- Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead” season nine, episode 15, “The Calm Before.”
- Sunday’s episode of AMC’s “TWD” brought a major moment from the comics to life.
- In addition to comic moments, INSIDER breaks down references to past seasons, including an iconic scene from season two.
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” shook things up Sunday night by bringing a big moment from the comics to life on the season’s penultimate episode instead of waiting for its season finale.
In an extra-long episode, the zombie drama killed off 10 characters in one fell swoop. Alpha (Samantha Morton) infiltrated King Ezekiel’s fair to kidnap a mix of background characters, recurring cast, and longtime members of “TWD,” ranging from reformed Saviour DJ to Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Tara (Alanna Masterson), before brutally sticking their heads on pikes.
Even if you were expecting to see the iconic Whisperer pikes from the comics this season, they didn’t go down exactly how they did in the comics. There also weren’t as many. Keep reading to see what moments you may have missed straight from the comic along with a few references to earlier seasons.
Michonne recalls the first time she met Rick on season three.
“I also know why Rick didn’t trust me when I showed up at the gates of the prison, and how people didn’t trust you after seeing you on the other side of the Governor’s firing line,” Michonne tells Tara when making an argument for why they should give Alpha’s daughter, Lydia, asylum.
After spotting her at the end of season three, episode six, Rick is hesitant to trust Michonne. But she brings formula for his newborn daughter and leads Rick and Daryl to Glenn and Maggie, who are being held hostage by the Governor.
Rachel from Oceanside has been recast and aged up.
When the communities gather together to sign Michonne’s charter, you may have thought the representative for Oceanside was a recast Cyndie.
It’s actually an aged-up Rachel, the young girl Tara had a mini ongoing feud with at Oceanside back in the day. Rachel came close to killing Tara on the beach back on season seven, episode six before Cyndie stops her. Rachel references this on Sunday’s episode.
“I was going to kill you on sight when you washed up on our shore,” Rachel says to Tara, confirming she’s not Cyndie.
Showrunner Angela Kang confirmed this in an email with INSIDER.
A puppet show at the fair is in honour of Shiva.
In a brief moment, you can see Shiva and Ezekiel puppets at a booth.
“Do you guys know the story of Shiva?” a man at the fair asks a group of kids.
That might be a rough story for kids. Shiva was devoured by the undead while protecting King Ezekiel on season eight, episode four.
The pikes are straight from the comics. The deaths are just a bit different and more hard-hitting in the comics.
In the comics, Alpha uses the pikes to create a border to mark off Whisperer territory from that of Alexandria, the Hilltop, and Kingdom. She does the same on Sunday’s episode.
The 10 people killed on Sunday’s episode of the “Walking Dead” are two members of the Highwaymen (Ozzy and Alek) followed by DJ (Matt Mangum), Frankie (Elyse Nicole DuFour), Tammy Rose (Brett Butler), Rodney (Joe Ando Hirsh), Adeline (Kelley Mack), Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Tara (Alanna Masterson), and Henry (Matt Lintz).
The comics kill off two more people along with a few major differences: Josh, Olivia, Carson, Amber, Erin, Oscar, Luke, Ken, Larry, Tammy Rose, Rosita, and King Ezekiel.
In the comics, Rosita is among the most shocking deaths on the pikes along with King Ezekiel, who’s revealed last. The episode contains several misdirects to make you think Rosita and Ezekiel are going to get taken by Alpha. At one point, Alpha speaks directly with the King and turns to look at Eugene and Rosita.
Sunday’s episode essentially positions Daryl as the new Rick.
In another scene pulled straight from the comics, Alpha shows Daryl she has a giant horde of the undead at her disposal along with more Whisperers.
This is a moment straight from issue No. 144.
In the comics, Alpha is showing the group to Rick as a warning. Alpha tells Rick if he and the communities don’t stay within their boundaries, there is going to be trouble. In the years since the apocalypse began, Daryl and the communities have become pros at steering huge walker groups away from the communities, but this one looks like it takes the cake.
Much of the dialogue between Alpha and Daryl is nearly identical to that of Alpha and Rick. Some of it has just been cut down.
Alpha also infiltrates the fair, just like in the comics. Her disguise is much better on the show.
It would probably be tough for Alpha to sneak around the fair bald in her usual getup without someone becoming suspicious. In the comics, that’s nearly what happens when Earl Sutton mentions her to Ezekiel briefly. The TV series made her appearance at the fair more believable as she wore a sunhat and the scalped hair of a member of the Hilltop she killed.
A highlight of the episode was seeing how Morton’s character Alpha could turn on the charm before returning to her survival instincts as the Whisperer leader.
The movie that’s shown at the Kingdom during the fair is “Quack-A-Doodle-Doo.”
The final image from the short that we see shows Baby Huey pulling a face off of the fox chasing him. It feels very on the nost with the Whisperers.
You can watch the short here.
Daryl runs to hold Carol back from seeing Henry’s head on a pike. It’s a near mirror of a moment from season two when she discovered her daughter, Sophia, was dead.
Daryl runs up to Carol screaming “No!” as the pike victims are shown one by one.
“Just look away. Just look at me,” he tells Carol as he holds her up. Viewers then see Carol’s son Henry revealed as the head on the final pike. The moment is extremely reminiscent of the time when Daryl held Carol back as she discovered her daughter Sophia was dead and locked up in a barn on season two.
The only difference is that Carol doesn’t fall down and crumble to the ground this time. The moment is more impactful if you know that both Henry and Sophia were played by siblings Matt and Madison Lintz on “The Walking Dead.”
Episode director, Laura Belsey, confirmed to INSIDER that was a direct callback to season two.
During the end of Siddiq’s speech, he tells the communities we need to honour the lives of the other people who died.
“In the end, their time was cut short and ours keeps going. So, we have to keep going for them and for all of us. We need to honour them. We need to honour them and we need to remember these friends, our family, died as heroes,” Siddiq tells the crowd at the Kingdom.
“Honour” is the name of the episode where Carl (Chandler Riggs). Carl risked his life putting down a few walkers with Siddiq and wound up getting bit. Siddiq tells Carl he will continue to honour him by making sure he proves his life was worth saving and that his death mattered.
According to episode director Laura Belsey, the story Siddiq tells the survivors are the actual events that happened leading up to their deaths.
Upon multiple rewatches it may seem like Siddiq is telling the group of survivors his own fairytale version of events of what he would have liked to see happen. Belsey says that’s not the case. The story he tells is what actually happened to Enid, Tara, Henry, and more before they were killed.
“It’s real, and I think that’s where his emotion came from, because his emotion is genuine,” Belsey told INSIDER. “I think that whole last scene was so powerful because it was real. That did actually happen. We leave it kind of, you know, it’s impressionistic. We wanted it to feel like not all the details are there. We don’t really know exactly how Henry was killed.”
Kang also confirmed this was the case about the flashback scene with INSIDER.
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