The Walking Dead recap: Beta's origins confirmed
The Walking Dead finally peeled back more of Beta's mask in season 10.
Ever since season 5 of the Fear the Walking Dead spin-off, fans have been speculating that the hooded brute was more than just some crazed killer Alpha met once upon a time. In the episode "Today and Tomorrow," Daniel is out with Grace gathering supplies. He assembles a crate full of vinyl that he hopes to share with Charlie, but when they encounter dead on the road, he spills them over the road. We get a glimpse at one of the album covers, which showed a bearded man in the likeness of actor Ryan Hurst, who plays Beta on The Walking Dead. Hurst stayed mum on the character's backstory for some time, but with the episode "Look at the Flowers," we get confirmation that Beta was a country star before the outbreak.
Before heading into the woods to be alone with just her thoughts and a hallucination of Alpha, Carol plants the head of an adversary on one of the Whisperers' boundary markers. Beta approaches with two henchmen and promptly unravels. He feeds Alpha's walker head flesh from one of the Whisperers as the other runs off frightened, and then whispers sweet nothings to her as he cradles what remains of Alpha in his arms. He follows what he believes are instructions from decapitated Alpha and heads into a nearby hotel. He finds a room with guitars propped up on chairs and a healthy music collection.
We don't get flashbacks to Beta's time rocking out on stage, but a poster for one of his live shows reveals he was in a band called Half Moon. And they must've been pretty good because next to Beta's picture is the descriptor "the legend himself." One of his more famous songs was about how "the Devil sure liked to gamble" and drinking beer when "the Devil just smiled." Although the sight of guitars initially sends him into a tizzy, he plays his record for his new audience — the audience of the dead — and he weeps with joy at the sight of a crowd (even a dead one) mosh-pitting and reaching for him.
In his isolation, and mulling over a note he found that read "these 2 eyes see 1 truth," he sews together a new mask: part his original mask (which we gathered is the flesh from someone he knew previously who turned) and part Alpha. He then marches his new undead fan base towards... you can probably guess where he's taking them.
A few other big moves happened over the course of the episode. For one, Eugene finally revealed to the group that he's been in contact with Stephanie and needs people to come with him to meet her. Yumiko and Ezekiel take the lead, though the journey affects Ezekiel deeply, forcing him to face his mortality and the cancer that will eventually take his life. The trio doesn't make it to their destination by the end of the episode but they end up in a city. (A shot of them approaching on the highway mirrors Rick's horseback ride into Atlanta in season 1.) They had previously seen two walkers trapped in a cage along the road, but when they enter the city itself, they find more of them chained to various posts. One sits in a scooter, two more are holding cocktails in a restaurant, a walker palm reader sits outside a psychic shop. It's all like some sort of twisted amusement park. Around the corner, they meet the person who presumably did all this and she greets them with a little too much enthusiasm... while holding a machine gun.
This, as comics readers know, is Princess. Her real name is Juanita, but she dubbed herself "Princess of Pittsburgh" because Queen made her sound too old. On the page, she's an ally to our heroes and eventually comes to live with them in Alexandria. She's also someone whom Eugene and company meet on their way to meet Stephanie, which translates pretty much the same on the show.
But the episode's title is called "Look at the Flower," which is a line Carol once uttered in season 4 before she put Lizzie out of her mental misery. A large part of the episode is about her. As she told Negan, throwing his own words back to him, "I need to be alone and s--- like that takes time." Like Lizzie was back then, Carol has now lost her way. Is this something she can come back from or should she follow the advice of Alpha and just "look at the flowers"? This is something she tries to figure out on her walk through the woods, where she is attacked by one walker and then finds herself trapped in a cabin when the roof collapses on top of her. Alpha taunts Carol with the memories of everyone she's lost (including Sophia and Henry) and everyone she's put in danger (including Connie). A walker crawls up from the nearby riverbank and sets eyes on Carol. The time has come for death, Alpha says, but Carol summons her strength and breaks free from the rubble to save herself. She wants to live. She wants to come back. With that revelation, Alpha vanishes.
During this time, Negan has been quivering in his boots. Without Carol to confirm to everyone that she tasked Negan with killing Alpha, he can't return to Alexandria. He goes back to the cabin where he stashed Lydia only to find that she escaped and instead Daryl is there with a loaded arrow in his crossbow. Still wary of Negan, Daryl leads him to the spot where he says Alpha's head remains. It's not there. As we mentioned, it's off palling around with Beta. Daryl goes back on the offensive, but they are accosted by a group of Whisperers who are calling Negan their new Alpha for slaying the former one. He puts on a show for them, forcing Daryl to kneel before him and twirling a shotgun around, but he and Daryl team up to kill the Whisperers. The two aren't exactly friends now, but they are on good terms. When Carol finally does return to Alexandria, Daryl (and presumably also Negan) is there to greet her.
AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.