The Walking Dead dives deep into the Whisperers backstory. "Omega" is mostly a flashback episode about Lydia (Cassady McClincy) and her terrifying mother, Alpha (Samantha Morton). Daryl (Norman Reedus) uses Henry (Matt Lintz) as bait. Magna (Nadia Hilker) and Yumiko's (Eleanor Matsuura) group is accepted at the Hilltop, but fail to follow orders. Common sense doesn't prevail as characters continue to bumble about in the dangerous woods.

Omega opens up at day 23 of the apocalypse in a Baltimore shelter. The Emergency Broadcast System is blaring. A man called Frank (Steve Kazee) is tired of waiting. He yells at young Lydia (Scarlett Blum) and his doting wife (Samantha Morton) about leaving. The wife sings a song to comfort Lydia. At the Hilltop in the jail, Lydia tells Henry about her father while Daryl listens at the window. Henry talks about his birth parents, then Carol. He tells Lydia that Daryl is not his father. Lydia flashbacks to her father dying with a neck wound. She says never to mess with her mother.

Tara (Alanna Masterson) leads a search party for Alden and Luke. They find walkers eating their dead horses, who have been killed and sliced open. Tara decides they must return and come up with a master plan. In the jail, Lydia continues her story. Frank wants to leave. Her mother does not. Frank grabs a knife and starts shaving his beard in a mirror. He yells at his wife, he only wore it for her. The world is over. He can do what he wants now. Henry foolishly starts talking about the Kingdom. He reveals the location to Lydia, before Daryl bursts in and yanks him outside. Henry is furious that they've been using him as bait.

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Daryl brings Lydia some medicine. She's been tugging at her ear. He asks her about Luke and Alden, but she claims to know nothing. Daryl wonders what her mother would do if she found them. Back at the shelter, a man named Matias starts to panic. He attempts to escape out the boarded window, but is grabbed by Lydia's mother. She chokes him to death. Frank, without his beard, sings to Lydia as they watch her mother's savage act. Daryl says her mother did what she had to. He tosses her the medicine. She asks for water. When he brings the ladle, she tries to grab him. He yanks her arm, then pulls up her sleeve. Her arm is covered in lashes.

Magna's group is arguing in their room. Yumiko and Kelly (Angel Theory) want to continue searching for Luke. Magna doesn't want to betray Tara's orders, but is voted down. Daryl returns to the cell with a tree branch. He tears off the limbs while telling Lydia about abusive fathers. He asks who gave her the scars. Lydia admits it was her mother. Daryl wonders why she defends her mother. Lydia replies that soft people die. She flashbacks again to the shelter. But this time, it's her mother with a crudely shaved head. Her father has his beard back. He's the one comforting her, while her mother looks at Matias' body. That night, young Lydia gets up to explore the body. It lurches back as a walker. She screams when it attacks her, but it grabs her father instead. Tearing a chunk out of his neck. Lydia tells Daryl she deserved to die because she was soft. He replies no she wasn't and that they are building the world back.

Magna's group sneaks out of the Hilltop using the secret tunnel. They roam around for a while, but then Yumiko realizes that Nadia was right. This was a bad idea, they need to return. Henry confronts Daryl as he walks to Tara's office. He asks if Daryl was also beaten as child. He recounts the story Carol told him of why she had short hair. It was because her abusive husband used to grab it and slam her head. Kelly refuses, she cannot leave Luke behind. Connie (Lauren Ridloff) stays with her sister outside as the others return. A Whisperer watches from the shadows.

Henry returns to the jail to talk with Lydia. He unlocks her cell and takes her outside into the night. She digs up worms from a plant. She eats one, and then gives the other to Henry, who grimaces as he gulps it down. As Henry walks in front of her, Lydia grabs a hammer to hit him. But a baby's cry jerks her back to the shelter. She remembers her mother giving her the walker skin to wear. She puts the hammer down and begs Henry to take her back to the jail. He sleeps outside her cell. They hold hands through the bars.

The next morning, Lydia asks Daryl for the medicine. He entire body hurts. She accepts the water. She tells Daryl that her people would just leave her behind, that her mother probably has Luke and Alden. She gives Daryl the location of their camp. Henry asks if the story about her family was true. She now remembers what really happened at the shelter. Her mother was the one who wanted to escape, shaved her head. Her mother killed her father when he tried to stop them from leaving. Daryl tells her to stop. He's heard enough.

Yumiko and Magna return to the Hilltop. Tara is waiting for them. They were spotted leaving. Yumiko apologizes to Tara as they see Connie and Kelly in the distance. The Whisperers are right behind them. Connie hides in the bushes as Kelly is rushed to safety. Tara screams for Daryl. He races to the lookout as the Hilltop mobilizes. The Whisperers come up to the gate. A bald, fierce looking woman emerges. "My name is Alpha," she says. "I want one thing from you...my daughter."

"Omega" laid the groundwork to establish Alpha's ruthless character. Samantha Morton is a great actress. I have high hopes for her as the villain. We'll see how far the romance between Henry and Lydia goes. It's ludicrous how The Walking Dead continually has subplots of people roaming the woods. It makes no sense and is pure filler. The show is spending more time on Magna's group as central characters. So far they're utterly uninteresting. Tune in next week to AMC as Alpha demands Lydia's return.

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Julian Roman at TVweb
Julian Roman