By Dalton Ross
February 21, 2019 at 11:00 AM EST

Reunited and it feels so… awkward? On last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Lydia told Daryl and Henry that once she was left behind, the Whisperers would not allow her back into the group. But then, at the very end of the episode, there was mama Alpha at the Hilltop demanding her daughter back. Say what?

This sets up a very intriguing dynamic in terms of why Alpha is breaking the Whisperers code, if the Hilltop will release her daughter, and if Lydia even wants to go back to being beaten and wearing a super-gross zombie skin mask. We know how it all plays out in the comic book, but what will happen on the TV adaptation?

We spoke to Cassady McClincy, who plays Lydia, all about the most recent episode and what to expect at next week’s big reunion. (Also make sure to check out our episode Q&As with Samantha Morton, Norman Reedus, and showrunner Angela Kang.)

Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We got a lot of flashbacks to Lydia and Alpha right after the apocalypse in this last episode. How does this backstory that we see inform who the character of Lydia is now?
CASSADY McCLINCY: The way the story is constantly changing is kind of an effect of her mental issues by being raised by a mother like Alpha. She has PTSD and those incorrect memories. They are a huge result of that. It shows just how messed up that she is. And she also is trying to figure out her morals and what’s good and what’s bad, because her mother is her mother and that bond between mother and daughter is perpetual and everlasting. But, at the same time, she’s a horrible person. So, I think she has trouble deciphering between good and bad.

That’s interesting you say that. Because we see in this episode how Lydia tells Darryl that her mom gave her those bruises on her arms. But I imagine that’s normal to Lydia because of the way that she was brought up. In regular society, we would be horrified by that, but for Lydia, is that just normal for her?
Yeah, I think that’s just how she was brought up. She thinks it’s normal. She thinks that that is helping her become a stronger person. That’s what she’s always been told by Alpha. And I think the rest of the Whisperer group has the same views and mindsets. But I feel deep down she knows that it’s wrong, especially after seeing the way that the civilization works at Hilltop.

There’s that scene where she asks for water, and Darryl puts the ladle through and she then tries to attack him and spits at him. Why does she do that when he first is trying to give her the water?
I think she’s just terrified. She doesn’t know. And she doesn’t think that Alpha is going to come and save her. She thinks if she was in the same situation with the Whisperers, she would probably be dead by now. She thinks the worst is going to happen being in that cell and that’s her only option, to fight to get out.

When Henry takes her outside the cell, and she picks up that hammer, what is her plan there?
She just saw it and it was a split second of “Now is my chance to save myself.” Because I don’t think she completely trusts her opinion on what’s good and bad. Even if she feels comfortable and safe. And if she feels like Henry is the real deal and not trying to hurt her or whatever. I think that there will always be some lingering distrust with herself. When she grabs that, that’s her plan, is to maybe whack him — to keep herself safe and just run away.

The last thing with we see in this episode is Alpha showing up and saying, “The only thing I want is my daughter.” We’ve seen Lydia be worried about “How will I be accepted back into this group?” Now the group’s there. They’ve come to get her. So what is her reaction going to be then when she finds out that her mom is outside those walls?
When she finds out that Alpha has come to get her, it’s definitely a shock to her. And there may be some unpleasantness. But also maybe hope. Unpleasantness, as in maybe she doesn’t want to leave Hilltop. Maybe she starts to like it there. Or hope, as in maybe her mom risked everything to come get her, because that’s against the rules of the Whisperers to risk their safety just to come get one person. Maybe like that’s a sign of love to her. We’ll see.

For more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

  • TV Show
  • 10
  • TV-14
  • Frank Darabont
  • AMC
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