Conflict has come again to the worn-down survivors of The Walking Dead and now they must face The Whisperers without longtime leader Rick. After the mid-season premiere, fans have seen the mysterious leader of the zombie-face-wearing humans wield a shotgun, but haven’t gotten much of an idea of what she stands for. Thankfully actress Samantha Morton is talking about who Alpha is and why positioning her as an antagonist isn’t necessarily accurate — from Alpha’s perspective, at least.
In an interview with EW, the actress explained that she ended up taking much of the character’s “DNA” from the source material, which she then riffs on “based on the scripts that come in.” That approach to the character led her to craft an approach to Alpha that’s just as nuanced as some of the series’ other stars.
“To me, I don’t see that I’m playing a villain at all,” Morton said. “I’m playing somebody with absolute determination and conviction in her beliefs, and in a way, almost kind of evangelical with it.” In the comics, Rick and Alpha have plenty of time to discuss their differences — in the show, these talks will likely be between her and Daryl.
“I think her opinions and her beliefs about how society should be — to her, they’re no-brainer,” the actress said. The Whisperers are a group of living humans who do what it takes to survive, even if it means mimicking Walkers more than the main cast is comfortable with. “It doesn’t make any sense to go back to the way things were. It doesn’t make any sense, you know? The future that we have should be the way she sees it, and so I see her as an incredibly powerful, awe-inspiring woman, with so much courage and strength and love, weirdly. But it’s how she shows that love is not as we would expect anyone to.”
This isn’t a bloodthirsty, power-mad maniac like Negan. This is someone with much different motives. “I haven’t played any scenes whereby it’s about pleasure,” said Morton, “and I think that when you look at psychopaths, they get pleasure from their actions, whereas Alpha, it is just what this is about. She is leading an army, and she’s clever, and if somebody crosses her, then it’s different.”
Let’s just hope the main group of protagonists stays on her good side - regardless of whether she sees herself as a villain or not. The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.