Samantha Morton as Alpha on AMC’s The Walking Dead.
What makes a truly formidable villain? I ask myself that a lot whenever I watch a television series, film, or read a book. There are so many villains emerging across the screen and page, but I find myself drawn to the villains with buried layers.
The ones that make you stop and think about how our choices can lead us down a dark path and how the difference between right and wrong is not always set in stone.
When it comes to TWD, Negan was always my go to villain, but can we really classify him as a villain now? To me, Negan is more of a former foe and he seems to be growing as an anti-hero. When The Whisperers were first introduced, we met Alpha and I immediately saw the potential for a villain who would not back down. Please note some spoilers are ahead if you are not caught up on the series.
Alpha has been making her mark and she really cut deep with that heartbreaking cliffhanger episode in season 9. Just thinking about it still gives me chills! There is this raw quality to Alpha. She is a survivor through and through and she refuses to let weakness taint this instinct. And yet, when it comes to Alpha herself, she clearly does have a weakness when it comes to her daughter, Lydia.
In season 10, episode 2, we are presented with Alpha’s backstory and it really put things into perspective for me. I never thought that I would feel any type of sympathy or understanding toward Alpha and yet I now see her in a completely different light. Alpha gives new meaning to the survival of the fittest concept and she understands that order must be followed to truly maintain power and unity.
However, the slivers of humanity presented make her a complex villain and I really started to think about if we can ever truly classify good guys and bad guys? After all, the bad guys always think they are the good guys and vice versa, but Alpha’s unconditional love for her daughter does seep into her decisions as a leader. She initially spares Gamma’s sister’s life because she understands what it feels like to be a mother without her child.
That being said, Alpha understands that she needs to keep this part of her hidden from the rest of the group. Any sign of weakness on her part could weaken the whole and she knows that examples must be set.
Samantha Morton is absolutely haunting and captivating as Alpha. There’s something about the way she looks at you, almost like she is looking right through to the very depths of your soul, bringing this necessary and chilling quality to her character.
What’s next for Alpha? We’ll have to wait and see, but it looks like she is ready to punish our group for crossing the line. Alpha’s actions can be beyond ruthless, but can Lydia still get through to her somehow? I have some knowledge of what happens in the comics and I’m wondering if the ultimate showdown will stay true to that or if we have just set up something even more interesting between Carol and Alpha?
I sort of like the idea of these two strong mothers going up against each other, but of course I’m always ready to throw Negan into the mix to shake things up! Either way, I think that Alpha’s past really revealed so much about her character. Samantha Morton is fantastic and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
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