Many characters have come and gone over the 12-year run of The Walking Dead. Several of them have made drastic transformations into essential leaders of the communities, making their deaths very tough to bear. One of those characters was Tara Chambler, played by Alanna Masterson.
Tara was introduced in the season 4 episode “Live Bait.” She, her sister, niece, and sick father lived in an apartment building and were discovered by a man introduced as Brian, aka The Governor (David Morrisey). This was after the fall of Woodbury, and the Governor was in a very tough spot. Tara’s family allowed him to stay in another apartment in the building, unaware of his past.
After her father dies of cancer, they leave with Brian to find a new place to live. They come across an old associate of the Governors, Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo), who, knowing his past, is surprised to see “Brian” as a family man.
The Walking Dead – Tara
Tara witnesses the true nature of the Governor when he kills Hershel (Scott Wilson) and attacks the prison. She feels responsible for the attack since she was on the Governor’s side, as he had convinced everyone Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group were the bad guys. Her guilt consumes her, but luckily she is found by a kind soul, Glenn (Steven Yeun), and he takes her away from the prison.
She eventually receives forgiveness from Rick, Glenn, and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) for her involvement with the Governor, allowing her to release her guilt. They understood, all too well, that this new world finds people doing things they would never imagine.
Her transformation really begins to take shape when the group is settled at Alexandria. Her inner strength and determination begin to shine, and she begins a relationship with Denise (Merritt Wever). When Denise is killed by Dwight (Austin Amelio), a member of Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) Saviors, she experiences a period of hatred and vengefulness. But, when Dwight aids them, she is reminded of the time she was on the side of evil and was forgiven and lets go of her hatred.
After the 6-year time jump, Tara became the leader of Hilltop. This was after the death of Jesus (Tom Payne) and the departure of Maggie, who had both been leaders of this community. She admits she isn’t sure if she knows what she is doing but tries her best to do what is right for the residents.
In the season 9 episode “The Calm Before,” Tara is among the group that the Whisperers attack, and although they put up a brave fight, they are decapitated and put on Alpha’s pikes. It was a horrific event that impacted the survivors and revealed the true nature of their leader Alpha (Samantha Morton).
Alanna Masterson did a fantastic job portraying Tara, a great character who added comic relief to the series with her relaxed, playful attitude.