Don’t mess with Beta.
The episode begins with Beta arriving at an RV, where he’s greeted by two Whisperers. They move one of the chairs and Beta drops into an underground passageway, where he’s greeted by another Whisperer hands him a lantern. With that, Beta begins his journey.
We return to Alexandria where, after Rosita has a nightmare about a Whisperer possibly killing Coco, we see that the Safe Zone has a visitor: Gamma. She unmasks herself, but the community already knows that she’s the one been meeting with Aaron. Gamma tells them that the people sent out are trapped in a cave with Alpha’s horde. Yeah, the horde moved from a field to a cave. Go figure. Alpha can move things.
Gabriel, naturally, is skeptical, and doesn’t believe everything that Gamma is selling. But Gamma wants to help because she wants to see the baby left at Hilltop: her nephew. As for the baby’s mother, Gamma reveals that she died. That’s all she reveals for the moment. Gabriel asks if Gamma can point out the cave’s location, and she can.
Seems easy enough, but Rosita and her limb-looking arms give Gamma a good punch to the face. She demands that Gamma be put in a cell. Look, Walking Dead, we love Rosita, but stop trying to convince us that-you know what? Never mind.
Over in the woods, Daryl stalks the Whisperers when he spots Alpha leading a walker herd out of a cave entrance.
So Gamma awakens in the cell, where she’s interrogated by Gabriel and Rosita. They won’t hesitate to kill her and while Gamma is telling the truth, Gabriel- a man of God, mind you- knows that she’s hiding something. He tells Gamma that he killed the last Whisperer held in this cell- this same man killed Coco’s father two days ago. Ah, so a mere two days have passed since Siddiq was killed. Got it.
Anyway, Gamma confesses that she killed her sister for Alpha, who didn’t even have to ask- Gamma just did it. Well, that’s good enough for Gabriel.
Daryl goes on the offensive, picking off a few Whisperers and battling Alpha, going as far as putting a thick branch right through her shoulder blade. However, this, you know, attracts attention from nearby walkers, so he’s forced to fend off both them and Alpha, but she manages to slash at his face, leaving him seeing red.
Gamma shows the Alexandria council the cave’s location on a map. The new weapon sets are ready for the survivors to use, just in case. As for the border, it’s clear since it’s too long for Alpha to defend. Most of the patrols will be in the cave.
As Gamma is taken back to the cell, Rosita is still skeptical. Gabriel, though, tells Laura, Rosita, and Scott that they have the advantage. He knows they’re hesitating because they fear the Whisperers, but he brought Gamma in for the others to see that the Whisperers are cowards. If Gamma can be broken, so can others.
If other Whisperers are caught, Gabriel says that they should not be killed, but merely cause enough pain to get them to drop the act. Hot damn, I don’t know where this new Gabriel came from, but I like him. A lot.
Alpha arrives at a gas station that time forgot as she continues her search for Daryl, who is hiding and injured. Alpha, also injured, bangs her gun against a wall, drawing some walkers her way…
Gabriel and Rosita prepare for battle, with Gabriel noting that she seemed off in the meeting. He suggests that she stay and guard the gate, saying it’s not smart for her to be out in the field. Rosita promises that she won’t freeze. Besides, she tells Gabriel to worry about his own erratic shit. She flat out says that Gabriel is itching for a fight and…well, yeah, he is. He proudly admits that.
Rosita can feel that Coco is wondering where Siddiq is, and that’d be a tough conversation to have.
Between Negan and now Gamma, I’m going to assume that Judith just decides to chat up anybody who winds up in the cell, because that’s exactly what she’s doing right now. She asks Gamma her real name- which we already know is Mary- about her life before becoming a Whisperer. Again, tough shit, because I’m going to call you Gamma. Anyway, Gamma’s originally from Santa Monica, California.
This will all be on the quiz later.
Apparently Alpha has a way of making you forget. There are echoes and feelings of her past life. When shit went crazy, Gamma and her sister made bad decisions, but they needed someone to make the call for them. So Alpha did. Well, Judith believes that if Gamma met her mother or father, she wouldn’t be in that cell.
Judith, Rick is God knows where, so he’s not part of this equation right now. Judith believes that Gamma doesn’t look like a monster. It helps that she doesn’t have on her mask. Whether this is genuine or all an act on Judith’s part, I don’t know, but Rosita tells her to get inside because they’re about to go on lockdown.
Three walkers make their way to the gas station. As they bypass Alpha, they go for Daryl, who makes quick work of them with a fire extinguisher and the blade in his leg. But because he’s forced to pull out that blade in order to use it, the bleeding quickens.
Back in Alexandria, Laura radios to the others on the size of the herd, but radio communication is choppy. Scott wonders why a herd would be sent now, but hey, the Whisperers have a defector giving them information. This herd would stop them. They’ll have to split up to cover both gates, which means less people in the open.
But Gabriel has another idea: Laura and Rosita will stay back and defend the gate with a skeleton crew. He and Scott, meanwhile, will take a squad to the outpost to deal with the herd and then move onto the cave. Rosita isn’t annoyed by this news. She knows that she could get herself killed, as she’s been having nightmares about the Whisperers.
The two kiss before parting ways, with Gabriel promising Rosita that he’ll see her soon. You’re not supposed to say that, Gabriel.
Night falls in Alexandria, and when there’s no more room in Hell, Beta shall walk the streets. He emerges from a grave and makes his way from house to house, killing any and all residents he sees and waiting until they reanimate. At the same time, the fighters outside the walls don’t spot any sign of a herd- just a battle gone wrong.
It’s at this point that Gabriel realizes that the majority of them are outside the walls, while only a skeleton crew remains at home…
While the fighters at home go into action, Beta heads down to the cell and confronts Gamma, who says that Alpha lied about what this place is. Still, Beta tells Gamma that Alpha is her leader. More than that, Gamma was dead the moment she came to the Whisperers. He opens the cell and tells Gamma to step towards them, as Alpha wants her and promised that her death would be painless. If she fights, though, it will not be.
Gamma, though, believes that all Alpha wants is her and that Beta is lying on her behalf. Gamma, the man said step forward. Don’t make this difficult. She claims to not be afraid of Beta, but we all know that’s bullshit.
Never mind, this. Laura arrives with a spear and tries to be a hero. She tells Gamma to go get help, but that could be her undoing, as Beta easily makes quick work of Laura and puts her down for the count. I don’t know how Laura expected this to turn out.
Beta rushes into Michonne’s home, where Gamma is hiding with Judith. He searches the home and, when trying to open a locked door, gets a surprise bullet in the chest, courtesy of Judith. Sure, why not? But this is Beta. Of course he planned ahead- he’s wearing armor. When Judith and RJ leave, Beta attacks Gamma and then moves onto Rosita, making short work of both.
Before Beta can finish Rosita, though, Gamma threatens to cut her own throat. Alpha does want her alive, remember?
Out on the road, Beta tells Gamma that she will inevitably walk with her sister again. This ends up being a ploy so Gamma can draw Beta out into the open for the survivors to attack him, but he manages to escape.
Alpha and Daryl are still recovering. She unmasks herself and, at the sound of Daryl’s breathing, asks if he can see through the darkness and into the light. Of course he can’t. She’s tingling with joy because the Watcher brought her. Pain made her, as it did Daryl and Lydia, but Daryl counters that Alpha lost Lydia because she didn’t love her.
This gets under Alpha’s skin and she tries to make her way towards Daryl, but stumbles and falls. Sometime later, she sees Lydia kneeling before her. She’s glad that her daughter apparently came home, as they are one in the same.
She pulls out her blade and tries to encourage Lydia to become ready by killing her. The Whisperers are waiting for her to lead, after all. But Lydia isn’t here for them or her mother. The people she’s with now- they’re human, not perfect. That’s all she ever wanted and what Alpha never gave her.
Day breaks as Alpha awakens and finds her blade next to a message carved in wood: “Your way is not the only way.”
Scott shows Gabriel the grave that Beta dug out of it- this was Dante’s doing. The scouts are saying that the Whisperers sealed off entire sections. The two are surprised to see a solemn Aaron return. He informs them that they got separated, but most- not all- of them got out.
Rosita will be heading with an entourage to Hilltop to get patched up, and Gamma will be joining her. No discussion yet on Laura or any of the people that Beta killed, but sure.
Elsewhere, Daryl awakens and learns from Lydia that he’s been asleep for most of the day. Lazy. He asks if Lydia killed Alpha, but of course she couldn’t.
Too bad, because Alpha tells her followers that she is now stronger than ever and the horde will destroy the survivors.
“Stalker” kicks things off fast with Beta slowly making his way towards, as we find out, Alexandria. Coupled with Gamma’s arrival, Alexandria preparing for battle, and the cave team still separated, this was a better-paced and, for my money, much better overall episode than the midseason premiere.
Much of that has to do with the fact that tensions are high. We’re in Alexandria for the bulk of the episode and everyone is still reeling from the very recent death of Siddiq and Dante’s betrayal. I figured more time would have passed since then, but I guess not. What I enjoyed about the Alexandria segments was the conflict. Everyone already knows that the Saviors are a huge threat, yes.
Where everyone still differs is the approach. Gabriel is one extreme and it’s an extreme that I happily welcome. Someone has to make the tough decisions, after all. We’ve slowly seen the pastor become more and more assertive, but he takes it to another level here with his measures on breaking the Whisperers.
Through Gamma- and I suppose Lydia- the survivors see that the Whisperers aren’t all in line with Alpha, so a breakthrough is possible.
I also enjoyed the dynamic between Gabriel and Rosita. Like Siddiq and countless others, Rosita isn’t one to mince words and gets right to the real shit. She’s right that Gabriel is being a bit extreme, but she’s not exactly arguing against it, either. Plus, she knows that she’s still second-guessing herself, even more so in light of Siddiq’s death and the nightmares that she’s now having.
Now that I think about it, that’s even more tragic when you consider that both Siddiq and now Rosita have had Whisperer-related nightmares.
Given what the Whisperers have done and are still doing, yeah sometimes you’re gonna have to pull teeth or break some fingers. The survivors are no stranger to harsh tactics to get their prisoners to talk. Plus, aside from getting slugged in the face by Rosita, Gamma doesn’t come under any actual harm from the residents. They distrust her, but that’s to be expected.
As we’ve seen with Aaron, Gamma is more than ready to talk. By this point, she knows that Alpha wants her head, so her life is practically forfeit anyway. Her nephew is already at Hilltop, so she’s got nothing to lose by helping the enemy. I did like her brief talk with Judith when she opened up, but given that we’ve already seen Gamma open up to Aaron, the scene wasn’t really needed.
With Beta entering Alexandria, we already know that he’s a force to be reckoned with, but this just emphasized how effective he can be on his own. By infiltrating the Safe Zone, he manages to disrupt things and kill off a few survivors with much more efficiency than the Saviors or Wolves could. That’s all without needing backup.
Plus, the scenes had just the right amount of tension as we watched Beta slip from one home to the next and make quick work of some random Red shirts. Seeing Beta stalk the homes in search of Gamma was great to watch and, for my money, I could’ve gone with more of that. Hell, cut out Judith making small talk with Gamma altogether and just give us more of Beta kicking serious ass.
I mean…did you see how he just walked through Rosita and Laura? How is Laura doing, by the way? That was a pretty brutal hit that she took and I won’t speculate on her fate, but I have to imagine that she’s not getting up after Beta knocked her around so easily.
Still, Beta is out there with the confirmed knowledge of Gamma’s betrayal, Gamma is headed to Hilltop, and Alpha is more confident than ever, so things can only get worse for the survivors.
They certainly did for Daryl in most of the episode. Plot armor or otherwise, he’s gone up against the top two Whisperers and lived. But like his battle with Beta, I like that, for a change of pace, this battle wasn’t easy for Daryl. It helped that he wasn’t just fighting Alpha, but him seeing red due to his face being cut, coupled with Alpha drawing walkers to their location meant he had to fight harder than normal.
Alpha remains as resourceful as ever, but she still shows some vulnerability around Lydia. Despite what Alpha did to Henry, among other things, she believes she can still turn her daughter around. At this point, it’s downright delusional, but she’s dead-set in her way being the only way. But Lydia is too far gone. She’s reformed and while she may hate her mother, she still can’t bring herself to put her down for good.
That could end up being her undoing now that Alpha’s resolve is clearer than ever. How will the survivors contend with the massive herd that will no doubt be heading their way soon? What of the rest of the survivors separated during the cave escapades? Plus, is Gamma on limited time now that she’s switched sides? Overall, “Stalker” was a solid episode and I’m curious to see where things go next.
Until then, see you all next week.