Major spoilers below for the latest episode of The Walking Dead, so be sure to watch before reading on.
Though The Walking Dead's Season 10 premiere focused mostly on the protagonists and only brought out its big villain in the final seconds, the second episode was almost entirely dedicated to Alpha and Beta. From the pair's contentious first meeting to their most current developments, "We Are the End of the World" delved much deeper into Alpha and Beta's history together than Robert Kirkman did in the comic book, and the episode even introduced another major Whisperer character. (More on that elsewhere.)
CinemaBlend had the pleasure of speaking with Walking Dead star Samantha Morton about expanding Alpha's story for TV, and we started the conversation off with talk about the two Whisperers' relationship over the years. In her words:
One definitely can't watch classic rom-coms like When Harry Met Sally or Love Actually to get a fix on how Alpha and Beta's relationship should function, and not even friendship-driven tales like Stand By Me or Thelma and Louise hit the mark. Perhaps a libido-free Natural Born Killers is in the right neighborhood, and bet that neighborhood has some strict boundaries marking the territory.
In the episode, pre-Alpha and her daughter Lydia break into a seemingly empty building, but soon found it to be inhabited by pre-Beta. His harshness and stilted speech certainly informed his Whisperer future, though he did allow the two a temporary haven, which provided some moments for bonding to occur. Samantha Morton spoke to how that asexual bonding led to something larger.
Pre-Alpha and Lydia's indiscretions, which included killing pre-Beta's friend, were all for the greater good, at least from the antagonists' perspective, since the episode revealed inciting incident for pre-Beta creating the mask he'd go on to wear as a proper Whisperer. (Check out how that scene basically confirmed a connection to Fear the Walking Dead.)
When I brought up the seemingly effortless comfort level on display when Alpha has Beta maintain her shaved head with a straight razor, Samantha Morton spoke more to the concept of Alpha and Beta's compatibility, as maliciously distinct as it might be. In her words:
For what it's worth, if Beta comes up to me with a straight razor, I would be desperately hoping that all he wanted to do was shave my head.
Samantha Morton Talks Alpha's Origins And Motivations
During our talk, when Samantha Morton spoke about the importance of the two main Whisperers meeting for the first time, she also dug into how her character's motivation in the episode's first scene, and in many more to come, was all about keeping Lydia safe. (Something that speaks to the villain's emotional breakdowns in Episode 2.) In Morton's words:
Considering the cold fierceness that Alpha has displayed when others' lives were on the line, it can be easy to forget that she is also a mother still experiencing heartbreak over her daughter's absence. Her dedication to keeping Lydia alive is, at least in some ways, matched by her intense devotion to make The Walking Dead's protagonists suffer.
For all her strengths, Alpha has never been portrayed in the most mentally sound light in The Walking Dead's flashbacks, and always seems willing to bring a bit of misery to others' lives. I asked Samantha Morton if Alpha was someone who was waiting for just such an apocalyptic situation in order to unleash some demons. Here's how she answered:
The Walking Dead's outbreak took place likely before that universe ever experienced a Me Too movement that gave rise to awareness of gender equality across the board. Pre-Alpha probably would have also had issues with the Me Too era in general, but that's meant for a totally different conversation.
In any case, Samantha Morton shared that it's very much her upbringing and how she's been treated in the past that feed into Alpha's current state of mind at the apex of the Whisperers' pecking order. When I brought up how my own Southern upbringing often made me privy to stereotypes of that nature, Morton continued:
The slope from "angry wife and mother" to "decapitator of children" isn't so slippery, and it takes a long time for someone to come to such extremes, regardless of how righteous one might have felt about it in the past. As such, Alpha has a lot of complex feelings swirling around inside of her, and fans can bet that Thora Birch's newly named Gamma will play heavily into how Lydia's absence is handled.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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