Does The Walking Dead world make monsters or reveal them?

Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Our panelists dig deep into whether the world of The Walking Dead changes people into killers or just reveals their basic nature.

Alpha’s backstory on The Walking Dead showed that Alpha was never going to win any Mother Of The Year awards even before the apocalypse. But fans were still shocked at how easily she shifted into killer mode in the early days of the apocalypse. That’s not something that has been shown on The Walking Dead very much.

Throughout the show’s history even the worst villains, like Negan, have been given shades of humanity that have kept them from being seen as “all good” or “all bad”. One of the recurring themes of the show has always been that no one’s hands are clean in the apocalypse world that people have to do terrible things to survive.

But even after watching Rick slaughter an outpost full of Saviors and Negan horrifically kill Glenn and Abe it was shocking to see Alpha turn so quickly into a killer. The ease with which she murdered her husband in cold blood certainly indicates that Alpha was always a complicated woman who had her own rules about morality. Was it more shocking because she is a woman and woman are always expected to have some maternal instinct that makes them less likely to be killers?

Possibly. But despite her apparent lack of remorse about killing and her general amorality Alpha does seem to still have some humanity in her desire to save her daughter and keep Lydia with her. Alpha is definitely a different breed of villain on The Walking Dead and our panel has some thoughts about why that might be.

Alpha Is Not Like Any Other Villain

We got to see Alpha’s backstory in this episode and how she became who she is now. Why do you think the apocalypse changes people the way it changed Alpha?

Sonya says:

"This is such an interesting question. I think most people live in a very comfortable world where they feel secure most of the time. When something comes along and jolts them out of that into a real life or death situation people deal with it in different ways.Some people fall apart, and some people who have a well-honed sense of survival immediately go into full blown survival mode. Sometimes they find creative ways to try and get back that sense of safety or that sense of control over their environment. I think that in The Walking Dead world the hardship of survival will bring out people’s true natures. Those who are weak will die quickly but those who are innately strong will adapt.I’ve always thought that abuse survivors or other people who have lived through life or death trauma are the ones who will survive in that world. My guess is that Alpha went through some stuff in earlier life that made her someone willing to do anything at all to survive without a shred of guilt about it."

Sara says:

"I definitely think the apocalypse can change people for the worst, but I think that Alpha was always like this even before the apocalypse began. I don’t think that Alpha ever liked being with her husband Frank, as she took so much joy in killing him. I think that Alpha was waiting for the perfect moment to break into the person she had always wanted to be, and the apocalypse gave her that opportunity."

Jeffrey says:

"I think Alpha was a messed up person prior to the apocalypse. Something that we’ve seen with certain characters such as Alpha is that the absence of society and law allows people to take the most extreme measures without any consequences. The fact that Alpha killed someone so early into the apocalypse is not all that shocking, especially considering the fact that many character had to get their hands dirty early on; Madison and the characters of Fear the Walking Dead are examples of this. From that point, Alpha seems to have deteriorated into the ruthless person she is today. For some, that darkness is already inside and the apocalypse just brings it out."

Sarabeth says:

"It was interesting to see how it started on day 23 and by day 46 everything fell apart. I have seen some people comment that it happened too fast but by day 46 it was clear that no help was coming. Alpha knew it when everyone else was holding out hope and I think that was what triggered her instinct to survive at all cost. Some people will do anything to survive."

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What do you think TWDFamily? Would you do anything to survive in The Walking Dead world? What do you think made Alpha the way she is? Why did the other survivors hang onto their humanity when Alpha and the Whisperers discarded theirs? Tweet us: @SonyaIryna, @WrittenBySara, @TWalkingDWorld, @SarabethPollock, and @UndeadWalkingFS and let’s talk about it.