'The Walking Dead' Season 10, Episode 2 Review: 'We Are The End Of The World' Is Great, Creepy TV
Sunday night's episode of The Walking Dead focuses on the Whisperers entirely, with only a glimpse at our heroes. 'We Are The End Of The World' is all about Alpha and Beta-how they meet and how their twisted apocalyptic ideas become a match made in heaven.
We're also introduced to Gamma (Thora Birch, who played the young girl in Hocus Pocus), a woman who takes after Alpha's heart so much that she's given her own name and hoisted up into the upper echelons of the Whisperers' twisted hierarchy.
Here's what she looks like:Three Stories
Tonight's episode essentially told three stories.
First, the story of how Alpha and Lydia meet Beta (before they have these names). Think of it as an origin story for Beta, and to a lesser degree for Alpha, though we've seen much of her backstory already in Season 9.
The second stories both take place in the current timeline. The first revolves around the woman who becomes Gamma and her sister, the young woman who had to give up her baby when the zombies were coming last season because it was crying. The baby was rescued by Connie in one of last season's more chilling moments.
The final story is really part of both these first two. We learn about where Alpha and Beta stand today with regards to one another and their commitment to the cause. We also see Alpha finally let go of Lydia and embrace Gamma as something of a surrogate daughter. Her refrain to Beta, who finds her shrine to Lydia in the woods, is that Lydia was dead to her from the moment she was born because "She's nothing like me."
It rings a bit hollow. For all her crazy, Alpha obviously still has feelings for her daughter and no amount of posturing, raging or replacing her will change that. This is nicely paralleled with Beta's backstory, which we'll dive into now.Mr. "B"
Back when Lydia was still a pretty young girl-eleven or so, I'd wager-she and Alpha are on the run, just the two of them, trying to blend in with the dead, trying to find safe harbor. They come to what we discover is a rehab facility, and shut themselves in.
Then they see him-a giant of a man wearing a mask over his face, looming in the dark hallway:
A frightening sight to behold, but he let's them stay and bit by bit they start to grow closer to one another, or at least as close as two psychopaths can become I suppose. Beta talks about how much he enjoys the sounds of the dead, and how that's the only sound he wants to hear. He talks about how he is the end of the world, and Alpha echoes his thoughts. "We are the end of the world," she replies.
The episode gives us some backstory, but only from this point forward. We learn very little about Beta before the apocalypse, other than that he was probably in rehab, and-thanks to clues in Fear The Walking Dead- we can surmise that he was probably a singer of some kind, in rehab for his drug and alcohol abuse.
He made a friend there, and kept that friend "alive" even after he turned. When Alpha finds the room where he keeps the walker, she sees photographs of Beta before the apocalypse, but all the faces are rubbed off. By the end of the episode, he allows her to take of his mask briefly and she sees his face, but we never do.
In any case, Beta's pet zombie shuffles into the room and Alpha kills it, much to Beta's dismay. However hard and mad he's become, that friendship must have been powerful and he tells her that he can't leave him there.
This is when Alpha comes up with the idea for skinning the dead and wearing their skins as camouflage. It's a way to take him with them but becomes their whole modus operandi.
Before this, Alpha and Lydia would do the same thing Rick and Glenn did in Season 1, and that Nick did throughout his run on Fear: Simply wear blood and guts from the dead to disguise themselves. This is just a less messy, more practical evolution of that stunt.Gamma
In the present day timeline, much is made of the two sisters. Gamma (before becoming Gamma) is sick and tired of her sister, who is clearly suffering from grief and PTSD from the loss of her child and the general horribleness of everything.
She starts to have little mental breakdowns, weeping openly as she thinks about her child, causing the dead to take notice and put everyone's lives in jeopardy. Beta wants her dead, but Alpha spares her. It's a little sign of tension between these two, and one that continues throughout the episode.
Beta, at this point, is as hard as they come. He has no sentimentality left in him. Alpha, on the other hand, is filled with conflict over her daughter. It's why she spares the sister to begin with, telling Beta that he has no idea what it's like to have to abandon a child.
By the end of the episode she's whistling a different tune, praising Gamma for killing her own sister. Killing your own kin, that's the purest sort of killing, or something like that. Alpha is completely off her rocker.
There's a moment when it seems like the good sister will actually stay in line and stop acting out, but the fact of the matter is she's suffering from serious mental issues and major loss, and she just can't hold it together. She attacks Alpha in the midst of a herd, and very nearly takes her down. Her own sister stops her, throwing her to the ground where she's promptly torn to pieces by the dead.Verdict
All told, this was a very strong character-building episode for our new villains, at once deepening our understanding of Alpha and Beta, and introducing a third twisted, awful Whisperer leader to the mix.
This show has become so much better in the past two seasons, and this is yet another great example of Angela Kang's leadership totally transforming The Walking Dead into truly captivating television once again. I can't wait to see what comes next week, as both this and last week's Season 10 premiere were largely about setting the stage for the rest of the season.
By the end of tonight's episode, the Whisperers spot the satellite crashing from the sky, and the whole thing ends right where we left off last week, with Alpha and Carol staring daggers at one another. It's a great setup for this new conflict, and I have to say I find the Whisperers much more fascinating bad guys than the Saviors, and Alpha/Beta far more compelling than Negan and his endless swagger.
What did you think? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook!Read my review of the Season 10 premiere here.
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