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Sunday, March 3, 2019

[RECAP] Season 9, Episode 10 of The Walking Dead, "Omega"

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Episode 910 of Season 9 of The Walking Dead entitled “Omega” explores the weakest link in the Whisperer group.  Is the weakest link Lydia (the young girl captured and in the cell)?  Is it her father?  Or is it her mother (the apparent leader of The Whisperers, those that mask themselves to blend with the walkers)?  This all explored through a series of flashbacks and discussions from Lydia to Daryl and Henry on a particular incident at the point where the apocalypse first started.

We come to find out that Lydia and her parents were part of a group of refugees that sought shelter in the basement of some sort of building in Baltimore.  It’s about 23 days into the apocalypse, according the radio they have in their possession.  We see the story unfolding based on Lydia’s very shaky memory and account of what she was told by her mother, which inevitably begins to crack.  From her recollection, she recalls her father being abrasive and stating that he wanted them to get out and try to fend for themselves.  Lydia’s mom is portrayed to be a defender of their family and insisting that they shouldn’t go out there, but rather worry about Lydia’s well-being.  The father is portrayed as being menacing and intimidating, a man who felt his wife was weak and now that he world had fallen apart, he wasn’t going to do things just to please anyone (including his spouse).  Meanwhile, Lydia is sheltered from all this by her mother who sings to her, plays checkers with her and holds her…or does she?

We are back at the cell and realize that Lydia is talking to Henry about her past…at least what she can recall.  They share confidences and Henry speaks to her about his past (King Ezekiel and Carol as his adoptive parents, specifically), going as far as to boast about The Kingdom.  Lydia wants to know more and presses for more information to which Henry is only happy to provide, even goes as far as practically giving away the kingdom’s address.  It’s at this point that Daryl runs down, pulls Henry from the cell and tosses him out.  He completely lays into him how careless he is to be sharing the whereabouts of the kingdom with a stranger that could put his family in danger.  Careless and naΓ―ve Henry gets it (finally) and they both go down to the cell to continue to speak to Lydia.  Daryl sincerely tries to reach out to her (literally, by offering her antibiotic for an ear infection and water) but she instead attempts to attack him through the bars like a feral cat.  At the point that he grabs her arm, he notices lashings/markings that indicate that Lydia’s being beaten.  He tries to inquire about this, shedding some light that he’s very familiar with this, but she’s resistant. 

Daryl at this point gives up and heads back up but Henry is quick on his tail.  He tries to ask him about his past and if he himself had any personal experience with beatings and/or abuse, but Daryl is stoic.  Henry presses on, however, and offers a sad piece of information/story: He tells Daryl that his mother (Carol) once had very long hair but her ex-husband used to beat her and grab her by her hair and throw her against the wall.  After that, she cut her hair super short, so that could never happen again.  It’s taken years and years for her to truly feel safe and comfortable again to grown out her hair, without the fear of it being used against her.  He finally thanks him for being Carol’s friend and walks off.

Beyond what we learn about Lydia and her mom, this scene right here is so deeply enlightening and saddening at the same time.  We’re given more insight to the level of abuse poor Carol had to deal with before the apocalypse as well as glimpses to the fact that Daryl has also dealt with his own level of abuse, although he is very tight lipped on the details.  It is no wonder that Daryl and Carol have a depth of friendship that is way more relevant and significant than any romantic pairing could ever be.

But back to young Henry:  He continues to get to know Lydia and goes as far as RELEASING her from the cell one night, to give her a tour of The Hilltop.  They walk in the moonlight, they eat worms together (gross) but we definitely get the impression that while Lydia is amazed by what Hilltop has achieved, she is still contemplating what she needs to do to escape (hence, the hammer to almost takes).  It’s at this moment, however, that she hears a baby crying in the distance.  Someone is standing outside holding a baby, trying to pacify them.  This sound, for some apparent reason, strikes a sort of PTS reaction in Lydia, so much so that she begs Henry to bring her back to her cell.  Yikes.  That cannot be good.

The next day Daryl is back to the cell and this time Lydia is far more passive and open to what he has to offer her (again, water and medicine).  This time she willingly takes it all and also begins to sincerely open up and we start to revisit her jumbled memories and things start to become more and more clear.

It seems that Lydia’s mother has been feeding her a story (a lie) for years about what occurred in that basement in Baltimore.  As we revisit Lydia’s memories, we find out that it was Lydia’s MOM who wanted to leave the basement and take their chances out there, it was Lydia’s MOM who shaved her head (because now that the world was over she was going to do what SHE wanted to do, husband be damned), it was Lydia’s MOM who choked a man to death in the basement who was trying to escape and finally (and sadly), it was Lydia’s MOM who killed her husband when he wouldn’t fall in line with what she wanted to do.  

From that point, she took Lydia with her and doomed her to a life of living among the dead with masks of dead walkers.  Their group use the dead as a cover and they protect the dead as much as the dead protect them.  Lydia tells them that she doesn’t have any expectations on her mother coming to look for her because it is not the way of the Whisperers and once someone is killed or missing, they as a group move on very quickly.  Unfortunately, when Daryl asks about the potential whereabouts of Luke or Alden, she says that she doesn’t have high hopes that her mother would keep them alive.

It’s at this point that the newest members of the Hilltop have returned from their foolish mission to try and find their missing comrades.  Magna and Yumiko are back behind the gate but Connie and Kelly are being escorted in, since they chose to hang back longer in an attempt to find them.  Suddenly, a group of 10 – 12 masked walkers, Whisperers, have arrived at the gates of Hilltop, waiting to be seen.  As in the trailer for the second half of the season, we see a stocky woman push her way through.  She stands there and stares down Daryl and the Hilltop with a face and expression more frightening than any walker mask could incite.  She declares that she is Alpha and that she means no harm and there is only one thing they have that she wants: Her daughter.

So does Daryl hand over Alpha’s daughter Lydia to a life of abuse?  And what’s happened to Luke and Alden?  Look like we’re about to find out.   


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