Warning! SPOILERS ahead for The Walking Dead midseason premiere!
With the Whisperers finally making their debut on The Walking Dead, actor Norman Reedus shares Daryl's take on the weird, new villains. After coming under attack in the midseason finale, the survivors are still in the dark about what it is they're up against, but very quickly the sick truth of the Whisperers is revealed.
The Walking Dead season 9 has been a season of change for the long-running AMC series. Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohen have exited the show, and while Cohen may yet return as Maggie Rhee, Lincoln won't be reprising Rick Grimes on the TV show but in multiple spinoff movies. These high profile departures have left some vacancy among the show's leads, opening the door for a character like Daryl to have an even larger role in the second half of The Walking Dead season 9.
While visiting the Atlanta set of The Walking Dead last fall, Screen Rant spoke with Norman Reedus about Daryl's expanded role in season 9, during which he shared what Daryl's take on the new villains, the Whisperers is:
"His first take is, ‘Take that thing off your face and let’s fight, right now.’ He goes straight up to her. He’s just like, ‘Let’s go. You look ridiculous. Let’s go.’ But he doesn’t win that, she outsmarts him. He’s been put in a situation that reluctantly he said yes to somebody to do something, and that thing has become this other thing and he’s stuck in it. He’s running back and forth, killing people, rescuing people, yelling at people, crying about it--he’s a mess."
In the midseason premiere, the survivors are still reeling from the Whisperer's ambush that left Jesus dead, but they do begin to better understand their new enemy. While initially there remained some mystery over what was going on with these unusual walkers, Daryl and the others soon realize they're actually up against people wearing masks made from the faces of the dead. That discovery changes how they approach the Whisperers, and before long, they dispatch with several of them and leave one alive to take as a prisoner.
Now, the "she" Reedus is referring to in his comments might be one of the Whisperers who Daryl tangles with in the premiere, or he could be teasing some forthcoming confrontation between himself and the Whisperer's leader, Alpha. Either way, the premiere did give the impression that the remainder of season 9 will be a stressful time for Daryl. In the wake of Jesus' death, Tara is now charge of Hilltop, but Michonne asks Daryl to stick around, knowing Hilltop will need his help sooner rather than later. This puts Daryl into a leadership position he doesn't really want, but then, that's partially the reason why he's the best man for the job.
The Walking Dead season 9 continues next Sunday, February 17th with "Omega" at 9pm/8c on AMC.