Mystery role from 'The Mortal Instruments' star Kevin Zegers revealed.

By Nick Romano
April 22, 2018 at 10:02 PM EDT
Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

Two new characters have revealed themselves to the shared cinematic universe of The Walking Dead. We’re still piecing together why Alicia, Nick, Victor, and Luciana are without Madison and terrorizing strangers on the road — including Morgan — but one of these new faces seems to be an ally in the making and another seems to be the latest villain.

Jenna Elfman — if Dharma went on an apocalyptic walkabout — plays Naomi. Much of her background is largely unknown, other than she used to be a nurse before she began moving from place to place since the outbreak began. She seems cool.

Kevin Zegers — from Mortal Instruments — plays the other. Mel doesn’t seem to be a villain we’ve heard about in the comics before, at least not on the surface level, but he’s the leader of a group called the Vultures. Their thing appears to be finding new people and then hovering close by until they either submit or die. Then, living up to their name, they swoop in and scavenge all their supplies. This is also the group behind those mysterious banners Al found lingering around the area.

We still have lots more questions, but let’s see how they fit into the grander scheme at play.

We don’t pick up with Madison and the others directly after the season 3 finale. We still don’t know how Madison reunited with her family after Nick exploded the dam, we don’t know why she forgave Victor’s betrayal, we don’t know what became of Proctor John, we don’t know how Luciana came back into the picture, and we don’t know how they found their latest safe haven. There’s a lot we don’t know.

What we do know is that they’ve been living with a group of people — including themselves, that makes 47 total — inside an abandoned baseball field for some time. (A man gets on the loudspeaker to commemorate 365 days “in the Diamond.”) They are all in a routine of daily chores to maintain the stadium, but it seems safe with consistent food, water, and supplies.

Madison is on the top lookout post, trying to get information out of a young girl named Charlie. It seems she lost her parents and is too traumatized to talk about what happened. It takes a little coaxing and promises of turning the Diamond into Charlie’s new home, but the girl eventually points in the direction from where she came.

The others are enjoying breakfast — Victor is even flirting with a new prospect named Cole as he pours maple syrup on their plates — when they hear Madison hammering away in the dugout. She stayed up all night trying to build a home for Charlie. Alicia is a bit concerned, but her mother is still prepared to go out on their scheduled run. Nick is out in their community garden inspecting the turnips with Charlie. The food is beginning to go bad and he doesn’t know why, though he assures Charlie they will soon have enough supplies so they won’t have to leave the stadium for anything.

Madison, Alicia, Victor, and Luciana are planning their run with two other community members, Viv and her husband (I think it’s her husband, that part wasn’t clear), but also go in search of Charlie’s missing parents, the direction of which happens to be outside their designated search zone. A circle drawn on the map marks the border they all agreed to never cross. This is a special case.

They have a system for leaving the stadium: They use a pitching machine to fling an explosive baseball onto the parking lot to distract the dead long enough for their cars to drive out. Nick doesn’t want to go on the run; he doesn’t want to leave the stadium at all. Madison mentions to Luciana later as they’re driving, “You weren’t there when I found him, Lucy. He just needs to feel safe right now.” Victor also refuses to bring his admirer on the trip, condemning Cole to lookout duty. (Recap continues next page)

On the road, Nick radios them on the walkie, revealing the garden has a weevil problem (the same problem The Kingdom’s garden had on The Walking Dead). But quickly, they drive too far out of range and their communications are cut off. They soon find an abandoned town. All the food and supplies have been “picked clean.” Even the lightbulbs have been snatched and the town is completely void of walkers, which is odd. Madison and Alicia branch off to search the area, spotting a flag from above with the number 457. Just around the corner between three large tanks is a car marred by explosive scorch marks. This is where they believe Charlie came from. They find a small can of opened food, so Madison radios for everyone to be alert in case someone is still around.

During a side conversation with Luciana, Victor mentions Madison saved him from “down there” and he doesn’t know why she decided to help him after what he did at the dam. Luciana suggests he ask Madison.

At the Diamond, Nick finds Charlie fiddling with the walkie, which he takes to mean she’s worried about the group’s safety. The girl says she knows they’re out looking for her parents, but Nick tries distracting her by helping with the weevils.

As Madison and Alicia split up to cover more ground, she spots a massive hole ripped out of one of the tanks by some sort of explosion. When Alicia radios to Madison to see if she found anything, Naomi gets the jump on Madison. Holding a gun to the back of her head, this stranger tells her to remain quiet and to hand over the keys to their car. Madison already has a plan in place for situations like this: She discreetly handles the walkie to send three short blips to the rest of the group as a signal that she needs help. While the calvary is ready to roll in, Madison tries talking down this woman. She says they took in a girl named Charlie to their colony, but while Naomi seems visibly affected by the mention of a kid, she says she doesn’t have any children.

As she prepares to run off with Madison’s gun and keys, Alicia, Luciana, and Victor approach. Naomi is spooked and runs up to the top of a nearby tank. Madison and Alicia follow to try and calm her down, but Naomi steps too far back onto a weak spot and falls through the ceiling, plunging into some sort of oil or tar. Then they find out where all the walkers in town have gone; they’ve been herded into these tanks. Madison jumps down to help Naomi fend them off, while Victor and Luciana force open the hatch and everything inside spills out. Later that night, as they’re all cleaning off and sitting by the car, Naomi reveals some of her story and that she doesn’t know who dumped all the walkers into those tanks as she’s just passing through.

Nick, meanwhile, is starting to worry. While burning the infected turnips, he hears a strange classical melody playing in the distance beyond the walls of the stadium. He goes to Viv and her husband and suggests someone go out to inspect in case it’s a sign for help from Madison and the others. They want to remain inside, but Nick feels he needs to check. So Charlie opens the gate and he drives out in a car, only to become stricken by PTSD. He sees flashes of him pressing the detonator and flames swarming the dam. The walkers batting their limbs at the car window exacerbate his symptoms and he crashes into a lamppost. Cole is able to snipe some of the walkers from above so Nick can leave the car. That’s when Madison and the others drive up for the rescue. (Recap continues on next page)

Once inside, Madison tries to ask Charlie about the people who left the town in its current condition. She remains silent and Madison agrees to talk about it later. She then goes to Naomi and offers her a place within their community, teasing a hot shower is waiting for her. Victor and Viv’s husband are out pushing Nick’s crashed truck back to the Diamond with Cole in the driver’s seat. Cole is chatting with Luciana, in the sniper’s perch, over the walkie about wooing Victor, when she spots something in the darkness.

She tells them to ditch the car as a caravan of vehicles starts driving up. The trio get back inside and mobilize their weapons with the others.

Now lined up along the wall, they all watch as a man hops out of one of the cars and mounts a bike. He presses a button on his stereo, which starts playing the melody Nick heard earlier: “The Blue Danube Waltz.” He rides around the parking lot, drawing the attention of the walkers, and lures them all into one of their trucks. He then labels the vehicle with a fresh piece of cloth and spray paints it with the number 12. The man joins the others, who have all pulled out coolers of beer and folding chairs, and are just sitting in the parking lot…waiting.

The gates open and Madison walks out to speak with their leader, Mel. She recognizes their flag, but according to him, they didn’t destroy the people of the previous town. He had warned them that if they situated themselves between those tanks and the bleeder valve became jammed, it would mean their end. Those people didn’t listen to Mel, but he hopes Madison will when he brings up Nick’s name and his weevil problem.

It turns out Charlie was a plant who’s been feeding the Vultures information, including how many weapons and ammunition they have. She’s the one who has “a real knack for finding the good stuff.” Mel assures Madison they don’t take anything from anyone — “anyone that’s alive” — but he proposes they give up all their supplies and maybe even join their group, or the Vultures will wait until they die before taking everything. Madison stands her ground, explaining that they’ve lived Mel’s life before and have found a better way to live. He counters with a warning: “You just haven’t been tested yet.”

The next morning, Madison is still affected by Charlie’s betrayal. She’s forced herself to keep building the home in the dugout and the rest of the group come out to support her. Luciana, meanwhile, carries the book she had gotten from town for Charlie and brings it to the girl.

Now it’s back to the present and we have more clarity. It seems Mel’s promise came true. Luciana finds one of the Vultures’ flags in Al’s truck and thinks they are part of the group, but Al assures them they don’t know anything about the Vultures. Perusing through Al’s camera proves their story, so Alicia and the others pile them all in the vehicle and command they direct them to where they found the flag.

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