HOLLYWOOD—There tends to be one of those episodes, every season in “The Walking Dead” where we get those backstory arcs for a new character that has just been introduced to the narrative. This week audiences got the inside scope on the newest threat to our heroes, aka ‘The Whisperers’ and its leader Alpha portrayed by Samantha Morton. Was I slightly bored at first with this narrative? Yes, but as things moved along, I started to wonder if Alpha is the most ruthless threat our protagonists have faced to date, even more than Negan himself.

The episode, ‘Omega’ was a blueprint to the troubling childhood of Lydia. The fun thing about this episode is I didn’t know if what Lydia was saying half the time was true or not. I guess that is the power of great writers. On one side of the coin, she makes her mother appear to be a saint and a father the Devil, but all is not as it seems. Henry was really able to infiltrate Lydia in an interesting way, but the kid is way too trusting; he has no idea how cruel of a world this can be.

Tara, Magna, Mika, Kelly and Connie decided to search for Alden and Luke to no success, not aware they were being watched from a distance. It was apparent that Frank and Alpha had a turbulent relationship, one where Frank was more consoling to a young Lydia. Daryl eavesdropped on Henry and Lydia’s conversation hoping to garner tidbits to give him an edge on the newest threat to their survival. Daryl, unlike Henry knows how to push just the right buttons to get answers, which was an eye-opener for the viewer: Lydia’s mom is ruthless.

She abused her daughter and would go to extreme lengths to ensure survival. Lydia while convincing, was not able to get a leg up on Daryl who was already aware that she was doing all in her power to escape. Despite Tara’s wishes, Magna, Kelly, Connie and Mika decided to leave the Hilltop in the middle of the night to search for Luke. Too bad they had no luck. Magna and Mika decided to head back as Kelly refused to leave Luke out their alone, which prompted Connie to stay by her sister’s side.

This left me on edge, realizing characters who were just introduced (who I happen to like) could meet a grisly demise. Daryl deciphered there was more to Lydia’s story about her dad’s demise than what she initially told and he was right. A walker did not murder her father, it was her mother. Lydia is petrified of her mother; the scars on her arm confirmed to Daryl that her mother beat her. The writers did a terrific job with this episode, because I immediately sympathized with this girl who is an emotional wreck thanks to her mother and her antics. Henry was way too trusting of Lydia and allowed her to roam town. She was ready to clock him in the head with a hammer, but the cries of a baby prompted her to want to be taken back to her cell. Whew, that was indeed a close one.

With morning upon us, Magna and Mika returned to the camp, and Tara was not surprised as her watchers spotted them leaving the night before. Cue the relief at the moment that I saw Connie and Kelly being led back to the camp. However, that relief was short-lived because a horde of walkers, actually the Whisperers were headed towards the Hilltop. Connie was not quite back behind safe quarters, and had to hide in the brush to ensure her safety.

From a distance, Tara, Daryl, Magna and Mika came face to face with a bald, eerie, fierce looking leader of the Whisperers, Alpha. She had one demand, the return of her daughter Lydia! Oh, the battle has begun and based on next week’s teaser it’s a game of cat-and-mouse, the question is who will give in first. Until next Sunday “Walking Dead” die-hards!