WARNING: The following article includes spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 premiere, "We Are The End Of The World," which aired Sunday on AMC.
If there’s one thing we know about Alpha’s relationship with her daughter Lydia, it’s that it was never especially warm. In the Whisperer-centric second episode of the tenth season, we see that even when the pair were on their own in the past, Alpha was already attempting to toughen young Lydia up by forcing her to walk with the dead.
Lydia doesn’t handle the ploy as well as her mother, however, and almost gets them killed as a result. Yet, while Alpha gets mad at Lydia after they’ve found shelter and safety, she doesn’t hesitate to defend her daughter when she needs to.
And despite espousing a worldview that includes not having a name and feeling nothing, including fear, Lydia is the one person Alpha still feels attached to. In fact, her greatest moment of joy during the episode is when Lydia rejects her stuffed toy bunny and says she wants to be more like her mother. Alpha’s response is to tell Lydia she’s happy to hear it because if Lydia doesn’t become more like her, Alpha will be forced to leave her. Yet, no matter how cruel her words are, they seem like an idol threat. Alpha’s clearly been keeping Lydia alive for a long time, despite her daughter making things much more difficult.
Further evidence comes for her attachment to her daughter later in the episode. After Lydia goes off on her own to prove she can be strong too, Alpha screams at Lydia to never to leave her again.
In the present day, of course, Lydia has broken free of the Whisperers and is now part of the joint communities, leaving her mother’s brutal way of life behind for something more civilized. Yet, while we know that, it turns out Alpha has been lying about Lydia’s status to the Whisperers. She’s told everyone, including Beta, that Lydia is dead and that she killed her. She’s even built the story up as a tale of noble sacrifice.
Beta discovers the truth when he finds Alpha alone at their former camp site. Alpha has created a bed-like structure and is holding Lydia’s toy bunny. Beta quickly puts two and two together and realizes that not only is Lydia alive, Alpha wants to get her back. Beta is astonished -- and disappointed.
The revelation makes Alpha break down. She still thinks of Lydia as her “baby” no matter what she tells everyone else. Fortunately, Beta’s still her loyal soldier. He agrees not to tell the others that Lydia is still alive.
This episode makes it clear that Lydia is Alpha’s one big weakness. Her daughter is the one person who makes her feel her humanity. Yet, it’s clear that Alpha is also extremely conflicted about her feelings towards Lydia. She even informs Beta that Lydia was dead to her from the moment she was born because “she was not like me.” Merely acknowledging this makes Alpha extremely angry and she destroys the area she made for Lydia. It’s as if she’s trying to convince herself to let her daughter go, violently.
Yet, while Lydia is Alpha’s weakness, she may also be the person who makes her the most dangerous. After her breakdown, Beta informs Alpha that he saw smoke along their border with the joint communities. This information leads Alpha to decide they need to teach the people of the joint communities a lesson on the off chance they crossed the border. We already know that Alpha’s deadly. However, the fact that Lydia decided to stay with the joint communities instead of rejoining the Whisperers may make Alpha even more brutal towards these people, who she’s decided are her “enemy.”
The Walking Dead stars Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Khary Payton, Cooper Andrews, Avi Nash, and Samantha Morton. It airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.