Lydia (The Walking Dead)
|The Walking Dead character|
|Portrayed by||Cassady McClincy|
Comic book series
Lydia is one of the Whisperers to follow Paul "Jesus" Monroe, Darius and two other guards.[volume & issue needed] She is captured by Jesus.[volume & issue needed] She is put in a cell next to Carl's.[volume & issue needed] She tries to get information about the Hilltop community by talking to Carl,[volume & issue needed] and later starts a sexual relationship with him.[volume & issue needed]
Lydia is a survivor who, along with her parents, "Alpha" and Frank, survived the initial stages of the outbreak. After 23 days of the initial outbreak, Lydia and her parents remained in a moldy basement with a group of survivors. Lydia used to be naive about the state of the world and always spent time with her father, since her mother is a very cold person. After the death of her father, Lydia begins to have a nefarious treatment on the part of her mother. After being captured by Daryl and Michonne, and kept as a prisoner in a cell at the Hilltop, Lydia begins to form a bond with Henry. Lydia and Henry fall in love and begin a relationship, with her ultimately rejecting the Whisperers in favor of the other communities who agree to grant Lydia asylum. Lydia rejects the Whisperers completely and is disowned by her mother. However, her relationship with Henry is cut short when he is brutally murdered by her mother alongside several others.
In the mid-season premiere "Adaptation", as Daryl, Michonne, and the others return to the Hilltop, they spot six walkers following them and lure the group into a confrontation on a covered bridge. Three of the "walkers" turn out to be more humans in disguise. Daryl and Michonne kill two while the third, a young girl, surrenders and is taken prisoner back to the Hilltop. Eventually, Michonne's group returns to the Hilltop and the new threat of humans disguised as walkers is discussed. The girl is locked up and questioned, but she asserts all the others she knew died at the cemetery and the bridge. Daryl later rushes down to interrogate the girl again in earshot of Henry, who is also still locked up for past transgressions. Daryl finds that the girl's mother may still be out there, leading walkers against the various communities. After Daryl leaves, the girl introduces herself as Lydia to Henry and the two start to get to know each other; Daryl overhears this conversation. In the episode "Omega", Lydia describes her backstory to Henry while both are in the community prison, unaware Daryl is listening in. As Lydia explains, Henry starts to become more compassionate towards Lydia, his own family having gone through similar hardships. Daryl continues to talk to her as well, trying to scope out the size of her group as Lydia claims that they may be coming to save her. He finds her arm covered in marks, which she says came from her mom. Daryl, who had been similarly beaten as a child, displays sympathy for Lydia's abuse, but she proves to still be uncooperative. Lydia's stories are told in flashbacks throughout the episode to the months after the walker outbreak. She and her parents have taken refuge in a Baltimore shelter with others. Lydia's father's sanity starts to unravel and believes the shelter is no longer safe; however, her mother takes more command, willing to kill a survivor sheltering with them who is having a panic attack as she considers him too weak to survive. That night, the survivor turns while Lydia is watching and her father runs to save her, but ends up getting bit. This only serves to harden Lydia's mother, eventually leading them to don the masks made from walkers to survive. In the present, Henry decides to let Lydia out of her cell for a while and discreetly shows her the safety and facilities the Hilltop has to offer. While Lydia has an opportunity to take a hammer and strike Henry with it to escape, the cries of a baby cause her to panic and flashback to her past, and she begs to be returned to her cell. She asks Henry to stay with her through the night. When morning comes, Daryl returns and Lydia states that she doesn't think her mother will be coming, and she was only trying to scope out information for her. Lydia then tells them that her story was a lie, her mother having told her that story to blame her father's death on Lydia. In reality, when the survivor had turned, it wasn't Lydia's father that was bitten, but instead another survivor; her mother took the opportunity to try to make their escape from the shelter, killing Lydia's father when he refused to leave with them. Lydia mentions where her mother and her people may be camped, but notes that they frequently move about.
In the episode "Bounty", Alpha demands that the Hilltop community residents turn over her daughter Lydia. Inside the Hilltop, Daryl discovers that Henry and Lydia escaped. Addy tells him that she knows where they went; she and Enid head out to find them while Daryl stalls. Soon after, Enid and Addy are able to track down Henry and Lydia to an abandoned house near the Hilltop, where Henry has provided Lydia a new set of clothes. Lydia opts to leave on her own accord and is traded for Alden and Luke. Reunited, Lydia apologizes to her mother, but is smacked by Alpha across the face, ordering her to address her as "Alpha" like everyone else. In the episode "Guardians", As Alpha leads her group back to camp, she questions Lydia about her time at the Hilltop and to reveal any intel she learned while held captive, but her daughter claims that there was little of interest. Henry eventually catches up with Lydia and the Whisperers, and watches them from a close distance as they rest, but is found and grabbed by Beta, Alpha's second-in-command. Henry reveals that he came alone to get Lydia; Alpha decides that Henry is coming with them. On their way back to camp, Alpha asks Lydia why she didn't mention Henry. Lydia explains that he wasn't worth mentioning, but Alpha reminds her that he just risked his life to save her, so she must be lying. The Whisperers soon arrive back at their camp. At night, Beta takes Henry to Alpha. Unmasked, Alpha drops her knife and makes Lydia pick it up, commanding her to kill Henry with it so that she can prove what side she's on; Lydia picks up the knife and begins to cry. Her mother warns her not to be weak and that Beta will kill them both if she doesn't kill Henry. Suddenly, a small horde of walkers show up and begin eating the unmasked Whisperers, creating mass confusion. Alpha and the others quickly put on their masks so that they can try to lure the herd away. Moments later, Daryl and Connie arrive disguised as Whisperers to free and rescue Henry; they prepare to retreat. Daryl grabs Henry, who grabs Lydia, and together the four escape.
In the episode "Chokepoint", Daryl and Connie flee with Henry and Lydia from a group of Whisperers led by Beta within a horde of walkers. Connie directs them to an uncompleted high-rise that her group had taken shelter in before, where she shows to Daryl that they could isolate the Whisperers by laying an ambush on the upper floors. Unsure about Lydia's trustworthiness, Daryl locks her in a closet with Dog while they prepare for Beta's group to arrive. Lydia, fearing for Henry's safety, breaks out of the closet, in time for Dog to attack a Whisperer that was about to kill Henry, though Henry still ends up injuring his leg. With the Whisperers subdued, the group work to lure the walkers out of the ground floor so that they can escape, unaware that Beta is still alive at the bottom of the elevator shaft. In the episode "Scars", Aaron alerts Michonne of Daryl's presence at the Alexandria gates, including Connie, Henry and Lydia. Daryl vouches for Lydia to convince Michonne to let them take shelter. They stay long enough for Henry to get the medical care he needs, but Michonne refuses to provide them an escort to the Kingdom. That evening, Daryl, Connie, Henry and Lydia take off to return to the Kingdom, with Michonne seeing them off.
In the episode "The Calm Before", as the fair at the Kingdom begins, Daryl and Michonne arrive with Judith, Henry, Lydia, and Connie, reuniting with Carol and Ezekiel. Michonne brings all the leaders from the communities to apologize for Alexandria forgoing its relationships, that Alexandria will give asylum to Lydia, and to establish a mutual protection pact knowing that Alpha will likely retaliate. As the fair continues, Alpha has snuck into the fair, posing as one of the Alexandria fairgoers from the caravan and gathers intel. That night, as most of the fairgoers gather for the film, Lydia is saving a seat for Henry when Alpha quietly sits next to her and gestures for her to stay quiet. Outside the theater, Alpha tries to convince Lydia to come with her, but Lydia rejects her. Alpha tells her she is not strong and no longer part of her group, and departs. Daryl's group finds a line of ten decapitated heads on pikes, one of which is Henry, meant to signify Alpha's territory boundary. Sometime later, Daryl and Lydia return to the border. Lydia leaves the necklace Henry made for her on the ground by the pike that once held Henry's head. As the two walk away, snow flurries begin to fall.
In the season finale "The Storm", Ezekiel makes the decision to abandon the Kingdom, assembling a large caravan of the remaining survivors to seek out better shelter at the Hilltop; Daryl, Michonne, and Yumiko help to escort them. Lydia wanders into the forest and finds a walker half-buried in the snow. She takes off her glove while crying and offers her hand to the walker to commit suicide, but stops when Carol appears and follows her back to the group. Using the cover of the storm, the Kingdom's group passes the pikes into Alpha's territory, finding only frozen walkers along the way, and arrive at a river that has been frozen over. Carol goes looking for Lydia, who has disappeared, while the rest deal with rising walkers buried in the snow. She eventually catches up to Lydia, who realizes she's to blame for their situation and feels she can't stay with them. Since she can't go back to her mother, Lydia asks Carol to kill her, but Carol refuses Lydia's request and tells her that she is not weak. The group eventually make it to the waypoint and soon reach the Hilltop the next day. Daryl, Michonne, Carol, Lydia, and a few others prepare to depart and continue on to Alexandria.
Development and reception
Matt Fowler of IGN reviewed the episode "Chokepoint" and commented that "with regards to how much we expect Henry to screw up because he loves Lydia, he at least iss only dumb in a way that hurts himself - not others. His reluctance to kill Lydia's "family members" get him shanked in the leg." Fowler added that "Henry and Lydia got all kissy this week. Blerf. Have your teen romance, nightmare kids." Erik Kain of Forbes also reviewed the episode and commented on important parts of the story that have been hurried or glossed over, and that "Henry and Lydia's relationship, for instance, seems to have popped out of nowhere and blossomed much too quickly, with Henry falling head over heels for Lydia much too quickly. That's already gotten him in plenty of trouble, and it would have been more believable if their relationship had more time to grow and develop before Alpha came and took Lydia back." Kain ended his review by saying that "I'm hoping they can start writing Henry better---his naivete is just ridiculous when you consider they've written the far younger Judith as little miss badass---but I have hope. And I like Lydia."
Erik Kain from Forbes, in his review of the episode "Scars", explained that if he could have done the second half of the season differently, he would have started with this episode, and then "The next few episodes, build up the mystery of the Whisperers and Alpha instead. Don't rush the Lydia/Henry thing, and let their relationship grow more organically. Have the Alpha/Lydia revelations come after a while rather than so fast."
Erik Kain of Forbes, in his review of "The Calm Before", commented on multiple characters including Tara, Enid, and Henry being "brutally murdered by Alpha and the Whisperers in retaliation for taking Lydia" by saying: "Henry was perhaps the biggest surprise of these three, having been built up as New Carl all season. I figured he'd be around for quite a lot longer. I was wrong. It makes sense, of course, for Alpha to kill her daughter's fling. One final act of vengeance and horribleness just to cement their break. I should have known better, of course." Writing for Den of Geek!, Ron Hogan in his review of "The Calm Before" identified Henry and Lydia having a kiss as one of the episode's "sweet character moments", and said: "The Walking Dead rarely deals in taut emotions, preferring to manipulate with big pushes and pokes. The Calm Before has that in spades, but the creative team is able to dial it back, sprinkling moments of hopefulness in front of Alpha. Unlike Lydia, who was taken in by it, she's repulsed, and while it doesn't show on her face, it shows in her actions, and her talk with Daryl at shotgun-point. The very same incidents strike two related people totally differently, and in the denouement of the episode, the very things that lend sweetness and happiness end up causing the greatest in bittersweet pain." Alex McLevy writing for The A.V. Club noted Lydia getting to go to the movies as one of the shots that "provided the right kind of simultaneous palate cleanser for what came before and preparation for the ending."
Aaron Neuwirth of We Live Entertainment reviewed the episode "The Storm", and after commenting on Ezekiel and Carol's relationship, he stated: "Lydia is not doing any better. She lost the boy who had a major crush on her, but beyond that, she is feeling real survivor’s guilt. I can’t blame her. It doesn’t hurt that Cassady McClincy has done a lot with a character who could have come off as the worst throughout these past few episodes that have heavily relied on her. With that in mind, I can understand her thoughts of putting herself out of her misery by letting her arm get bit by a frozen walker. Even as she begged Carol to kill her, it’s easy to see a version of this series that would let that happen. By the end of this episode, she’s a part of a happy snowball fight taking place. As this show tends to like having a teenager around for a different perspective, I can only wonder what type of role she’ll have in the seasons going forward." Alex McLevy of The A.V. Club, likewise commenting on Lydia after discussing Carol and Ezekiel, said: "Lydia, by contrast, is dealing with some serious survivor’s guilt, her feelings for Henry causing her to assume that she should’ve died in his place, which leads her to do things like offer her exposed arm to a walker frozen in the ice, inches from its mouth. By the time she tries to run off, begging Carol to kill her (“no one has to know”) and spare her from the misery she’s going through, it’s clear the former Whisperer desperately needs some human connection to get her through this. It’s sure not coming from Alden, who throws some blame her way before Daryl tells him to cut the shit." McLevy also commented on the actress herself: "Alpha’s daughter has been a surprisingly strong presence during these last few episodes, and it has everything to do with Cassady McClincy’s performance. She has consistently located the raw-wound heart of the character, making even those groan-inducing moments of teenage romance between Henry and herself maintain a degree of appeal that would otherwise curdle into cloying nonsense."
- Goldberg, Lesley (August 24, 2018). "'Walking Dead' Casts Key Comic Book Character for Season 9". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
- Fowler, Matt (March 10, 2019). "The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 13: "Chokepoint" Recap". IGN. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
- Kain, Erik (March 10, 2019). "'The Walking Dead' Season 9, Episode 13 Review: 'Chokepoint' Is The Best Episode In Ages". Forbes. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
- Kain, Erik (March 17, 2019). "'The Walking Dead' Season 9, Episode 14 Review: 'Scars' Is A Harrowing Return To Form". Forbes. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
- Kain, Erik (March 24, 2019). "'The Walking Dead' Season 9, Episode 15 Review: 'The Calm Before' Is Shockingly Brutal". Forbes. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
- Hogan, Ron (March 24, 2019). "The Walking Dead season 9 episode 15 review: The Calm Before". Den of Geek!. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
- McLevy, Alex (March 24, 2019). "In facing a huge reckoning, The Walking Dead gets back to what it does best". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
- Neuwirth, Aaron (March 31, 2019). "Review: The Walking Dead 9×16, "The Storm"". We Live Entertainment. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
- McLevy, Alex (March 31, 2019). "A snowstorm leads to hard choices on The Walking Dead season finale". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 31, 2019.