The Walking Dead season finales are usually bloody affairs with beloved characters dying in horrific ways. But last weekend’s conclusion of the tenth season wasn’t the misery fest it could have been. No fan favorites died and the Whisperer War came to an end in a fairly conclusive manner courtesy of Norman Reedus’ Daryl.
With Alpha dead, Beta assumed command of the Whisperers and their herd. But by this time, Daryl and the other survivors knew their tricks and were able to infiltrate their group by camouflaging themselves with walker guts. Beta soon figures out what they’re up, though, only to be confronted by Negan. And just as things are looking bad for him, Daryl appears, plunging his two large knives into Beta’s eyes. The villain might have displayed an almost superhuman resistance to damage in the past, but you can’t shrug that off. And then he joined the horde for the last time.
Executive Producer Greg Nicotero has now revealed how the moment came about in a post-show interview, saying:
“Well, that was a big kill for Daryl in the episode. Norman had pitched that idea. Norman had said, ‘Oh, I just should come up with both of my knives and stab him in the eyes. Part of the story arc there is that Beta can’t die from those stab wounds. Norman’s knives are fucking 12 inches long. We sort of justified it in our heads that because he stabbed straight down it’s like the knives go down, they don’t go back into his brain, they go straight down. We made a dummy head of Ryan with pullouts. So he did that straight shot where you see the knives being pulled out.”
Beta was played by Ryan Hurst, who apparently wanted his death to be more drawn out, as Nicotero explains:
“Ryan really wanted Beta to continue to fight after that. Norman had his thoughts and Angela [Kang] and Corey [Reed] had very specific beats because Norman was like, “Yeah, I should just stab him and he should die.” I thought the stabbing in the eyes was an interesting idea and I believe it was Norman’s. We needed to sort of tell moment that Beta sort of comes to the horde and becomes part of everything that he had been imagining for the last several episodes, which was that the horde was sort of guiding him and it was this weird destination. I really thought it was a really cool way to resolve that character and give Beta’s story a great end.”
It was a great end to the character, especially when his mask his ripped off as he died and Negan realizes he was once a famous musician before the apocalypse. With Beta dead, though, we can now begin looking forward to the future, where we’ll get answers about the mysterious white-armored soldiers who look like nothing we’ve seen on the show before.
In the meantime, The Walking Dead train is still rumbling down the tracks. Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond are both airing on Sundays and there’ll be a six-episode season 10.5 coming in Spring 2021. Then, off in the distance is the climactic season 11, which is expected to air in Fall 2021.