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The Walking Dead - Omega - Review

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The Walking Dead “Omega” was written by Channing Powell and was directed by David Boyd. This episode introduces Samantha Morton as Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers and the psychotic mother of Lydia (Cassady McClincy), and it features particularly memorable performances by Norman Reedus (Daryl) and Angel Theory (Kelly). However, I found this to be one of the most boring episodes of the series. Maybe it was just way too much backstory on characters whom we’ve had no time to form an attachment to. We know have more information on Lydia and Alpha than we ever got about Jesus – or Aaron – or even Negan!

The episode is interspersed with Lydia, her mother, and her father Frank’s (Steve Kazee) backstory. Young Lydia is played by Scarlett Blum. It only becomes somewhat clear as the episode plays out that Lydia’s memories have been warped by her mother. As Lydia tells Henry (Matt Lintz) her story, Daryl listens. Henry – is as usual – an idiot. When he asks what happened to Lydia’s dad, she tells him he was an idiot and that her mom kept her alive – after Henry has already said that Carol (Melissa McBride) isn’t someone to mess with. As Lydia talks about her father, we get a glimpse of his actual death – he was wounded in the neck and bled to death, but it’s not a walker attack. Lydia tells Henry that Alpha is a lot like Carol – you don’t mess with her either. And maybe there was a time when Carol was more like Alpha – Iike back at the prison.

Tara (Alanna Masterson) leads a party, with Kelly, Magna (Nadia Hilker), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Kal (James Chen), and Marco (Gustavo Gomez) out to look for Alden (Callan McAuliffe) and Luke. They find a group of walkers eating their horses – why always the horses!?!?!? – and Connie points out that the horses were killed with knives – not by walkers. Yumiko wants to split up and keep looking, but Tara takes charge. She says it’s not safe out there anymore – and clearly Lydia lied about it only being her mother left out there – good for you Tara! She tells them they should head back, get behind the walls, and make a plan. Kelly gets right in Tara’s face, but she doesn’t back down – she just heads back.

Henry tries to give Lydia his extra egg, Lydia tells him that hunger is a gift – and then wants to know why he’s being nice to her. He tells her that when he, and his brother and father were first found, they were pretty messed up and it took a lot of being nice to them. When Henry asks about hunger being a gift, Lydia tells him he wouldn’t understand if she has to explain it. Lydia also tells Henry that her father taught her that things would never be all right again.

In the flashback, we see her father start cutting off his beard – it’s the end of the world and he’s going to do what he wants now. In the first flashback, it’s her mother singing Lydia the tattooed lady to Young Lydia and it’s her mother with the tattoo of Lydia on her arm. In this flashback, her mother plays checkers with her and when Lydia makes a winning move she says “checkmate” – in the present Lydia says HE – and then corrects herself to say, SHE always said that, but it seems clear that what has really happened in reality is that her father was really the nice one who loved her – and it was her mother cutting of her hair that Lydia really remembers – not her father cutting off his beard.

Henry thinks that Lydia’s mom sounds nice. Lydia then starts asking about Carol and Ezekiel (Khary Petyon) – and the Kingdom. Henry is spilling the beans about the Kingdom when Daryl finally burst in and pulls the dumb ass out. And then Henry gets pissed off that Daryl was listening – and using him! He also insists that Lydia is a good person who got messed up out there. Henry calls Daryl an asshole! Idiot.

Daryl brings Lydia some antibiotics because he thinks her ear is infected. He asks her what her mother would do if she came across the two missing people. Lydia tells him that she’d do whatever she had to. In the next flashback, Frank is clean shaven but holding Lydia. It’s her mother who kills one of the other people in hiding with them to shut him up. And it’s in that flashback that we see that Frank is the singer with the Lydia tattoo. Lydia tells Daryl that it was her father who would sing to her. Daryl tries again with the antibiotics – and he tells her that there are a lot of good people there who will help her if she’ll help them. When she makes a play for the water ladle, Daryl grabs her arm and sees the marks where she’s been beaten.

Magna is the one to counsel caution when Yumiko wants to sneak out to continue looking. Kelly is absolutely on board with going after Luke – even if it costs them everything they might have at Hilltop. Kelly has seen where the teenagers sneak out. And even though they think they’ve avoided the guards seeing them, they don’t.

Daryl comes back down to see Lydia, bringing a birch switch with him. He tells her that some Dads will come up with any excuse to justify beating their kids. Maybe they’re drunk, maybe they can’t get drunk – belts are good, but these assholes aren’t picky. Daryl has picked up on the inconsistencies in her story. Her dad sounds like the kind of asshole who’d beat his kid for any excuse – except for the part where he sang to her. Daryl points out that these Dads like it when you’re scared – furthermore, the real problem is that singing-Dad – clearly doesn’t want her to be scared – and it’s the only part of her story that doesn’t sound like bullshit to him. Daryl also points out that Lydia clearly knew what the birch switch was and her arm was clearly recently beaten – a pretty good trick if her dad is dead. Lydia admits that he mother beat her – and when Daryl wants to know where her mother is, Lydia tells him to be glad he doesn’t know. Daryl wants to know why she’s protecting her – Lydia is safer where she is, but Lydia insists that Hilltop isn’t “real.” The world changed – it’s the world of the dead now and it’s not changing back. Her mother walks because it’s the dead’s world and everyone has to live in it.

Lydia insists that her mother does what she has to for a reason. If you’re soft, you die – so the beatings are keeping her from being soft! In the next flashback, Lydia’s mother has the shaved head – and Dad has the beard. It’s also clearly just after her mother killed the other guy. Suddenly, instead of wearing a “mom” type dress, her mother is in jeans and a sweatshirt. Her father is the one comforting her.

As everyone sleeps, Young Lydia gets up and investigates the dead guy. And of course, it’s just as he re-animates. In this memory, Lydia takes responsibility for her father being attacked and bitten. Daryl tells her that she was just a little girl and it wasn’t her fault. Lydia however says she was stupid and deserved to die, but her father was soft – and he’s the one how died. Daryl asks what he was supposed to do – watch his daughter get bitten? Lydia spouts more of her mother’s wisdom – if you can’t bend, you break. Daryl insists that they are making it better – they’re building things back up. Lydia insists that Daryl doesn’t belong with these people. She tells him that he’s hard – and the others are soft. Lydia wants to know what happened to Daryl.

Henry takes a turn at listening and tells Daryl that he could have just asked him to help. Daryl tells Henry that Lydia is just too messed up. He’s done. She’s Tara’s problem, but Henry wants to know what’s going to happen to her. And then Henry actually shows some insight. I really wish that Lintz was a better actor. He’s not bad in this scene – but had this storyline played out more as it did in the comics, it should have been Carl befriending Lydia – and this scene would have been amazing. At any rate, Henry asks what we’ve already suspected – did someone beat Daryl? Daryl doesn’t answer – he just turns around to look at Henry, so we don’t even see his face. We do see the back of his vest however, reminding us that he’s lost one of those angel wings – is that due to Daryl losing some of his humanity – his softness – in being apart from the others?

Henry then goes on to relate how Ezekiel had once asked Carol why she kept her hair so short. Carol told him that when it was long, her first husband would grab it and slam her against the wall, so one day, she just cut it off. Henry surmises that her long hair now is because it took her this long to feel safe again. It’s an interesting contrast to Lydia’s mother’s hair…

Henry tells Daryl that sometimes Daryl seems like the kind of guy who slams people into walls, but he doesn’t really thing that’s it at all. Daryl tells Henry that he should listen to people talk. Henry insists that Lydia’s people might be bad, but she isn’t – she’s just scared and Daryl can show her that there isn’t anything to be afraid of. Daryl tells Henry that he’s not the only one who can show Lydia there’s nothing to be afraid of there.

Back out in the woods, the group are stupidly wandering about in the woods. Yumiko brings up Coalport – where something clearly happened with the group – they made a choice – not to die? Or not to help? The group is suddenly surrounded by sickos. Yumiko says that they have to go back and figure out a plan – exactly as Tara said. However, Kelly won’t find Luke – who is the one who saved her at Coalport. So naturally, Connie and Kelly stay out to look – because 2 is safer than 4? There’s also a whisperer watching them….

Henry goes back to Lydia and tells her that he couldn’t wait to talk to her because he likes her and thinks she’s a good person. He wants to show her that Hilltop is a good place with good people. So he lets her out – they have to stay quiet and out of sight of the good people though….  As they hide from some of the others, she finds some worms and starts eating them – she sucks the dirt off one and offers it to Henry… who eats it… Easily, the grossest thing ever on this show. When Henry trips over a brick, I thought for sure that Lydia would use that on him. Henry gives her the run down on Hilltop – Enid is the doctor and Hilltop has been there for 6 years now. Meanwhile, Lydia has found a hammer and is lovingly stroking it. Lydia doesn’t want to believe it – her mother said it couldn’t exits…

And then Lydia hears a baby crying – and has another flashback. And it all starts to fall into place for her. She asks Henry to put her back in the cell. Meanwhile, we see that Daryl is still watching. Henry puts her back and tells her that he’s sorry. She stops him from going and asks him to stay the night with her. The two lie down on either side of the bars of her cell – and Henry puts his hand in and takes hers.

The next morning, Daryl brings her breakfast and finds Henry there. Lydia tells Daryl that her ear hurts – everything hurts – and she asks for the pills. This time he lets her take the ladle. Lydia tells them that her mother isn’t coming for her. If someone dies, they all just carry on like they never existed. They don’t come into contact with big groups unless they don’t have any choice. Lydia tells them that she was trying to learn as much as she could so that she’d have something to give them so that they’d take her back – Henry is appalled – Lydia is her daughter!

Daryl wants to know about their missing people. Lydia tells them that she couldn’t think of any reason her mother would keep them alive. She also tells them where their camp is – maybe a mile east – but they don’t stay in one place long. Henry wants to know if any of the story about her family is true. Lydia tells him that she thought all of it was – because she need it to by. But she had it all mixed up. She want’s lying but it was what her mother told her over and over for years. Deep down, however, she knew what her mother was and what she did – and we get the final flashback and see what really happened. Her mother knifed her father in the neck. Daryl stops her from saying it. Lydia apologizes for wasting their time, but Daryl assures her that she didn’t.

Henry follows Daryl outside looking for answers as to how Lydia’s mother could have don’t that to her. Daryl tells him that some people weren’t meant to be parents. Henry wants to know what happens next – can Lydia stay? Daryl says he’s going to talk to Tara – but about the camp. Henry then tells Daryl that he’s glad Daryl and his mom are friends. I loved Reedus’ reaction here – it’s very subtle.

Yumiko goes to talk to Tara – the guards saw them sneak out, so Tara asks what they found – nothing. Tara then asks Yumiko to come and talk to her the next time she doesn’t agree about a decision so that they can just discuss it. I really liked this development with the new and improved Tara. She admits that she’s new to leading – but she doesn’t want anyone else to die, including them. Meanwhile, from the wall, we see that the guards have also rounded up Kelly and Connie – though stupidly, Connie is lagging way behind.

And then the Whisperers are there – Connie sees them through the corn and goes to hide while the others run to get behind the walls. Alpha is there without her mask. Instead of stupid two-tone Jadis hair, we have no hair.

There were plenty of individually good scenes, and I did like how the flashbacks weren’t what they seemed at first, but I still found this episode just a bit slow. What did you think? Are you excited about Alpha now? Can Lydia be trusted? Would so many years of torture and conditioning be overcome by a very little kindness and one crying baby? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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