The Walking Dead: The Whisperers, or the Cult of the Guardians

Ben Vandermey as Bitten Whisperer, Ryan Hurst as Beta - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Ben Vandermey as Bitten Whisperer, Ryan Hurst as Beta - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC /

The Whisperers have built a world all their own with their own rules and, evidently, a closely held belief system. They truly are the Cult of the Guardians.

They call them the Guardians. Over the years the undead have taken on so many names but on The Walking Dead they’re commonly known as walkers. None of their many nicknames suggest anything other than the fact that they’re dead and they’re trying to kill everything in their path, so “Guardians” is a strange way to think of them. Until the Whisperers came along.

The Whisperers refer to the walkers as Guardians, a name that came up several times in The Walking Dead episode “Chokepoint” as Beta chased Daryl, Connie and Henry on his mission to reclaim Lydia and reunite her with the herd.

Since meeting Alpha and her people it’s clear that Alpha’s philosophy focuses on the walkers as a stage of evolution, and that somehow she and her people are merely pawns in that progression.

At the start of the episode Beta tells a dying Whisperer that he will “always be one of us.” This suggests that death for the Whisperers is a step in the evolutionary process. Beta calls for the man’s wife, but no one there seems overly emotional about his impending death.

Later, Beta and his scouting team make references to the “Guardians” while they’re tracking Daryl and Connie. Beta knows that the barricaded staircase was meant to block the Guardians from going up the stairs, but he also knows that leaving them there means that the exits are blocked for Daryl and Connie and that’s all that really matters.

There’s a definite sense of reverence that the Whisperers assign the walkers. While it’s not the kind of optimism that Hershel had, or the kind of kinship Lizzie felt, it is definitely a sense that they’re part of the same team. Hershel believed that the walkers could be cured somehow. Lizzie saw the walkers as playmates. The Whisperers see the walkers as what comes next, and they respect the fact that the walkers keep them safe. They’re a team.

There’s one pesky caveat to the Whisperers worship of of the walkers, and it’s an interesting one. The Whisperer masks come from the walkers, and fans saw Beta harvesting one such mask from a “living” walker. While they express reverence toward the walkers, the Whisperers also utilize them. This could explain why they leave “offerings” of victims (and babies!) for the walkers to eat, because the Whisperers value their contributions and give back to their undead overlords.

Next. The Walking Dead 913 recap: Chokepoint. dark

The Whisperers enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the walkers that is creepy and hard to understand at face value, but given how long this group has survived it would seem that the relationship works for Alpha and her group. And if it works, why change now?

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.