Warning: Spoilers for the Midseason Finale of The Walking Dead will be found below.
This week’s midseason finale of The Walking Dead ended somewhat anticlimactically in a cave, where Daryl, Carol, Jerry, Aaron, and Magna found themselves trapped with hundreds of zombies (interestingly, I didn’t see Connie either enter the cave or in the final scene inside the cave, though she was definitely among them before they began chasing Alpha). The question viewers might have about that final scene, however, is this: who played who, which led all of them to end up in a precarious position in the bottom of a cave two months before the next episode?
Let’s break it down: They all found themselves in the cave because Carol chased after Alpha, but how did Carol know that Alpha would be there? Is it because Alpha got played when Gamma finked to Aaron about Alpha’s position after finding out that Alpha had not killed Lydia? Maybe. But the knowing smile that Alpha flashes when Carol follows her toward the cave suggests that Alpha had Carol right where she wanted her, which means that it wasn’t Alpha who got played in this scenario.
Carol found herself chasing Alpha into a cave because Gamma told Aaron that it is where Alpha would be. Aaron believed Gamma, who exchanged the information for the right to see her niece, the baby Alpha sacrificed to The Hilltop last season. So, did Gamma play Aaron? Despite her disappointment in learning that Lydia is still alive, does Gamma still feel so loyal to Alpha that she sold out Aaron and Co. and led them into Alpha’s trap? It’s possible. Dante, after all, knew about Lydia, but it didn’t stop him from killing Siddiq and serving other Whisperer interests from inside Alexandria.
Did Alpha sell out Gamma? This scenario actually makes the most sense. Alpha was keeping tabs on Gamma’s interactions with Aaron the entire time while testing her loyalty. Alpha saw Gamma’s loyalty wavering, so she set a trap for Gamma, feeding her information about her whereabouts that she knew Gamma would give to Aaron. Aaron took that intel to Carol, which led them all out into the forest, exactly where Alpha wanted them to be so that she could lure them into her trap.
In the end, it was all part of Alpha’s nefarious, master plan. She probably realized that Gamma would turn on her as soon as she learned that Aaron had given her a bandage for her wounded hand earlier this season. She knew that Gamma could not resist the kindness that Aaron showed her. Besides, Alpha had nothing to lose. If Carol had not appeared, Alpha would know that Gamma had been loyal. However, if Gamma tried to play Alpha, Alpha would be ready for it, waiting to lure Carol and others into a midseason finale cliffhanger.
In other words: Gamma tried to turn on Alpha, but Gamma got played.