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The Walking Dead: Lydia's history is revealed, and we meet Alpha
In This Episode…
Over the course of the episode, Lydia reveals her backstory to Henry and, eventually, to Daryl. Unfortunately, as we soon learn, memories are unreliable. When Lydia recalls her days at the beginning of the outbreak (roughly nine years ago), her mother is warm, soothing, and loving. She protects Lydia from her unpredictable, rash, and borderline violent father, who insists that they leave the bunker they have been hiding in with a dozen other people. After over a month in hiding, their supplies are running low and it sounds like chaos is erupting outside: There are screams, gunfire, the sounds of panic. One of the guys in the bunker becomes panicked and tries to escape the bunker, yelling for help. Lydia’s mother is frightened he will draw attention to them, and, in an effort to quiet him and keep them safe, she ends up smothering him to death.
Later that night, after everyone is asleep, Lydia sneaks out of bed to peek at the corpse. On her way back to bed, the corpse reanimates. Her dad knocks Lydia out of the way, and in the process, he is eaten. Lydia therefore associates her father with being soft, which got him killed.
Daryl knows better. He understands the way Lydia speaks, sees the bruises up and down her arms. He knows she is being abused; he just needs her to realize. And she does. Henry, in an attempt to show Lydia some kindness, sneaks her out of her jail cell in the middle of the night. She is about to hammer him to death with a nicked hammer, but a baby crying frightens her, makes her beg to be returned to the jail, and she reveals all.
Lydia remembers that it is her mom who wanted to leave the bunker, not her dad. Her dad wanted to stay with Lydia, where it was safe. Mom browbeats her husband, forces him against a wall, and with a “cold look in her eye,” murders her husband with a knife. She realizes that her mother has indoctrinated her with tall tales her entire life. With this breakthrough, Daryl tells Henry he will see if Lydia can stay.
The only other story was a boring, almost pointless story of Magna, Connie, Kelly, and Yumiko going out to look for Alden and Luke. They finally find them and head back to Hilltop. But a group of Whisperers has followed them back. At the gates, Alpha stands in front of about a dozen other Whisperers. She does not wear a skin suit. She is there to get her daughter back.
Hair plays a strangely specific role in tonight’s episode. It suggests who is “good” and who is “bad” in Lydia’s flashbacks. When we first see her flashbacks, mom still has shoulder-length hair and dad has a long beard. Mom is comforting her; dad is being strong. When dad starts to go off the rails and get scary, he cuts off his beard. When mom kills the panicking bunkermate, she has hair; dad does not. This is because Lydia sees it as sign of love, that mom was just protecting her daughter. But then, when Lydia “re-remembers” things as they actually happened, mom is cold-hearted and dangerous. Mom brutally murders Lydia’s father because he stood up to her and refused to let mom take Lydia into the world, which is filled with gunshots, screams, and general sounds of panic.
We also learn about Carol’s hair in tonight’s episode. According to Henry, Carol used to have long hair, until she realized that her first husband always grabbed her by her hair and threw her into the wall. She cut her hair; he couldn’t grab her by it anymore. Henry says her hair is long now because she finally feels safe. Unfortunately, he doesn’t explain why she has Laurie Strode hair.
I suspect that the title of this episode, “Omega,” refers to Lydia. Her mother calls herself Alpha, the first letter in the Greek alphabet and a term often used to describe someone who is in control. If Lydia is called Omega, that’s a little sad, because Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Does she think so little of her daughter that she gave her the very last letter of the alphabet? The abuse she gives makes that a stupid question.