Warning this article contains spoilers for both The Walking Dead comic and television series.
On Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, entitled “New Best Friends”, we learned more about the newest group, the Scavengers. This was the large group of survivors that surrounded Rick and friends at the end of February 12th’s “Rock in The Road” episode. In the latter half of “New Best Friends”, we watched as Rick looked to gain the trust of this group by fighting an armored walker. We will not be talking about if that was over the top though. We will instead be talking about this new group that Pollyanna McIntosh (Jadis) confirmed as the Scavengers on The Talking Dead. Fans of the comics, however, may wonder if they are actually the whisperers.
The Whisperers are the next group of baddies in the comic series, after The Saviors are defeated. I said SPOILERS! This is a group of survivors that live among the dead. The use them as protection as they adopt a more primal way of life. They do this by wearing full body suits made of dried walker skins. To avoid detection by the dead and living, they only whisper among each other. Clever naming convention Kirkman. The Whisperers also follow the orders of a leader who calls herself Alpha.
Now that we have that covered, let’s take a look at why many, including myself, are questioning this.
- Leadership – Let’s start with the most basic one while running the risk of being chauvinistic. Both the Scavengers and the Whisperers have very straight to the point female leaders. Watching Pollyanna McIntosh play Jadis you see a personality similar to Alpha’s. It was also clear that Jadis was the only one calling the shots for the Scavengers, just like an Alpha. Can there be more than one female leader in the show? Absolutely! I just needed to bring it up. It was also an open casting call to all genders.
- Non-verbal Communication – As mentioned above, the Whisperers whisper. The Scavengers take it one level further and use non-verbal hand signals for the most part. This lack of dialogue really may have been the key that stood out among the cross-medium fans. Now the sign language may also be the thing that is meant to make us wonder but differs just enough.
- Living away from the living – Alpha and the Whisperers do not like to be bothered by other survivors, preferring to be on their own. This is what started the Whisperer War. When being questioned by Rick for not retrieving the guns on her own, Jadis replied, “We Take. We don’t bother.” This was of the very same mindset as the Whisperers. Jadis and Alpha both wanted to stay away from conflict and the living.
- Value the Dead – After defeating the armored walker, Rick asked about them weaponizing a walker. Janis replies, “that is Winslow”. This compassion and respect for the walkers is a trait similar to Alpha and the Whisperers. They are both comfortable living among the dead and value them as more than dead humans.
- What About the Walker Skins? – So the biggest hang up would be that these are survivalist hipsters, not skin wearing crazy people. But Jadis did lecture Rick on how times were changing and they too would need to change. This could be a hint to the next evolution that would change them from Scavengers to Whisperers.
These were my thoughts on why fans may be drawing a correlation between the two groups. However, I do have my doubts, strong doubts in fact.
- This is too early for the Whisperers. Scott M. Gimple needs to save the current conflict first. Many feel the Negan story is dragging too slow, so maybe speed that story line up first. Also, by brining them in this early it ruins the surprise and lack of intel Rick has on his new enemy, which was a great barrier in the comics.
- This would not be the first time The Walking Dead has teased an aspect from the comic only to take you down another path. They have been teasing Negan and The Saviors since season 4. In the end, Gimple and Kirkman like to lay down misdirection and smoke only to take you down a different path entirely.
- Though the series has been following a lot of the comic in season 7, they are not married to it by any means. In the end, they are two different types of stories and the show tries to keep it fresh at points, or just make smaller sub-plots larger on TV…See Gareth and Terminus, or the Claimers.
Whisperers or not, it is fun to speculate and get fresh blood on the show. We will have to keep watching to see if this Whisperer theory actually plays out. Either way, Pollyanna McIntosh was great as Jadis and would make a great Alpha if it went that way.
Please let us know your thoughts and theories in the comments below.