This week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “We Are the End of the World,” provides viewers with the origin story of Alpha and Beta, who met seven years ago in an abandoned building and bonded over similar world-views (more on that in the upcoming recap). Even before Alpha and Beta created The Whisperers, however, Beta’s face is never seen. He’s wearing a ski mask in the flashbacks, and as we learn in this episode, his skin mask is made up of the face of his own dead son. It’s dark stuff.
Interestingly, however, we never see what’s under the mask, although Alpha does. In this episode, after a big monologue, Alpha takes a peek under Beta’s ski masks and offers a knowing grin. What’s that all about?
In the comics, when Beta is finally unmasked, he is revealed to be a famous basketball player from the pre-apocalypse days, much to the surprise of the Alexandrians who unmask him. He will not be revealed to be a basketball player on The Walking Dead TV series, however. He’ll be revealed to be a famous musician.
How do we know this? There wasn’t a lot of reasons to watch the latest season of Fear the Walking Dead, which might charitably be called a lost season. However, there was one very enjoyable Easter Egg in the 14th episode of the season when Daniel, a character played by Ruben Blades, drops a crate full of vinyl albums. While they are splayed out on the ground, one particular album stood out:
That album cover clearly contains a photo of Ryan Hurst, the actor who plays Beta on The Walking Dead, styled as what appears to be a whiskey-drinking country singer akin to Chris Stapleton. Clearly, Beta took the zombie apocalypse — and the death of his son — very hard, abandoned his fame, and leaned really hard into his anonymity.
In any respect, that explains why Alpha gave that mischievous and knowing grin when she lifted Beta’s mask. It was a look that said, “I know who you are, and I completely understand why you have chosen to mask yourself.”