Spoilers for AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead‘ will be found below.
Though we have seen them a few times this season already, The Whisperers were formally introduced to The Walking Dead this week in a huge way, after one of its members stabbed Jesus to death in one of the most shocking scenes in the history of the series. The Whisperers will stick around for at least the rest of the season (if not well into season 10) and will be the primary villains.
For the unfamiliar, let me just say this: It must suck to be a Whisperer. Of all the villains on The Walking Dead, this is the one I least understand, if only because I don’t understand why anyone would choose this life. Basically, they’re nomads. The wear the skin of walkers, walk amongst the zombies, and kill anyone who refuses to join their little cult. They also believe that the zombie apocalypse is a good thing, that all humans are animals, and that the apocalypse levels the playing field, so to speak. It’s basically a course correction for planet Earth.
These people are total nut jobs. I mean, just think about it: What kind of person willingly chooses to live inside the skin of a zombiefied corpse? Can you imagine the smell? Or how difficult it must be to eat around someone else’s dead mouth? How do they even decide what zombie’s skin to wear? Do they look at a pack of zombies and say, “What a beautiful suit of rotten skin! I’ll take that one! Just sew that dead woman’s face on top of mine.” Do they have to find a zombie that’s the perfect size so that their butt holes line up?
How do you even get a date when you’re covered in year-old, rotting flesh? Not that the men, anyway, have to worry about dating, because romance is not a thing in this cult. You think Scientology is bad? In this cult, they believe that rape is a social construct — and this is true even of the women (and girls) who are assaulted. It’s NBD. Rape is not a thing for dogs, so it’s not a thing with Whisperers, because the Whisperers believe that humans are no different than animals.
And friendships? Forget about it. They walk among other walkers. They spend their days milling around with zombies in large open fields looking for people to kill or recruit. What kind of social life is that? The zombies don’t even talk back? And even if they did, how would they refer to The Whisperers? Aside from Alpha and Beta, the Whisperers aren’t even allowed to have names because names are for people, and Whisperers aren’t people. They’re “animals.”
Also, what’s their recruiting pitch, anyway? “Hey! Come join us! You get to wear these cool skin suits and you get plenty of exercise shuffling around with other zombies! We’ll even teach you how to steer herds of zombies toward people you don’t like!”
Honestly, it’s hard to see the appeal, though I do appreciate how menacing they must be, carrying a herd of zombies around with them everywhere they go. Who needs guns when 50 zombies have got your back. That’s 24/7 security for which you don’t have to pay. You don’t even have to feed them because, like, they’re dead.
Personally, I don’t get it, but the idea of strapping someone’s corpse skin over your own must have some appeal, because according to Robert Kirkman’s source material, there are about 150 Whisperers. There are probably more Whisperers than there were members of the NXIVM cult. They do get to hang out with Samantha Morton, who plays their leader, Alpha, although I’d hardly call her a good leader. She literally prostitutes out her own daughter to gain advantage, so she’s not only a lousy leader, but a lousy mother.
Anyway, I don’t understand why anyone would decide to join a cult where everyone spends their rest of their pitiful lives pretending to be dead — that’s no way to live — but I do look forward to what kind of mayhem they can stir up in the back half of season 9. Killing Jesus was a good opening salvo. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.