Tara (Alanna Masterson)
Tara came a long way from when we were first introduced to her in season 4. She grew from an innocent girl who was just trying to be a good sister that wound up on the wrong side of the battle between the Governor and Rick’s group into a leader of a community that relies on her to make some tough choices. That kind of growth made it all the more difficult to see her head on one of the pikes in the penultimate episode of season 9.
Tara was weary of the Whisperer threat from the start, as she immediately wanted to send Lydia back where she came from when Alpha showed up at Hilltop’s gates. Had Tara survived the pikes, she would continue to lead Hilltop in the impending Whisperer War.
Tara’s presence would have alleviated a lot of the confusion and chaos that arose when the Whisperers chopped down a massive tree that broke some of Hilltop’s walls. When the tree went down, everyone started looking at each other, waiting for somebody to step up and take charge of the situation. With Tara there, the community would at the very least have someone to take orders from right away.
Some of Alpha’s choices for the pike clearly had a purpose, and it seems that Tara’s growth into a true leader sealed her fate when the time came.