AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 9, Episode 10: “Omega”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Channing Powell
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Adaptation” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Bounty” – click here
Go back to Day 23 of the zombie outbreak. Things were frantic. Radio transmissions still told people what to do. We meet the woman who’ll become Alpha (Samantha Morton). She and her husband Frank don’t see eye to eye. She attempts to keep her daughter Lydia safe and happy as much as possible.
In the present day, Lydia (Cassady McClincy) sits in her dark cell across from Henry (Matt Lintz). They talk a little. Outside, Daryl (Norman Reedus) listens hoping maybe he’ll hear something important about the Whisperers. All we know is Alpha’s got a dark past.
In the woods, Tara (Alana Masterson) and a group go searching. They find walkers feasting and approach with caution. The crew take out a few each once they know for sure there aren’t any “masked ones” lurking. They take no more chances: Tara orders everybody back home to regroup.
Back to years before. Alpha didn’t want to leave where they were staying, but Frank was determined to go. She didn’t want to risk things with their daughter out there. Dad seemed volatile. Alpha refused to go anywhere. She was starting to get fed up with her husband’s negativity around Lydia. She started to wonder if he might get violent.
Daryl busts into the cells when Henry’s discussing too much about the Kingdom. He scolds him for telling Lydia anything about their communities. Henry feels a little “used” for being listened to down there. Mr. Dixon goes back down to speak to the girl again. He asks about the “skinned and eaten” horses and their missing friends. He wants to know if her mother’s a killer.
Back to Day 43 of the outbreak. Alpha was keeping a lid on the people left while some were freaking out. One guy made too much noise, so she had to kick the shit out of him. She didn’t like people who were weak. She went a bit too far, cracking the guy’s neck in front of everybody while trying to shut him up.
Magna (Nadia Hilker) has trouble keeping her friends from rushing off to find Luke (Dan Fogler), who remains missing with Alden (Callan McAuliffe). They refuse to sit around and wait. Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) is leading the charge, alongside Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Kelly (Angel Theory). They’ll risk being kicked out of the Hilltop in order to do what they can for their friend.
When Lydia tries attacking Daryl he notices scars on her arm. He tries to convince the girl to live with them in a regular society. She’s brainwashed into thinking being beaten means her mom loves her. We see more of earlier in the beginning of the outbreak. A zombie just about got Lydia and Frank stepped in, saving his daughter, taking a bite to the neck. “I deserved to die,” Lydia tells Daryl now, calling her dad “soft.” She was taught weakness means death. Daryl knows different. He was beaten, too. He’s a survivor. He didn’t let himself become an abuser. All the same, he wants to give up on the girl, and Henry tries convincing him otherwise.
Magna and her friends come upon a horde in the dark. They have to keep quiet, using ASL to speak to one another like they do with Connie regularly. They all care about each other so much. Connie particularly feels indebted to Luke, not wanting to leave him out there. Shitty for them that there’s definitely Whisperers near— waiting, watching.
Henry unlocks Lydia from her cell. Oh, no. He takes her up out of the basement and they sneak around together. They trip over in the dark, then she eats some worms out of the dirt. They’re from two vastly different places in life. He hasn’t had to scrounge for food like her. She’s completely cool with chewing worms. Henry eats one without hesitation. Only moments later Lydia’s about to knock Henry out with a hammer when she hears a baby crying. It takes her back to the just after the outbreak. Her mother abused her, yet Lydia continues to tell herself: “She‘s a good person.” All in spite of being forced to wear the dead skin of walkers. Maybe Lydia wants to be the good person her mother couldn’t be— THAT’s the true strength, not a weakness.
Next morning, Lydia tells Daryl nobody’s coming for her. The Whisperers keep moving on if someone disappears or dies. They try to stay away from larger groups, unless there’s no other option. Lydia’s sure her mom won’t be coming to get her. She recognises her mother’s group as toxic, even if she convinced herself different for a long time.
What really happened back after the outbreak was Alpha wanted them to leave and Frank was going to stay in the shelter with Lydia. Alpha killed her husband in front of her daughter. He was never bitten by a zombie— a lie mom told her daughter until Lydia was old enough to figure out the truth.
Tara and Yumiko reconcile after the group sneaked out. When Connie and Kelly are heading back they’re followed by a horde of Whisperers heading straight for Hilltop. Alpha doesn’t wear a mask, revealing her face to everyone. She introduces herself to the group and asks for her daughter back.
“Some people ain’t meant to be parents”
DAMN! Good setup to start getting heavy into some action now in the upcoming episodes. Morton is a gift for this series. An amazingly talented actress. It’ll be wild to watch the coming battle(s). Nice to see Daryl taking things over. It’s a compelling contrast to think of leaders as parents, particularly in relation to Alpha as a horrific mother and Daryl as a more tender surrogate father + other mother/father figures amongst our survivor group.
“Bounty” is next time.