The threat is real and getting closer on The Walking Dead. It’s time to meet Alpha. Here’s our review of “Omega”!
Throughout “Omega”, we get glimpses of a past that always seems to be changing. Our storyteller, Lydia, doesn’t have a good grasp on the memories she’s relaying to Henry and Daryl. She’s completely unreliable, and before the end of the episode, we know why.
“Omega” is about Alpha becoming Alpha told by the person she’s abused longest. Her daughter.
The episode weaves flashbacks with present moments as Henry opens up to Lydia about his family, Ezekiel and Carol, and his home, The Kingdom, and Lydia tells him altered pieces of her past while fishing for more information about the communities he knows. All the while, Daryl and others take turns listening outside to glean any important information they can.
I’ve seen a few think pieces on this episode, particularly in regards to Daryl’s characterization. Some are praising The Walking Dead for allowing Daryl to be an “asshole” again. I don’t think Daryl is an asshole, though.
He cares for the people around him. His main priority has always been their protection. Since the very beginning Daryl has watched new people very closely, as well as his own group, to figure out what’s going on and their motivations.
In my opinion, he’s not an asshole for using Henry to get Lydia to talk about her mother. He’s being smart.
Through this experience with Lydia, now and moving forward, Daryl will have to face his own past. Something that was teased a bit in season five but was pushed to the backburner and forgotten in the intervening years.
Daryl, a child abuse survivor, knows another abuse survivor when he sees one. It’s why his and Carol’s bond has always been strong without them ever sitting down and hashing our their traumas. They understand each other, and they’d do anything for the other. Even come out of the woods to watch a boy who is way too naive for this world.
I say this because we only get the truth about Lydia’s early days in the apocalypse after Henry helps her escape her cell to get some fresh air that evening. Bear in mind, this girl is highly brainwashed by her mother, and the last time Henry opened up a cell with the enemy in it, nearly all the Saviors escaped.
They see someone walking and go to hide, tripping in the process. Once they’re on the ground, Lydia eats a worm and offers one to Henry, too. It’s a little bonding moment, and once the coast is clear, Henry helps her up and lets her look at Hilltop.
As he’s going on and on about Hilltop: how long it’s been around, what kind of craftsmen they have working there, how she can stay. Lydia is reaching behind her back to get a grip on a hammer. She’s fully prepared to smash Henry in the head when a baby starts crying.
This crying triggers her memories, and we see snippets of the true story of the forty-three days she spent in the basement of a building at the beginning of the apocalypse.
Daryl knew that her mother was the abusive one all along. The previous day, he went to Lydia’s cell with a switch and confronted her about the story centering around her father being abusive. Daryl tells Lydia that all of her story (abusive dad) sounds like bullshit except the part about him singing to her. So if her dad is dead, who gave her those scars?
“Why are you protecting her? Huh? You’re safer here.”
“This place isn’t real. The world changed and you’re all acting like it’s gonna change back. My mom walks because that’s what the dead do. This is their world now. What my mom does, she does for a reason.”
“She beats you because she loves you? That’s bullshit.”
Back to being outside with Henry, in these moments of Lydia breaking down after hearing the baby crying, she asks to be put back in her cell. It’s like she realizes that her mother’s way isn’t a good way.
The next morning, Daryl comes to visit with medicine again, and Lydia breaks down and tells them what they want to know.
“My mom’s not coming for me. None of them are. If someone dies or gets taken, they move on, like they never existed. It’s how it’s always been. They don’t come into contact with big groups if they have a choice.”
Lydia tells them that she was asking questions so she’d have something to give them so the group would take her back once she escaped. Henry’s shocked that a mother wouldn’t just welcome her daughter back, but Daryl ignores it and asks about the Luke and Alden since they’re missing.
In another act of honesty, Lydia says that she can’t think of a reason her mom would keep them alive. Then Daryl asks about their camp, and she says they have one, but they don’t stay in one place for long.
Henry asks about the story she told about her family, and Lydia admits that her mother was the abuser, and her mother has been twisting the truth for so long that it became the truth.
“I had it all mixed up. It was a lie. The lie wasn’t mine. My mom she told it to me over and over for years. Deep down I knew, I knew what she was. I knew what she did.”
She goes on to describe the true story of her beginnings to Daryl and Henry.
The flashback shows us Alpha, but there’s not an evolution. She doesn’t become this way slowly. Alpha has always been violent and abusive. She snaps at her husband and other members of their group. She murders one man because he was being loud. When Frank, her husband, tells her that Lydia is staying with him, she says:
“The hell she does.”
Frank leaves their little area amid screams and chaos since the man Alpha killed as become a walker, and she follows Frank. From a distance, Lydia sees her mother kill her father.
When Lydia can’t say anything else, Daryl tells her that she can stop. He knows enough.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you. I’m sorry that I wasted your time.”
Henry asks why a mother would lie to her kid about it being her fault her dad was killed, and Daryl tells him that some people aren’t meant to be parents.
“So what happens now? Can she stay here with us?”
“We’ll see. Get her some fresh clothes. I’m gonna talk to Tara about that camp.”
“Hey, Daryl? I’m glad you and my mom are friends.”
I feel like this is only the beginning for these three. Daryl makes a good, supportive figure for Henry and Lydia. The only problem with this is Alpha. I don’t think Daryl believes for one second that she won’t come for her daughter because he knows abusive parents. They need the people they abuse.
Also, during “Omega”, Tara and a group go out looking for Alden and Luke. During their search, they find a large group of walkers eating the horses that the two men at taken. After they realize that someone killed the horses before the walkers got there, they decide to go back to Hilltop and figure out what’s going on instead of splitting up.
Later that night, Yumiko asks Magna if they should go back out, and Magna tells her that they shouldn’t go against anyone here. She argues that they’ve found a good home here, and they don’t want to screw it up.
Kelly tries to tell them they could sneak out like the kids do, and that Luke would do the same for them. In the end, they vote on it. Yumiko, Kelly, and Connie vote to go and Magna just nods along with them. The decide to leave that same night.
Out in the woods, they’re talking about their choices when suddenly they’re surrounded by walkers and Whisperers. Miko sides with Magna and says it’s time to go back. Everyone agrees but Kelly. She breaks down, saying how Luke didn’t leave her. Connie stays with Kelly while the others go back to Hilltop.
The following morning, Miko and Magna approach Hilltop, and see Tara on the lookout post. When they meet at the wall, Tara tells them that her guards saw them leave so she sent them after them. In a true leader move, Tara says that the next time they want to question her decision, they need to talk to her about it and not act without knowing her reasonings.
Everything seems to be okay, they see Connie and Kelly walking back with guards, but at the same time, the Whisperers appear from the across the field. Kelly gets pulled by the guards through the gate at Hilltop and Connie runs into the cornfield to hide and avoid being seen.
The Whisperers stop at the front gate and Alpha steps forward.
“I am Alpha, and we only want one thing from you. My daughter.”
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.