One way The Walking Dead has managed to stick around so long is by using cast member additions.
While this formula may have worn out its welcome around seasons seven and eight when the discovery of multiple communities added over a dozen new cast members for fans to try and keep up with (or not), season nine roped things in a bit.
There’s still a lot of faces on the show, but now they’re being added at a much tamer pace. Coupled with the fact the main characters like Daryl, Carol, and Michonne are back in the spotlight, the show is on the right track again. Warning, spoilers ahead.
One of the most interesting additions in season nine was Lydia. The young daughter of Alpha, who leads the Whisperers, Lydia was originally in line with her mom’s way of thinking. Unsurprisingly, her time on the road with her mother and her mother’s partner, she’d adopted their animalistic mentality.
She was so deep in that mentality that when she ended up at the Hilltop Colony, she claimed places like that weren’t supposed to exist anymore. It was also a somber reality when she heard a baby cry and began freaking out – after fans saw how her mom was ready to let a baby be devoured by walkers to stop it from crying, it’s safe to assume she saw some horrible things during her time walking with the Whisperers.
Thankfully for Lydia, she was welcomed to the community after it was discovered her mother had been beating her. Her place in the community hasn’t come without contention, but she’s officially with the protagonists now. In the tenth season, the evolution of her character will continue.
Lydia will be learning some combat skills, which will help her earn her keep at the community. She’ll be learning largely from Daryl, who remains Hilltops de facto leader since Maggie’s departure and Jesus’s death. Daryl’s decision to allow Lydia to stay with the group is what drew the ire of Alpha, leading in large part to the multiple deaths near the season finale.
One has to believe Alpha would’ve taken vengeance for the group crossing into her territory anyway, even though she originally said there would be no conflict. But having her own daughter walk away from her affected her deeply. What’s more, it affected her in a way the staunch and near-emotionless Alpha largely didn’t think was possible.
Lydia was originally a love interest for Carl in the comics, and for Henry in the TV show. Now that both are gone, there aren’t a lot of people around for her to have that type of connection with. With Daryl and Carol acting somewhat like parents to her, she’ll at least have somewhat of a family in her new home.
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