Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead's "The Calm Before"
The Walking Dead season 9's "The Calm Before" shockingly killed off a number of main players; here are the biggest unanswered questions from the landmark episode. The inter-community fair is an event that The Walking Dead comic readers have been anticipating for some time, not because of the jovial atmosphere and spirit of togetherness, but because of Alpha's infiltration and subsequent murder spree.
As the celebration rolled on in the Kingdom, the Whisperers silently abducted ten revelers, beheaded each of them and then mounted their reanimated heads upon spikes to act as a "border" marking the group's territory. In an unexpected swerve, the selection of heads chosen for display on the AMC series was vastly different to those skewered in the comic books and the 10 unfortunate victims were revealed to be: Henry, Enid, Tara, Tammy Rose, Rodney, Adeline, Frankie, D.J, Ozzy and Alek.
Clearly learning from the poisonous reaction to season 6's Negan cliffhanger, The Walking Dead has seemingly taken a page out of the Game of Thrones playbook by filling the penultimate episode season 9 with death, doom and destruction, leaving one last hour to explore the fallout from those events. After such a momentous installment, there are naturally plenty of questions remaining. Here are the most pressing unresolved points coming out of The Walking Dead season 9, episode 15.
How Will The Allied Communities React To Alpha's Attack?
The Walking Dead's community fair gave the show's various leaders an opportunity to settle their differences and resolve to support each other moving forward. They also hammered out an agreement to stand by their fellow survivors in the event of an attack, stating that a strike against one community would be considered a move against all of them. The timing of this agreement could not have been better, as only a few hours later, Alpha's victims were discovered. The spiked heads came from all three of the major communities (Oceanside were clearly having a lucky day for once) but the newly-signed charter ensures that any future counter-attack will be a joint effort.
The closing moments of this week's episode saw Siddiq give an emotional and solemn tribute to the recently fallen characters, but, interestingly, his words were very far from a call to arms. As a result, and if recent The Walking Dead history is anything to go by, there will likely be some division regarding how to respond to the Whisperers' attack, with some wanting an immediate and strong rebuke, and others believing that further escalation will only result in more casualties.
This could lead to some interesting character splits in the near future. Carol, for example, is sure to be raging after Henry's death and determined to add Alpha to her lengthy list of victims but Ezekiel, on the other hand, has always been a proponent of peace. Will the King stand by his beliefs and clash with Carol, or will the death of his adopted son trigger the resurgence of Ezekiel's more aggressive side. Naturally, once the dust settles and all arguments have been had, there's only one course of action: war against the Whisperers. After all, no one watches The Walking Dead to see characters living in peace.
Will Alpha Unleash Her Horde?
Alpha's row of heads wasn't the only memorable comic moment included in this week's The Walking Dead. In the source material, Alpha tries to threaten Rick into cooperation by showing him a huge crowd of amassed zombies that the Whisperers are able to steer and control. This scene was faithfully played out on TV this week but, with Rick having disappeared earlier this season, Daryl Dixon was the man on the receiving end of Alpha's chilling warning.
Daryl is now fully aware of the Whisperers' capabilities - both in terms of their large numbers and the monstrous horde currently being held ominous over his head. This could create an interesting dynamic, as Daryl is usually one of the first to opt for a strong and violent solution to any new enemies, but his awareness of the potential carnage Alpha could unleash may force him to advocate a more cautious approach for once.
Of course, Alpha has several reasons not to follow through on her destructive threat. Her daughter Lydia is now a resident of Alexandria and the horde is a card Alpha can only play one time. For those reasons, it's likely that the Whisperers will only resort to releasing their zombie collection after all other options have been exhausted. Unfortunately for the allied communities however, the laws of storytelling dictate that now the horde has been introduced, it's only a matter of time until it gets used. The real question is whether the show's remaining heroes can survive the onslaught.
Who Will Take Over At Hilltop?
The leadership position at Hilltop has emerged as somewhat of a poisoned chalice in recent seasons. Original chief, the cowardly Gregory, was executed by Maggie, who in turn left the community for reasons currently still unclear. Maggie's de facto successor, the man known as Jesus, became one of the Whisperers' first victims earlier in The Walking Dead season 9 and now his understudy, Tara, has ended up with her head on a spike. This leaves a sizeable question mark over who will now take charge of the Hilltop community and, perhaps more pertinently, who would even want to?
While the likes of Daryl, Alden and Magna could all be considered potential candidates, truthfully there are no obvious contenders to take over from Tara, with Daryl a notorious loner and the others relatively new additions to The Walking Dead's cast. Because of this, it's possible that Hilltop will remain without a leading figure, at least for the time being. With war very much now on the horizon, the community could exist under the command of Alexandria or the Kingdom.
Such a scenario could also pave the wave for Maggie's eventual return. Reports have always suggested that the current intention is for Lauren Cohan to return in The Walking Dead season 10 and if Hilltop hold off on appointing a new leader straight away, they may just find their old one returning in time to save the day. As has already been speculated, Maggie's return may then lead directly into the comic books' first post-Whisperer arc, the discovery of the Commonwealth.