After an explosive mid-season return, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” begins its 10th episode of the season with an ominous cold open. Whisperer heavy hitter Beta (Ryan Hurst) slinks to an abandoned RV in a field, where a secret door in the floorboards reveals an entrance to a vast network of underground tunnels. The villain marches through the underground caverns and it’s unclear what the masked man has planned. As this episode reveals, The Whisperers are even more cunning than ever anticipated. These are the five most tense moments of “Stalker.”
Rosita (Christian Serratos) awakes from a nightmare in a cold sweat. She can’t shake visions of Whisperers trying to kill her baby. So she is not happy to be summoned to Alexandria’s gate where Gamma (Thora Birch) is turning herself in. Gamma lets everyone know that the group who went hunting for the zombie herd are in trouble, trapped in a cave by Alpha (Samantha Morton). She offers to point out the location on a map and is brought inside, but Rosita lets out some aggression by knocking Gamma out cold and locking her in a cell. Gamma later wakes up surrounded by Dante’s bloodstains on the floor. Gabe (Seth Gilliam) plays hardball with her, not fully believing her story. When Gamma observes his collar and asks him to ask God if she’s telling the truth, he barks back “I spoke to God and he told me to hang you.” Stunned, she tearfully admits to killing her sister for Alpha. Gabe finally believes her story.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) stalks Whisperers in the woods, and soon spots Alpha leading walkers out of another entrance to the mine. As she and her team make their way to a river crossing, Daryl makes his move. Arrows and knives fly as Whisperers fall. He slashes at Alpha, knocking her shotgun away. The two enter a swift and brutal knife fight, with each landing critical blows. Daryl knocks Alpha to the ground and stabs her with a tree branch, but she is able to lodge her knife in his leg. As walkers stumble towards the bloody pair, Alpha is able to stumble away and grab her gun, forcing Daryl to retreat.
Trouble in Paradise
Rosita is clearly not totally on board with Gabriel’s aggressive attitude toward The Whisperers. But Gabe believes Gamma is telling the truth about the cave location because he was able to break her so quickly. That’s precisely why he wanted his community to see her, to realize that The Whisperers are all cowards. “Start pulling teeth and taking fingers” he seethes, and they’ll drop the act. But when the search parties are about to leave, they lose radio contact with a scouting team. Fearing that Rosita will once again freeze in the face of danger, he tells Rosita to stay behind with Laura (Lindsley Register) to monitor Alexandria with a skeleton crew. Rosita loathes the nervous state she is in, but admits that she thinks her nightmares are killing her and affecting her ability to stay focused. The good father tells her not to worry, gives her a passionate goodbye kiss, saying “I’ll see you soon.” Generally speaking, saying something like “I’ll see you soon” guarantees that those characters most definitely will not see each other soon, or ever again. Don’t you know the rules of this show Gabe?
As night falls, Beta reveals where his underground adventure was leading him. The hulking beast crawls his way out of Dante’s grave, inside the walls of Alexandria! With most of Alexandria’s guards out looking for the lost group, Beta sneaks into various houses and dispatches a groups of helpless Alexandrians in their homes. He kneels as if in prayer, as his new “guardians” rise up around him and shamble into the streets. Beta uses this chaos to break into the jail to kill a defiant Gamma. But Laura comes to her rescue pointing a large halberd at Beta’s neck. Laura orders Gamma to run for help as Beta battles the former Savior. He snaps her weapon during the fight, before hefting her into the air and smashing her skull against the iron cell bars.
Judith (Cailey Flemming) ushers Gamma upstairs to hide. Beta starts sniffing them out as he stalks the house, but Judith shoots him in the chest allowing time for her and RJ to flee. But Beta springs to life to grab Gamma and pull her to the ground (somehow this man of the woods found a bullet proof vest). Rosita is drawn to the commotion and makes a stand against Beta. She fares better than Laura, slashing him across the stomach, but she too becomes overpowered by this hulk of a human. Before Beta can deliver a killing blow, Gamma holds a knife to her neck threatening to kill herself. “Alpha wants me alive,” she teases, “step towards me.” Gamma successfully draws Beta outside of Alexandria, but when Gabriel and his team rush them, he escapes into the forest.
Alpha and Daryl, both badly injured, have a long standoff in the gas station. She draws walkers to their location, but Daryl is able to defeat them. As the pair sit losing blood, Alpha removes her mask and launches into some crazy talk about seeing “beyond the darkness into the light.” As she collapses and her mind is stretched thin, Lydia (Cassady McClincy) appears before her in a heavenly light. This is the real Lydia though, not some angel. Alpha produces a knife and urges her daughter to kill her with it: “they’re waiting for you to lead” she coos. But after spending time alone, Lydia has finally chosen a side. “I’m not here for you” she declares as tears stain her face. She looks towards Daryl and says “they’re human. Not perfect, just human. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.” Alpha loses consciousness and later awakens as some of her followers tend to her wounds. A message carved in wood is all that remains of Lydia and Daryl: “your way is not the only way.”