Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday's episode of Tales of The Walking Dead, titled "Dee."
First, we saw what Alpha was like before she was Alpha, as a wife and mother named Dee fighting for survival in a crowded basement. Then we saw how Alpha met her trusted lieutenant Beta.
However, Tales of the Walking Dead gave us a third Alpha flashback installment on Sunday night, and it revealed not only more of the story of pre-Alpha Dee (Samantha Morton) and her daughter Lydia (Scarlett Blum), but also the origins of the Whisperers — a group we learned was not, in fact, formed by Alpha.
One week after airing the franchise's first ever comedic outing, Tales returned to much more familiar ground with an episode that showed Dee and Lydia working and living on a steamboat run by an attractive and peppy people-person named Brooke (Lauren Galzier), who had taken Lydia under her wing. But when the ship's bartender proved to be a spy and brought along others to take the boat by force, Dee attacked two of the intruders — creating a diversion for her and her daughter to escape on a dinghy, even as her diversion ended up killing others.
Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC Samantha Morton and Scarlett Blum on 'Tales of the Walking Dead'
When Dee later found Brooke back on land and Lydia implored her not to kill the former riverboat leader, Dee instead gruesomely sliced Brooke's face with a knife telling her, "This is my mark. And everywhere you go, I will be there reminding you of how you failed my little girl."
But the biggest sign of Dee's future as Alpha was yet to come. At the end of the episode, mother and daughter came across a group of people speaking ever so softly and walking like zombies with walker masks over their faces. When Dee asked the group's leader what they wanted, she was told, "I'm Hera. Don't speak. Whisper." And was then prompty knocked out.
Not only does this revel that Alpha did not invent the Whisperers, but it also raises more questions as to the identity of Hera and the role she played in turning Dee into Alpha, especially after the final shot showed Alpha talking to what appears to be Hera's disembodied head, saying "That was the end of Dee. And the beginning of me. And then I met you. And you showed me love."
Will we see more of Dee's transformation into Alpha? Will we learn more about Hera? And have we seen the last of the now disfigured Brooke? We whispered those questions and more to Tales of the Walking Dead showrunner Channing Powell.
Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC Samantha Morton on 'Tales of the Walking Dead'
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You wrote the first Alpha flashback episode on The Walking Dead, so what was it like for you to go back and fill in more of the gaps?
CHANNING POWELL: It was really interesting for me, because I am a mom, and I became a mom working on The Walking Dead. And when you're dealing with this world week in and week out, you can't help but wonder, "What would I do in this situation with my children? How would I navigate this world? What would I do to protect them?"
And so I was approaching it from that perspective of, how can you explore motherhood in this world in a way that's not alienating to viewers who are not mothers, but also resonates with people who do have children or are parents, or have the responsibility of looking after somebody else in this world?
I will admit that I thought of more of a story for Alpha. We thought of a broader mythology beyond just this one episode, because we wanted to hint to what comes before and after. And I just was thinking, "What inspires somebody to become a villain?" And we tried to work backwards in that way.
Alpha is so specific to her world and so entrenched in it, so I wanted to put her in a world that was completely alien to her. I really like fish out of water stories. I really like watching characters have to adapt to a situation that they're not comfortable with or not used to. So we tried to think of, "What would be the oddest place that we could put Alpha that's not in a Whisperers camp?" And we came up with a boat.
What's the time frame in terms of when this whole story happens in relation to the basement stuff before it and meeting Beta after it?
Yeah, it's neatly tucked in there. And then for the larger mythology, should everything work out and we ever film with actors' schedules aligning, we do have her meeting Beta right after this story.
Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC Samantha Morton and Lauren Galzier on 'Tales of the Walking Dead'
This face slicing scene of Brooke is maybe the most gruesome scene I have ever watched on any Walking Dead show.
Thank you so much.
Were there discussions on how far you could go and how much to show of that?
In my mind and in the world, Brooke's not dead yet. And I just really loved the idea of Brooke being so defined in the non-walker apocalypse world. She's such a presence and she's beautiful and she's smart and she has everything going for her. And she tries to continue that into the walker apocalypse. She tries to make it feel like it's not happening. And I wanted something that would not only shatter her world, but shatter her image of herself. And I thought a huge scar across her beautiful face would make her approach her life in the walker apocalypse a little bit differently after this.
I was going to ask you what happens to her, and you said you think she's still alive dealing with this. Is that something we could maybe see in a season 2 or down the line?
I would honestly love to see that. I have plans for Brooke and I have plans for Alpha. So that would be a dream of mine, should we get a season 2 or beyond.
Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC Hera on 'Tales of the Walking Dead'
What can you say about this group at the end and this woman Hera who finds Dee and Lydia?
Obviously, that is the origin of the Whisperers story. And they do take Dee and Lydia into their community, which is different actually from the Whisperer camps that Alpha turns the Whisperers into. Their community is very different. Their community is a little bit more human than the way Alpha runs the Whisperers. And Hera is a really compelling, interesting lead in somebody that Dee is very, very intrigued by — not just in terms of her being a leader, but in terms of her being a potential romantic interest.
Is there anything you could say in terms of what ultimately happened to her? We see that head and Alpha's talking to it.
I cannot give away what happens. Obviously, it's The Walking Dead. Tragedy befalls everybody at some point. But whatever happens causes Alpha to turn into the Alpha that you know and love from the show.
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