Both the Hilltop and the Whisperers entered this week’s The Walking Dead with bargaining chips in their back pocket. Lydia’s incarcerated status didn’t keep her from delving into the bloodstained origins of both herself and her mother, Alpha. Trauma has an ability to warp the memory though. Maybe Lydia recalled those childhood events clearly. More likely, a combination of misinformation and gaslighting was enough to make a child wear a mask derived from walker skin. Either way, a mother always comes after her child.
Faith of Youth
Henry and Lydia remain locked up together at the Hilltop. Their friendship grows enough for Lydia to feel comfortable sharing her past with him. Lydia was trapped in a building with her father, Frank, her mother, Alpha, and a group of survivors during the initial outbreak. Alpha comforts Lydia as Frank begins going stir crazy, urging them to evacuate their hideout. The mention of her mom prompts Henry to tell her about Carol, labeling her as someone you don’t want to mess with. Lydia pauses her escape attempt to say the same about Alpha.
Lydia questions Henry’s motive for getting to know her. Henry just wants to pay the kindness he received forward, but Lydia isn’t so trusting. Henry tells her about Ezekiel and the Kingdom before Daryl enters and releases him from his cell. Daryl rips Henry for telling Lydia about the Kingdom but Henry lashing out at Daryl for eavesdropping and using him. Hilltop’s latest advisor shows little care and dismisses Henry before returning to the jail.
Too Messed Up
Daryl questions Lydia about Alden and Luke’s disappearance, prompting her to tell Daryl about Alpha murdering another survivor that was going to give away their hiding spot. Daryl sees the act as admirable and offers her pain medication as an olive branch. His attempts to cultivate a relationship are dashed when Lydia tries to attack Daryl through the bars of her cell. The attack doesn’t work but does expose the countless bruises on Lydia’s arm. Daryl recognizes them as signs of abuse, partially due to his own history as a victim. She reveals that Alpha is responsible for them.
The moment brings Lydia back to the moment where Alpha turned. The body of the man she killed reanimates and goes after Lydia until Frank stops him, taking a chomp to the neck in the process. Lydia labels her father as weak despite his actions and tells Daryl that he belongs with her kind. Henry tries to convince Daryl that Lydia isn’t like the others in her community, but Daryl isn’t hearing any of it. He labels Lydia “too messed up” and walks away from the situation
Henry’s stubbornness is commendable. The actions that trait influence aren’t so much. He sneaks back into the jail and frees Lydia in order to give her a tour of the grounds. She shares a small worm snack with Henry before trying to grab a weapon. Alpha always told her places like the Hilltop aren’t supposed to exist but a screaming baby stops Lydia cold. The truth about her past comes rushing back, causing her to realize that Alpha was the abusive parent that devolved into violent madness. She tells Henry to put her back in her cell and asks Henry to stay the night with her. Henry lays next to her as the two hold hands through the bars of her cell.
Daryl returns the next morning to find Lydia more cooperative. She doesn’t believe anyone is coming for her as the Whisperers are nomadic. Daryl learns of Lydia’s true past, including the fact that Alpha murdered Frank. Lydia’s mother told her the other story so many times that it became the truth. She apologizes for wasting Daryl’s time, but Daryl doesn’t accept it. She didn’t waste his time at all.
Ride or Die
Tara’s initial search for Alden and Luke is cut short as the crew wants to be overly cautious in how they approach this new enemy. Yumiko, Magna, Connie and Kelly aren’t satisfied with this and plan to sneak out of the Hilltop that night out of loyalty to Luke. Their search yields no results, but Connie and Kelly refuse to leave the woods. Yumiko and Magna make their way back only to find Tara waiting for them. She asks Yumiko to come to her next time as they’re all learning on the job after Jesus’ death.
Tara’s guards make their way back with Connie and Kelly in tow as the Whisperers approach the Hilltop’s gates. Connie hides in the corn stalks as Alpha makes her way to the front of the group. She introduces herself and demands the return of her daughter.
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