’s benefit. Beta coming out of the grave, the lights going out before he attacked, him being a stalker throughout Alexandria – it was all designed to increase our heart rates. And it worked.
Beta’s plan to sneak into houses, kill lots of people and use them as Walkers to attack their own neighbors was actually a solid one – but also the things nightmares are made of. If you could say anything about the Whisperers, they certainly come up with very stealthy plans that no one sees coming.
He is so dedicated to Alpha’s cause, and not willing to listen to what Gamma had to say at all. In fact, his determination to follow Alpha’s orders and bring her in alive made him stop himself from killing Rosita when Gamma threatened to kill herself.
The big question is whether that confidence will waver when he learns that Alpha did the nasty with Negan (and it was nasty).
Daryl and Alpha’s Near Death Experiences
While the episode did not have any Carol in it, it did have plenty of Daryl. He found another entrance to the cave in his mission to learn what happened to Connie and Magna. The unexpected fight between him and Alpha was intense.
Then there was the chase afterwards, with Alpha playing stalker and also drawing some Walkers to his location.
We legit feared for Daryl’s life a few times. But bleeding out and alone is now how he deserves to go – and Lydia agreed when she showed up to save the day.
This episode really tested patience when people were all debating whether or not to believe Gamma and send help, and Daryl is bleeding to death. Or when Lydia and Alpha were having their reunion. He’s dying, girl. Talk with your mom another time! On thing we learned from this episode is that we are not ready for Daryl to die – ever. Watching him bleed so much was not cool.
Alpha’s declaration that pain made her, made Lydia and made Daryl was not totally incorrect, but the difference is the type of person that pain turned them into.
Daryl Dixon grew up in an abusive home and could have turned out like his brother Merle, but he has showed us time and again that he will protect those he loves and serve the greater good. Which is why Lydia chose to save him – she wants to be a survivor of pain like Daryl, not her mother.
So, Lydia has been basically been a stalker in the woods this entire time – watching each side to determine which to join. We’re still not over the fact that she probably knew Dante the whole time he was in Alexandria, but she gained a little favor by saving Daryl.
Lydia asking Daryl if he would have killed his own father in the same situation was a great reminder of what the two have in common and why they are connected so well. Lydia was already a wedge between Daryl and Carol, so her return might not be great for them since their relationship is in a bad place right now.
A Tale of Two Daughters
There was an interesting connection between Judith and Lydia this week. Judith gave Gamma that wonderful line about meeting the wrong people first, and if she had met her mom and dad instead, things would have been different.
In the very same episode, Lydia comes to save Daryl from her mother, who is also bleeding out and hallucinatory. Alpha encouraged her daughter to take her place as the Whisperers leader, but Lydia told her mother that her way was not the only way. She cut ties with Alpha for good.
So in the same episode, we see Judith embracing what her parents taught her and doing the right thing by being kind to the Whisperer, despite what others say…then we have Lydia rejecting her mother’s teachings and doing the right thing by saving Daryl.
Who couldn’t help but love Judith even more when she shot Beta to save her brother and Gamma while he was the stalker in their house. She is the perfect mix of Michonne and Rick and we love watching her grow up before our eyes.
Now that Lydia is back with the group after her time in the woods – will she fully commit to the Alexandria crew now? And how will things change now that Alpha has lost the one thing tethering her to humanity – motherhood?
A war is coming, whether we are ready for it or not.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.