Warning: Spoilers for the tenth The Walking Dead season, including this week’s episode, “Walk with Us,” will be found below.
“Took you long enough,” Carol says to Negan in the final seconds of this week’s episode, “Walk with Us,” as Negan rolls Alpha’s decapitated head over to her. In the previous scene, Negan leads Alpha out to an abandoned shack with the promise of reuniting her with her daughter, Lydia. Lydia, however, isn’t there (she is tied up in a different shack). Once Alpha realizes Lydia isn’t there, she turns around and Negan quickly slashes her throat, gently kissing her as Alpha bleeds out.
There’s a lot going on in this sequence, but let’s start with the most pressing: Why did Carol say to Negan, “It took you long enough?” Was Carol in on this the entire time? Well, yes. Sort of. Carol obviously had wanted to kill Alpha herself — which is why she chased her into a cave — but she did the next best thing: She put Alpha’s death in motion. Recall back in episode four of the season, “Silence the Whisperers,” someone allowed Negan out of his jail cell. The series misdirected us into believing it was Brandon — the mental Savior kid Negan eventually had to kill — but Carol is making it clear here that she released Negan because, as we wrote at the time, she was “hoping that Negan would go out and do what she wasn’t allowed to do: Kill Alpha.”
That is precisely what he did. Carol has got to love it when a plan comes together like this, even if it doesn’t come until after the destruction of The Hilltop.
The other question, however, is this: Why did Negan kiss Alpha as she was dying? Why did he seem so upset about having to kill her? The answer there comes in the earlier speech that Negan emotionally delivers to Alpha. Have we ever seen Negan emotional like that? On the brink of tears? No, but Alpha is very triggering for Negan, because she physically reminds him of his wife, Lucille, who was ravaged by cancer. Killing Alpha. brought that all back again, and it was more than Negan could handle.
What will be fascinating, however, is how this storyline moves ahead. Obviously, Beta will become the leader of The Whisperers, and I expect Negan will play a significant role in Alexandria’s battle against them. In the comics, he gained the trust of Rick — or at least, enough trust to be released from his jail cell — by bringing him the head of Alpha. Here, I expect, the head of Alpha will win him entry and a leadership position in Alexandria.