The Walking Dead Confirmed Beta's Celebrity Identity Before The Whisperers

the walking dead beta before mask change
(Image credit: amc press)

Major spoilers below for the latest episode of The Walking Dead, titled "Look at the Flowers."

After the shocking death/beheading of Samantha Morton's Alpha, everyone knew that her second-in-command Beta would flip the fuck out at some point. While that's definitely still going to happen, this week's episode gave the hulking behemoth some time to mourn in his own unsettling ways. Thankfully enough, his reflective side-trek gave fans had an upswing for fans, in that it finally confirmed who Beta was before The Whisperers and before the walker outbreak.

After a brief easter egg previously popped up in Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 that hinted at Ryan Hurst's Beta potentially being a musician in his past life, The Walking Dead's latest episode offered some definitive proof on that front. It turns out Beta was formerly a country-western-esque act who went by the stage name Half Moon. And one who was apparently famous enough to have a live album get a vinyl release.

How The Walking Dead Revealed Beta's Identity

It all started with Beta's rage-inducing discovery of Alpha's head shoved atop one of the border's stakes. After making it painfully clear to his fellow Whisperers that he would never be interested in taking on the Alpha title, Beta set out on a pilgrimage of sorts, as "advised" by Alpha's zombified head.

Beta ended up inside the trashed-up remains of the Grand Hotel, located in a small area's rinky-dink downtown strip. Whoever had settled there most recently had definitely been a musician, with lots of guitars scattered around the main living quarters, as well as tons of vinyls to go with a record player. (Not to mention what appeared to be a suicide note written as if it were song lyrics: "These 2 eyes see 1 truth.")

Before Beta found the album that definitively revealed his pre-outbreak identity, he saw a blood-spattered Half Moon poster on the wall advertising a live concert with "the legend himself for one night only," speaking to just how popular the musician was before the shit hit the fan around the globe. Especially since Ryan Hurst is only 43 years old, which means he would have still been in his early 30s when he was dubbed a legend playing "one night only" shows.

Seeing that poster made Beta completely flip out. Not only did he rip the poster off the wall, but he also smashed an acoustic guitar over anything in reach. After calming down, though, Beta discovered the vinyl for his Live in Concert album recorded in Austin. Instead of smashing it to bits, Beta actually decides to listen to it. Not so much as an ego trip, mind you.

Beta sets speakers up so that the music is blasting through the nearby area, which draws in a huge crowd of walkers for Beta to lead back to the Whisperers. He legitimately smiles as it's happening – he smiles! – and uses the occasion to fully fix up his mask, after Thora Birch's Mary had ripped it during their scuffle. Fittingly, he used skin from Alpha's walker head to complete the look.

How Beta Found Alpha And Revealed His Identity In The Comic Book

It's perfectly understandable why showrunner Angela Kang and her creative team chose to change the comic layout for how Beta discovered Alpha's death. Instead of finding her head, as it went in the TV show, Comic Beta discovered only her headless body, since Negan took her head to deliver to Rick as proof of his loyalty to the cause. Without Rick around anymore on the show, it was more important to use Alpha's head as a psychological weapon against her followers.

Unlike how things went in the TV show, The Walking Dead comic book didn't much draw attention to Beta's real identity, beyond showing how important it was for him to keep his mask on at all times. To the point where he had zero problem killing fellow Whisperers if they try to remove it.

Later into the Whisperers War, Comic Beta discovered Aaron and Jesus sleeping in the forest, and after a brief rumble, he got shot through the chest. Before he actually died, Jesus and Aaron lifted his mask and were shocked to discover that Beta was actually a famous former basketball player, which played into the villain's height and his surprising agility for someone so large. Frighteningly enough, Beta temporarily gains consciousness only to holler out that he doesn't have a name before fully falling victim to his wounds.

With the Whisperers War set to kick into high gear in the future (though we won't get the proper Season 10 finale until later this year), The Walking Dead has two episodes left in its current run, and airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

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.