The Walking Dead has finally unmasked four massive mysteries concerning Alpha and the Whisperers. First appearing in The Walking Dead season 9, the Whisperers were unlike any threat Rick Grimes and friends had ever faced in the zombie outbreak. Whereas most Walking Dead baddies are tyrannical sociopaths with more guns than anyone else (the Governor, Negan, Lance Hornsby), the Whisperers were cut from a different skin. Skulking around forests dressed as the undead and armed only with rudimentary knives, the Whisperers were almost cult-like in their beliefs and, in total contrast to The Walking Dead‘s usual villains, never really wanted anything.
These qualities made Alpha’s hygiene-free society very mysterious indeed, and even after The Walking Dead seasons 9 and 10 dedicated episodes to the history of Samantha Morton’s hairless hell-raiser, much remained unknown about their origins… until now. Tales of the Walking Dead tells one-shot, isolated stories from the Walking Dead franchise, and though the characters are predominantly newbies, episode 3 (“Dee”) stars Alpha and Lydia (Scarlett Blum) at an early point in the apocalypse.
Weirdly, “Dee” raises more than a few canon quibbles. The final scene blatantly contradicts Alpha’s backstory from The Walking Dead season 10’s “We Are The End Of The World,” and rubs awkwardly against season 9’s “Omega.” If we assume Tales of the Walking Dead episode 3 represents Alpha’s definitive canon and supersedes any conflicting details from before, however, “Dee” is responsible for answering many of the big Whisperer questions left unaddressed by The Walking Dead.
No, Alpha DIDN’T Start The Whisperers
The Walking Dead season 10 implied, albeit never stated outright, that Alpha and Beta founded the Whisperers together after first meeting in an abandoned hospital. According to Tales of the Walking Dead, this isn’t how the ASMR-friendly bad guys began at all. Alpha (still going by her real name at this time) was wandering through the forest with Lydia in tow when an enigmatic group emerged from all sides. These proto-Whisperers were led by a woman calling herself Hera, who promptly knocked Alpha out cold. Tales of the Walking Dead doesn’t show what happens next, but Samantha Morton’s character later tells Hera’s remains “you showed me love,” which seemingly confirms the Whisperers took Alpha and her daughter into their flock sooner or later.
As seen in The Walking Dead, the Whisperers‘ leadership position can be challenged in a fight to the death. Tales of the Walking Dead implies Alpha challenged Hera, defeated her, and led the Whisperers until being killed by Negan in The Walking Dead season 10.
Alpha’s Mask Origin Explained
The Walking Dead‘s Whisperers famously don skin masks taken from corpses, and although Alpha’s disguise was always recognizable by its bright blonde hair, the main series never revealed which unlucky donor provided it. The Walking Dead season 9 revealed how Beta’s mask was once the face of his deceased best friend – a way the big guy could carry the spirit of the person he loved most. Logic always suggested that Alpha’s mask would hold a similar significance, and Tales of the Walking Dead episode 3 finally explains the secret connection. After Alpha defeated Hera and claimed the Whisperers for herself, she skinned her predecessor’s skull and wore her face until the day of her own demise. Pulling on the skin of your former boss every morning is a pretty big power move – even for Alpha – and this small detail retroactively makes Samantha Morton’s Walking Dead antagonist even more brutal and sadistic than she already was.
Tales Of The Walking Dead Ep. 3 Explains A Weird Morgan Line
Way back in The Walking Dead season 3, Lennie James made only his second-ever appearance as Morgan Jones with “Clear.” Morgan was suffering a mental breakdown after the death of his son, Duane, at this point, and mentioned “people wearing dead people’s faces” to Rick Grimes in his frenzied state. Fans pondered whether Morgan had actually encountered the Whisperers six seasons early, but that he couldn’t be sure what was real and what was a grief-induced hallucination. Morgan, of course, switched from The Walking Dead to Fear The Walking Dead before the Whisperers became major players, leaving no opportunity to see whether he’d recognize the skin-wearers. Tales of the Walking Dead episode 3’s revelation that the Whisperers pre-date Alpha makes the idea of Morgan Jones crossing paths with these future enemies before his reunion with Rick far more likely.
Even if Tales of the Walking Dead‘s writers had Morgan’s “people wearing dead people’s faces” line in mind when deciding the Whisperers existed before Alpha, that still doesn’t change how the connection was completely accidental. The Walking Dead‘s “Clear” was written by Scott M. Gimple, who subsequently confirmed he had no idea about the Whisperers when penning the episode, since they hadn’t yet appeared in Robert Kirkman’s comics. Still, it’s fun world-building to imagine Morgan ran into Hera and her people as early as The Walking Dead season 3.
Alpha Didn’t Invent The Whisperers’ Tactics Or Way Of Life
Not only did The Walking Dead heavily imply that Alpha started the Whisperers, flashback scenes hinted that the Whisperer philosophy came directly from the artist formerly known as Dee. An early apocalypse Alpha is shown muttering about “strength” and how the world now belongs to the dead in The Walking Dead‘s backstory scenes, and these attitudes directly feed into how the Whisperers behave and act in the present-day timeline. And yet Tales of the Walking Dead episode 3 makes exactly the opposite claim, revealing the Whisperer methodology was already fully-formed by the time Alpha hopped aboard.
Hera’s Whisperers were already wearing zombie skins as disguises, and they were also using the “whisper” tactic when descending upon their prey, throwing hushed voices through the trees to disorientate targets. Hera’s people appear to have mastered the ability of walking unnoticed among the undead too, but whether Hera developed the Whisperer way of life herself or whether she’s just the latest leader in a long line is left to the audience’s imagination. Irrespective of who started the movement, Tales of the Walking Dead season 1, episode 3 proves the Whisperers’ most famous traits were absolutely nothing to do with Alpha.