The Walking Dead recap: Beta gets his own mini slasher movie
While Daryl goes off to find the entrance back into the cave to save Connie and Magna, and Gamma pleads her case to Gabriel and Rosita, Beta prepares to unleash terror on Alexandria in a sequence that evokes a certain famous masked serial killer from the horror movie genre.
It begins in the light of day. Beta walks to a single mobile home in the middle of an open field, something that looks so clearly out of place. Inside are two Whisperers waiting for his arrival. They open the lid to a hole that drops Beta down into a tunnel beneath the ground. He lights a lantern and begins his walk, one that will take him all the way to Alexandria. It's a tunnel, Gabriel and the others will later theorize, that was set up by Dante during his time infiltrating their community, and it carries Beta all the way inside their walls. By nightfall, he arrives, thrusting his arm out of the dirt and digging himself out of a grave, the exit point of the tunnel. He unsheathes his blades and the night of horrors begins.
Earlier in the day, Gamma/Mary arrived at Alexandria and the town is on the defensive. At spear point, she warns Gabriel and Rosita that Daryl and the others are trapped in a cave with the horde, but there are conflicting details to her story that Gabriel just doesn't believe. She reveals her nephew is the baby the Whisperers left behind, but he senses she's leaving something out. So, they place her in the cell and press her for more information. When she admits to killing her sister for Alpha, her tears convince Gabriel of her honesty.
Gabriel, however, is becoming erratic. In front of the Alexandrian council members, his rage bubbles over as he urges everyone to torture every Whisperer they see. Pull teeth, slice fingers, he says. Do whatever it takes for them to drop the act. Gamma was the act. Mary, now working with Alexandria to chart the location of the cave on a map, is reality. King-hearted Judith is the only one who treats Mary like a human, sitting by the window of her cell like the child did for Negan once upon a time. With Dante and the death of Siddiq still so fresh in their minds, Rosita is still trying to figure out if any of what Mary is saying is real. Rosita still wakes in the middle of the night from nightmares of Whisperers sneaking into her room to kill baby Coco. She can't trust what she sees half the time.
It becomes real for her later that night.
A radio S.O.S. reaches Alexandria from a watchtower two miles out, warning that the Whisperers are sending a herd their way. Rosita and Laura hang back with "a skeleton crew" (foreshadowing what's to come), while Gabriel takes the others to break up the walkers before moving on to the cave. When they reach the watchtower, however, they realize it was just a trap. The Whisperers led them away from Alexandria to leave them with little defenses.
There's a moment in 2018's Halloween where, during a night of trick-or-treating, Mike Myers calmly walks from home to home in the suburban town. The camera follows him as he enters one house and slaughters its residents before moving to the next home and the next. The camera work in The Walking Dead's "Stalker" episode bears a similar style. It tracks Beta slipping through homes to kill as many as he can so they may then rise again as his own personal army of the dead. With Rosita and Laura busy fending off these walkers, Beta makes his way to Mary in the cell. Laura gets the jump on him, holding Beta at ax point while Laura runs off to get help. But, in a scuffle, Beta appears to kill Laura by sheer brute strength.
He pursues Mary, who's now hiding in Judith's home with her and A.J. The silence and shadows of the scene enhance the tension as Beta tiptoes throughout the house, sussing out his prey. That's when Judith shoots him through the door and is able to escape with A.J. Of course, like Mike Myers himself, one bullet isn't enough. Beta was wearing a bulletproof vest. He grabs at Mary's legs, tripping her and slamming her head into the floor, stunned. But now he has to face Rosita. The two spar in the shadowed hallway and bedroom, bringing her past nightmares to life. It looks as though Beta will claim her life, too, but Mary stops him. She puts a knife at her own throat and threatens to kill herself, which would mean Beta failed Alpha. They leave quietly and walk back towards the Whisperers' camp when Gabriel's group cuts them off, forcing Beta to flee into the woods. The next day, Rosita leaves baby Coco with Gabriel as she departs for Hilltop for medical attention. She brings Judith, Aaron's daughter, and Mary with her. The paranoia dissipates and she seems to welcome the reformed Whisperer into the community.
Daryl, meanwhile, has his own horrors to face.
He finds the cave entrance but there are too many Whisperers for him to safely enter. He then sees Alpha leading walkers out of the tunnel in a single-file line. He tracks them to a creek, where he attacks. He first takes out the guards and then deals a blow to Alpha. But with so many walkers encroaching upon them, Alpha cuts at Daryl's head, blurring his vision with all the blood dripping over his face, and planting her knife straight into his leg.
Alpha chases Daryl to a gas station, where he's slowly bleeding out. She, too, is becoming woozier by the minute. So, she clangs her rifle against the wall, luring walkers to her side to suss out her prey for her. Daryl, unable to lift himself from the ground, fends them off but passes out. Alpha, too, becomes unconscious from blood loss. They both come to that night when Lydia arrives. She's been watching both Daryl and the Whisperers from afar, trying to decide what she wants to do. She speaks with her mother, who, even on her deathbed, doesn't pass up a chance to chastise her daughter for calling her "mamma." Lydia has a chance to kill Alpha. Alpha even puts the knife in her hand. But she can't bring herself to do it. Lydia tells her she didn't come for her, she came for Daryl.
Daryl wakes up the next morning and finds Lydia nursing him back to health. When Alpha comes to, she finds a note from Lydia, carved on a wooden table with her own knife: "Your way is not the only way." The Whisperers finally reach their leader and tend to her, but the pain is only making her more feral, more insane. Pain, she had said before, is what made her, what made her daughter. Now, it has transformed her into "the end of the world."
AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.