The Hilltop is still missing two people on The Walking Dead.  In “Omega,” Tara (Alanna Masterson) leads her people in a search, but the newcomers don’t think she’s doing enough. Daryl (Norman Reedus) has been questioning their prisoner, Lydia (Cassady McClincy), but she’s been pretty evasive.  Henry (Matt Linz), on the other hand, is in the perfect position to get answers.  

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When the world ended, Lydia and her parents when to a shelter.  Lydia was scared often, but her mom (Samantha Morton)would sing to her to calm her down.  Her dad was always on edge. As time when on, her mom became harder and colder. She even killed a guy for freaking out one day.  But Lydia’s dad, who had shaved his beard off, became softer.  He started singing to Lydia when she was scared. 

In the present, Daryl continues to listen in on Henry and Lydia’s conversations.  They talk about how tough their moms are.  Henry starts to talk about the Kingdom, but Daryl stops him.  He says Henry is getting out of jail but pulls him outside to scold Henry for mentioning the Kingdom. He says Henry is putting his family in danger. At first, Henry is apologetic but then realizes that Daryl has been eavesdropping.  Henry gets angry that Daryl used him like that. He honestly believes Lydia is a good person. 

Tara leads a small group to find Alden (Callan McAuliffe) and Luke (Dan Fogler).  They find their horses being eaten by walkers, but Connie (Lauren Ridloff) finds that the initial cuts were hand made, meaning someone killed the horses to attract walkers. Tara thinks it’s too dangerous and wants to return to make a plan.  The newcomers protest, but everyone leaves anyway. 

Lydia's parents before the change on the Walking Dead

Samantha Morton as Alpha, Steve Kazee as Frank – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Daryl noticed that Lydia was pulling on her ear, meaning she felt pain.  He gives her some medicine, but she declines.  Daryl tells her about the horses and asks what Lydia’s mom would do with their people. Lydia tells him the story about her mom killing the guy who freaked out in the shelter.  Daryl thinks her mom did what she had to do.  

He offers her the medicine again and she agrees.  Daryl tells her that there are a lot of good people at the Hilltop. If she helps them, they will help her.  He gets a ladle of water, but won’t Lydia hold it.  She reaches out to grab Daryl, but he grabs her arm instead. He pulls back her sleeve and finds scars on her arm. Daryl leaves without saying a word. 


Yamiko (Eleanor Matsuura) wants to go back into the woods to find Luke. Magna (Nadia Hilker) thinks its a bad idea. She doesn’t want to mess up their safety at the Hilltop like they messed up at Alexandria.  Kelly (Angel Theory) tells them that she saw a group of teens sneak out of the Hilltop.  Yamiko reminds everyone that Luke is out there. they have to stick together even if it costs them their safe place.  They all agree to sneak out later that night. 

Daryl returns with a tree branch. He tells Lydia that he knows what kind of dad beats his kids. He thought that her dad sounded like one of those guys.  But she told him that her dad used to sing to her when she was scared. And that was the only part of Lydia’s story that sounded true.  He asks who beat her. She admits that it was her mom. 

Daryl wants to know her mom’s location, but Lydia still won’t tell him. She is protecting her because the Hilltop is not real and she doesn’t think it’s safe.  The world has changed and they act like they can change it back.  Her mom walks because that’s what the dead does. It’s their world and they have to live in it. If you are soft, you die.

Young Lydia with her parents on The Walking Dead.

Scarlett Blum as Young Lydia, Steve Kazee as Frank, Samantha Morton as Alpha – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Lydia tells Daryl about the day her dad died.  Lydia got up in the middle of the night to look at the dead body.  The man reanimated and went after Lydia.  Her dad grabbed her in time to save her, but the walker bit him instead. Lydia says she should have died because she was stupid.  Her dad saved her, but he was soft, so he died.   

Daryl tries to tell Lydia that they are making the world better. They are going to change it back. Lydia says he doesn’t belong with at the Hilltop.  He’s not soft. He replies that she doesn’t know anything about him. Lydia asks him to tell her, but Daryl walks away.

Into the Darkness

Yamiko, Magna, Kelly, and Connie sneak out of the Hilltop and make their way to the woods.  They look around a little and find the same walker tracks that they found before. Yamiko mentions something about a place called Coalport.  Magna says if they hadn’t left their post they would be dead like everyone else. Yamiko isn’t so sure. A walker comes up from behind Connie, but the group is able to fight it off. They have to be quiet and use sign language to communicate.  

Magna's group rethink their after dark search on the Walking Dead

Angel Theory as Kelly, Lauren Ridloff as Connie, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Nadia Hilker as Magna – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Yamiko thinks they need to go back to the Hilltop. It’s really dark and they won’t be able to help Luke if something happens to them. Magna and Connie agree. Kelly gets upset. She says she got separated at Coalport and Luke was the one who found her. She can’t leave him out there.  Connie says she will go with Kelly. Magan and Yamiko return to Hilltop. Someone in the trees watches Connie and Kelly.

Who Hurt You?

Henry confronts Daryl, asking if he was abused. Daryl never talks about his experience, but Henry can tell. He tells Daryl about a conversation he overheard between Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) and Carol (Melissa McBride).  Carol told Ezekiel that she cut her hair so short because her first husband would grab her hair and slam her up against the wall.  It took her this long to feel safe enough to grow it out again. Henry says he knows Lydia comes from bad people, but she isn’t bad. She’s scared and only Daryl can show her not to be. Daryl says he’s not the only one who can show her to not be afraid.

Henry wants to show Lydia around Hilltop. He sneaks her out of her cell, but they can’t get caught.  As soon as they get outside, they see someone coming toward them. They run to a hiding place and eat worms while they wait.  Lydia is surprised by the community, especially that they have a doctor.  Henry keeps his back toward her, trying to show her everything. 

Lydia finds a hammer on a workbench. She starts to pick it up but then hears a baby crying. That baby makes her have flashbacks.  She gets nervous and asks Henry to take her back to her cell.  Daryl watches them from afar.  After Henry locks the cell, Lydia asks him to stay the night with her. 

Change of Heart
Alpha before her change on The Walking Dead

Samantha Morton as Alpha – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The next morning, Daryl takes food to Lydia and finds Henry. Lydia asks for medicine because her ear hurts worse.  Daryl even lets her hold the ladle to drink out of.  Lydia says no one is coming for her.  If someone dies, they just keep moving.  They stay away from large groups unless it’s necessary.  She was trying to find out more information about the place to use it to get back into the group. Lydia says if her mom found their people, then they are probably dead.  Her people had a camp nearby, but they never stay in one place for too long.  Henry asks if the story she told about her parents was true. Lydia needed it to be true.  Her mom told her those stories over and over.  Deep down, Lydia knew it was a lie. 

Lydia parents went to the shelter, but it was her mom who was on edge and her dad soothed her with a song.  Her mom shaved her head, killed the man who freaked out and was cold about everything. Lydia did get out of bed that night and look at the dead body.  The man reanimated and went after Lydia, but another man saved her, pushing her into her parent’s room.  Lydia’s parents fought about leaving.  Her mom was ready to go, but her dad wanted to stay. He left to try to find a way to the stairs, but someone pushed him against the wall.  Lydia’s mom took a knife and cut his throat. 

What’s Next?

Daryl leaves the cell and Henry follows, asking what happens next.  Daryl doesn’t know, but he wants to check out the camp location.  Henry says he’s glad that Daryl and his mom are friends. 

The Hilltop Leaders encounter a new group on the Walking Dead

Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Nadia Hilker as Magna, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Yamiko and Magna arrive at the Hilltop.  Yamiko talks to Tara about why they left. Tara says she’s okay with it, but next time they should talk to her.  She admits that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. But she doesn’t want anyone getting killed, that includes new people.  Kelly and Connie arrive shortly after with some Hilltop guards. Tara said a guard saw them leave and she sent people out for them.  

Connie is far behind Kelly and the guards. She sees a group of people show up and gets separated from Kelly.  These are the people who wear the walker masks and their leader is Lydia’s mom.  Tara calls for Daryl to join her.  He arrives with Magna.  They watch as the leader steps forward. She introduces herself as Alpha. And she only wants one thing….her daughter. 

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We rarely get such a detailed backstory for new characters.  Usually, we just have to accept that the bad people were born that way. Or if there was a traumatic event that made them bad, it’s usually mentioned in one episode. This was very interesting seeing the story through the eyes of a child.  That story was more effective for Lydia’s case than it was for Alpha, especially since the truth was far worse than the fairy tale. 

I found it interesting how Alpha was portrayed as a soft, caring mom and Lydia’s dad was cold and borderline abusive. And throughout the episode, you see them switching places.  As for Daryl’s abuse story, he hasn’t talked about it in a long time. There was never really a need.  But now he’s facing a kid who’s being abused. I don’t think he’s ever had to encounter someone like that before. 

 Now Alpha is at the Hilltop and facing our heroes for the first time.  Lydia kept saying that the Hilltop wasn’t supposed to exist. Hilltop is supposed to fall. And her mom is someone you don’t want to mess with.  We definitely need to be listening to these kids a little more. 




Noetta Harjo
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