Are The Zombies In Walking Dead Talking

Maria Garcia
• Wednesday, 28 October, 2020
• 7 min read

To conclude Sunday night's Episode 9×06, Eugene had to keep his “testicular heft” on reserve as he and Rosa hid from a massive herd of walkers. After they buried themselves in mud, hoping the walkers would pass them by as Eugene's injury did not allow them to outrun them, something perplexing happened.

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In Robert Kirkman's source material, a group of villains was introduced beyond the All Out War story which called themselves the Whisperers. This group wears the flesh of the dead and walks among them, acting barbarically and keeping their voices to a whisper as a means to blend in.

Ruthless in her ways, Alpha insists any member of her group leave any signs of civilization behind. Alpha's daughter, Lydia, becomes a problem when she develops a relationship with Carl Grimes.

Second in command among the Whisperers is Beta, played by Sons of Anarchy and Remember the Titans star Ryan Hurst. After the group became what Alpha deemed a threat, she kidnapped several survivors including a pregnant Rosa and King Ezekiel, beheading them and placing their reanimated heads on spikes.

These spikes would mark their territory and serve as a warning to Rick which claimed he and his people are not to step into Whisperer-land. Sunday's “The WalkingDead teaser made this scene from the season nine trailer stand out more.

The end of Sunday's episode showed Rosa and Eugene flocked a giant herd of the undead. I've seen the moment a few times now, and it looks like AMC has dialed up the volume, so you can make out that the undead are speaking much more clearly.

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When fans initially saw the scene in last week's teaser, many were immediately stunned. Those who have read Robert Kirkman's comic series know this is the introduction of the next big villains, The Whisperers.

They wear the skin of walkers to blend into giant hordes and use them for safety. The difference is that it's two characters named Marco and Ken who hide from the Whisperer horde in the comics.

Their introduction came as a complete surprise because a character thinks he hears the zombie stalking, only for it later to be revealed to be a living person in a zombie skin. The group shows what happens when you don't try to rebuild civilization and instead devolve into your natural animal instincts.

A post shared by Ryan Hurst (@rambodonkeykong) on Oct 13, 2018 at 9:34am PDT Oct 13, 2018 at 9:34am PDT According to the Whisperers, the old way of life was dead and humans had to now embrace their inner, volatile animal nature.

Beta, unlike most other Whisperers, never took off his skin mask and became violent when people insisted he should. While the first seasons of the AMC TV series focused on the horror of zombie attacks, the show eventually transitioned into a malicious “humans are the biggest monsters of all” motif. Their presence will bring back a lot of the horror elements the show ditched once everything turned into a turf war between fighting factions.

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Though Andrew Lincoln leaving the series doesn't sync up with the comics at all, the Whisperers do, as this crazy cutthroat crew appears after the two-year time jump (that in the show became six years, in order to age-up Judith and move a little further past Rick's disappearance). The conflict in the comics all started when the Whisperers kidnapped several key members of neighboring townships because they felt like the surrounding communities were getting too close to their borders.

In between growls, the walkers were clearly asking questions like “Where are they?” The zombies said “Where are they?”, “They must be close” and “Don’t let them get away.” It was a little tough to understand because the words were hidden among growls and said at a whisper level. It will be interesting to hear Eugene and Rosa report back to Alexandria about what happened.

Of course, if it hadn’t been for Eugene making some calculated mistakes, they wouldn’t have heard this at all. The walkers were approaching as a herd when Eugene was up in the water tower.

He probably should have just stayed up there until they passed, rather than trying to climb down the long ladder superfast and injuring his knee, and then endangering Rosa’s life too. NEXT, a few clues you might have noticed from today’s episode without spoiling exactly what’s happening.

There have been other times on the show when walkers appeared to act differently and viewers weren’t sure how to take it. In Season 3, Episode 12, called “Clear,” Morgan tells Rick something about hearing walkers talking to him.

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Scott Simple later said that he didn’t even know about Kirkman’s plan for the comics yet when this line was delivered. In one episode, a walker tried to use a rock to break a window, for example.

His take on walkers diverged quite a bit from the comics, and he made them smarter than the source material. The short answer is no, walkers can’t talk in The WalkingDead universe, and they haven’t suddenly gotten stronger.

In fact, these aren’t zombies at all, but a different scenario entirely called The Whisperers. The WalkingDead‘s first episode post-Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) revealed a brave new world set nearly a decade in the future.

But nothing might have been more surprising to fans of the series than the very last scene, when it appeared that (Spoilers, though it’s in the headline so whatever) the zombies have started talking. In the episode, titled “Who Are You Now?” Eugene (Josh McDermott) and Rosa (Christian Serranos) are attempting to escape a zombie herd that’s flooding their location.

They stumble to a river bank, throw themselves down below the road that passes by it, and cover themselves in mud. They lie there, still, covered in mud, hoping the camouflage will take care of their scent and hide them from the walkers (and that they won’t divert from their path).

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And then it happens: deep breathing pumps up on the soundtrack, and a raspy voice says, “don’t let them get away.” Eugene and Rosa lay there, frozen in confused terror as we cut to credits. What you’re actually hearing is the first of a group called The Whisperers, humans who dress themselves in zombie skin-suits and walk with the undead.

That includes little things like rules and laws going out the window, with plenty of cannibalism and rape to go around. Beta, meanwhile, is a massive enforcer with a half zombie mask and two giant knives, to be portrayed by Sons of Anarchy star Ryan Hurst.

But when they do in the comics, though they initially fly under the flag of peace (or at least, coexistence), that quickly sours into the biggest bloodbath since Began (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was introduced on the show. And their anarchic nihilism will pose a major challenge to the tentative peace currently enjoyed on the show.

As the aforementioned 12-word phrase hisses forth from the passing army of the dead, it's hard not to wonder how Eugene and Rosa didn't die immediately from fright. Their stunned silence speaks volumes, both for the characters who inhabit the WalkingDead universe, and fans who have watched from a comfortable distance for several years.

The longer answer is ahead, and contains comic book spoilers, so proceed with the same level of caution you would exercise around this guy. In Robert Kirkman and Charlie Ad lard's WalkingDead comic book series, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang eventually stumble upon a new group of opponents known as The Whisperers.

The Whisperers are responsible for the most vicious attack on the group since the arrival of Began (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), one that even rivals the war with the Saviors in terms of barbaric brutality. Suffice it to say, there are two characters still actively involved in the WalkingDead TV series who do not survive the opening act of the so-called Whisperer War, a notion that's even more devastating to consider given the characterization of these individuals in the new time-jumped status quo.

Since Rick's exit from the AMC series, The WalkingDead has undergone a six year time-jump during which many things have changed. Machine has grown more cautious and perhaps a bit paranoid in her role as Alexandria's head of security, Carol has married Ezekiel and become the Kingdom's “Queen”, and Daryl has completely isolated himself, living in the woods alone.

The fate of Hilltop remains a mystery, but Lauren Cohan also left the series following last week's episode, so at the very least, someone besides Maggie must now be in charge. They are also perhaps the most anticipated villains since Began, and the buzz surrounding their arrival has been building ever since the major roles of Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Beta (Ryan Hurst) were cast.

They mask their distinctly alive smell by wearing the skins of the walkers they kill, cleaning and tanning them like leather, so they won't catch diseases. They make a point of only speaking in whispers when near the walkers (hence the name) and move at the same slow, lumbering pace, which further helps them to go unnoticed by the dead.

The Whisperers are people who have regressed to a more primitive state, abandoning their humanity in order to survive in this harsh world ruled by the dead. The leader of the Whisperers is woman simply referred to as Alpha, and she strictly adheres to this primal way of living.

Her most recent assignments for Screen Rant include (but are not limited to): The Flash, Star Wars Rebels, The WalkingDead, and Game of Thrones. When she’s not trying to transform her rambling thoughts into written words, Sarah can be found playing SMITE, catching up on her pull list, or escaping through travel documentaries on Netflix.

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