In This Episode...
We spend all of our time with Alpha, Beta, and the Whisperers. Divided into the present and seven years ago, the story jumps back and forth to show how we got to where we are.
Seven years ago, presumably after Alpha slaughtered her camp, she and Lydia are moving amongst the dead, slathered in zombie blood - no skins yet. Lydia starts to scream when she sees a woman getting eaten alive, and Alpha must act fast to drag her daughter into a nearby hospital. Inside, they meet an imposing man with a ski mask on. This, as we know, will be Beta, but until then, he is just a nameless, faceless man. Alpha (again, not Alpha yet, but we don't know her name) promises she doesn't die easy, which gains her enough respect with Beta to earn a night inside, in the hallway. During the night, Alpha explores and finds a few zombies to kill. She gets in over her head and Beta saves her. Then the two kill the rest of the zombies together, with Alpha commenting that she likes killing with him. When she guts the zombies and fills buckets with their entrails, Beta remarks that she's different. He then helps her crack the chest of the zombie.
During the night, Lydia coats herself in zombie blood then wanders off, to prove that she can be strong like her mom. Alpha panics when she discovers Lydia is gone, and follows her tiny, bloody footprints through the hospital. She ends up in Beta's area, and sees photos with the faces scratched out. A zombie comes in, wearing the same shirt of one of the men in the photos, and Alpha kills him. This sends Beta over the edge, and he is about to kill Alpha when Lydia comes out of nowhere, screaming at him: "She's trying to save you!" Alpha is very proud that she was strong, "but don't you dare leave me again!" To Beta, Alpha tells him that "we are the end of the world." She promises that he won't have to leave this man that Beta is now mourning. Alpha carves off his skin - the skin that Beta wears today.
In the present, Beta heads off to round up more zombies. He takes with him two sisters. They have no names, so I call them Sister 1 and Sister 2. Sister 2 turns out to be the woman whose baby was taken away when the Whisperers staked out Alexandria last season. She suffers a post-partum psychosis which makes her a liability on these trips. For example, she sees a zombie with a baby carrier strapped to her chest and she loses it. This infuriates Beta, who is set to kill Sister 2 when they return to camp. Alpha stops him, takes Sister 2 aside, but does not kill her. She understands the loss of a child, and grants Sister 2 clemency. However, next time the sisters go with Beta to round up the troops, she takes off her mask and starts screaming, drawing attention to Alpha, Beta, and the other Whisperers. In order to save Alpha, Sister 1 throws Sister 2 to the zombies.
Back at camp, Alpha "knights" Sister 1, dubs her Gamma. Beta sees this as Alpha trying to "adopt" a new daughter. He then figures out that Alpha didn't actually kill Lydia. Beta promises to keep this secret from the other Whisperers, and Alpha insists that she is "dead to me. She was dead to me the moment she was born." They see the explosion in the sky, and smoke by the border. Alpha worries that the enemy might have crossed the border. They head over there, chanting about "When we walk in darkness, we are free.... This is the end of the world."
Perhaps the most valuable bit of information we get in this episode is we find out about Alpha's philosophy. "Dead don't have names," pre-Alpha says, "we shouldn't either. They are free. They fear nothing; they only want to feed." She believes that there are those that can live with the dead, and then there is the rest of the world. "You have to become them." Later, when young Lydia wanders out on her own, she keeps repeating her mother's mantra: "We're all monsters now."
Alpha the cult leader
Alpha displays all the traditional signs of a cult leader. She depersonalizes everyone, makes them forget their personal relationships. She has phrases that her followers chant. She yields a hypnotic power over her followers. May as well call her Alpha Manson.