The Walking Dead has a new villain or more specifically villains. The Whisperers are the new challenge for our protagonists after Negan and his Saviours were dealt with. They have already claimed a major casualty in the form of Jesus in the eighth episode of the ninth season of AMC’s long-running zombie TV show. And Jesus is just the beginning.
The Whisperers are the deadliest villains The Walking Dead has ever seen, and this time the protagonists do not have Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes leading them.
The Whisperers are also hard to beat due to their methods. They wear the skins of walkers’ faces. This is not just for protection, like when Rick and others smeared gore on their bodies to walk among walkers, but is also intended to deceive their human enemies. Since they are among the walkers, they cannot talk out loud, and instead talk in whispers, which gets them their name.
The Evolution episode of the ninth season had Daryl, Jesus, and Aaron coming to the rescue of Eugene after Rosita’s flare shot. They meet Eugene, who informs that he heard the walkers whispering to each other, suggesting that they have evolved.
The Whisperers are undoubtedly dangerous enemies, but they are not evolved walkers. Instead, they are humans who have become more primitive. They see the zombie apocalypse as a reset button and think this is nature’s message that the human is ultimately an animal despite delusions of civilisation.
Their leader, who was introduced in the tenth episode (Omega) of the season, is called Alpha, just like the leaders among herd animals. Her second-in-command is similarly called Beta. The Whisperers do not emote like normal humans. Other humans are a threat to them and need to be killed on sight. They may not be too brainy, but they do have a certain animal cunning.
Alpha in the show is played by Samantha Morton. We were introduced to Alpha and her daughter Lydia’s backstories in a Lost-like sequence. Lydia remembers that her mother was a kind woman who sang to her during the early days of the apocalypse. But she is misremembering thanks to the lies fed by her mother, who was not at all a kind woman. It was her father who sang to her, and her mother murdered him and made her think it was all her fault.