“Words are a lot easier to live with than actions,” said Alden the Savior prisoner, to Henry. In Season 8 of The Walking Dead, we’ve ironically shifted from whether or not the prisoners should be killed to whether or not they can actually become “good.” The real debate will fall on whether or not Maggie Rhee can trust Alden.
There are two scenarios for Alden’s fate. First of all, he can be killed. Second, and more importantly, he can be trusted and help the Hilltoppers. After all, they’ve already accepted Dwight, so why not bring in another transfer? The problem, of course, will fall on Alden the individual.
But, if Alden the individual can’t be trusted, or does something dishonest, then Maggie will likely never trust another outsider again. In a way, the entire fate of the show relies on Alden telling the truth about his intentions.
Ever since they were first captured, Alden has been working on Maggie and trying to convince her (and Jesus) that he’s not a bad guy. This is, of course, the big debate of the show. It started as whether or not they should keep prisoners, but they’re talking about allowing for Saviors to join as troops.
In fact, it has been most recently discussed in the same episode, “Do Not Send Us Astray,” while Tara and Daryl were discussing Dwight’s intentions.
Maggie Rhee Should Consider Daryl & Tara’s Chat
The tables have shifted and Tara went from wanting to kill Dwight to trusting him whole-heartedly. She wanted him dead because he shot Denise, but then he risked his life to save her in the woods. Now, she’s literally got an arrow hanging out of her back that might be infected and she still trusts him and is mad at herself.
This new trust actually goes all the way back to Glenn Rhee. Originally, Tara was the Governor and his goons. Luckily, she ran into Glenn after the war at the prison and the former pizza boy took mercy on her. If that wasn’t enough, they worked together and she actually helped him get back to Maggie. “I was with them,” she told Daryl.
Daryl Dixon, on the other hand, is not having it. Daryl saw Dwight shoot Tara and believes he’s all bad once again. But, Daryl seems to have forgotten about his time with Joe and the Claimers. They turned out to be worse than the Termites, to some respect. Rick ended up killing Joe and then Daryl came back home.
Daryl is likely only thinking about his time in prison with Dwight, his captive, outside the door. Our hero never “bended the knee” to Negan, but Dwight did so he’s never going to trust him. Honestly, both Daryl and Tara are right, but it’s going to fall on the individual in each new occasion.
Alden is clearly more trustworthy than Jared (Benjamin’s killer), but neither can be trusted right now. Therefore, Alden is going to have to earn Maggie’s trust. This could (and should) be a slow process for him.
Henry (Accidentally) Sets Up Chance For Freedom
The night after the Saviors attack on the Hilltop (but before the injured Hilltoppers turned), Henry grabbed an assault rifle and went to the makeshift prison. At first, he woke up Gregory. Henry doesn’t know Gregory, but he likely saw a man in a blazer and thought he would give him some answers.
“Killing them isn’t going to bring [Benjamin] back,” said Gregory, while trying to get the boy to give up the gun. “No, but it will make me feel better. It already did once,” said the boy. At this point, it’s unclear why Henry didn’t believe the lie Morgan told him about killing Gavin, but maybe he’s just hoping to kill them all.
At this point, of course, nice guy Alden stands up and makes himself heard. “Hey kid—I get it,” said Alden. “My big brother died, too. Killing a bunch of guys who might have had something to do with it sounds pretty damn good, in theory. But, it’s not going to make you feel any better—not for long. I know.”
About this time, Jared, the true killer, said, “What’s up Al?” It’s unclear if Alden is simply trying to save Jared and the others or save the boy from future pain. Either way, Alden is always there to lend a hand and de-escalate a situation. Screams from walker kills inside cause the boy to make a rash decision.
For whatever reason, the boy decided to open the gate (even though he could have shot through the fence). Soon after, Jared rushed him and most of the prisoners escaped. At this point, Alden proved his worth. He and a handful of others chose to block the gate and protect Hilltop. Gregory, of course, ran away as usual.
All of this depends on the real reason why Alden chose to stay. Hopefully, he’s staying for reasons other than self-preservation.
Why Alden Made The Odd Choice To Stay
After Maggie Rhee and company put down the infected inside, she went out to find her flock of prisoners had also escaped. “We’re trying to help,” said Alden after killing a walker. With Maggie’s gun on him, he tried to explain the scenario. Over to one side, some of the other prisoners were holding the gate shut from walkers.
“A bunch of them left, but a bunch of them are trying to close that gate,” confirmed Alden. Jesus confirmed and a few of the Hilltoppers went to close the gate. Maggie took her gun off Alden, stepped by him, and shot a walker. Then, she quickly turned on Siddiq, the other newcomer.
At this point, Maggie Rhee has a right to question both Siddiq and Alden. She doesn’t really know either one of them and now the prisoners are gone. Plus, there’s no sign of Henry to confirm the story. “We saw what we mean to Negan and Simon,” he said, about the slaughter they just watched.
Not only did Simon led dozens of Saviors to their death, but he also said it was their own fault that they got caught. Therefore, it’s still unclear whether or not any of these men can be trusted. Sure, they didn’t run back to Simon, but as a group, they’re simply playing favorites and working with who is currently winning the war.
In a way, the group that stayed is all thinking like Eugene. And, Eugene is not someone anyone on the show would want to be compared with. “We had plenty of chances to run,” he said again.
Alden May Actually Be Dante From Comics
Possible comic book spoilers ahead…
So far, we don’t know much about Alden’s backstory. It’s quite possible that he is someone, like the workers, who ended up with Saviors before he knew just how bad they were. On the contrary, there are people like Jared, who loved being evil and want to be as bad as they can.
Based on the fact that Alden chose to stay back at Hilltop, he appears to be the TV version of Dante from the comic book. Now, the show could always take a major change, but it’s a possibility. At the same time, it’s possible that Henry is the re-vamp of a younger, more foolish version of Carl Grimes.
For fans that have read the comic book, if Alden is Dante, he will actually become a major player in the future of the show. Again, AMC is always more than willing to make major changes from the comic, but they do appear to be setting up Alden as a major character for the Hilltop and for the future of the show.
Dante, in the comic book, becomes someone very close to Maggie. Like Jesus, his character works as somewhat of an advisor for the council of the Hilltop. Some of this will depend on they shape the show and whether or not Lauren Cohan continues to star as Maggie on the show.
Some fans think that Alden might even become a love interest for Maggie. But, either way, that should be a long way off and Maggie has some tough choices to make.
The Moral Dilemma And Grey Area P.O.W.s
There have been a ton of grey areas on the show, but it’s truly hard to picture another Savior joining Maggie’s team. But, this is exactly what Jesus was saying in the first place. Back when the war just started, he made Tara and Morgan bring back the prisoners even though the plan had been to simply kill all the Saviors.
This moral dilemma later spread to Rick Grimes’ conscience, which eventually led to a fistfight with Daryl Dixon. In the end, Maggie made the temporary decision to allow the Saviors to live. Her plan was to trade them or use them as a sort of bargaining chip with Negan. But, Simon did not care about a trade.
Either way, we jumped to a point where the leaders of the Saviors said they didn’t care about the prisoners and the prisoners got a chance to stay or leave. Those who stayed seem like they can be trusted, but it could also be a ploy. In a way, they were simply protecting their own interests.
But, this is the most evidence we’ve seen thus far to consider those who stayed as somewhat good. After all, they could have likely gotten to a gun or tried to attack the Hilltop in addition to their choice of staying or leaving. But, of course, they are pros and cons to keeping these Saviors around.
When it comes to inviting wolves into the barn, there needs to be a lot of debate and reasoning before risking the lives of the hens. Each of the Saviors will have to be evaluated individually and they may even need advice from Dwight.
Assuming Alden Will Become A “Good” Guy…
Assuming Alden (and the other Saviors) are going to be good guys, there are several pros and cons to consider. On the most extreme examples, the Saviors could turn on Maggie Rhee and kill more of her people or help Negan/Simon win the war. On the other hand, they could fight with Maggie and add numbers to her army.
The real answer, of course, will likely fall somewhere in the middle—at least for now. It’s hard to picture Maggie giving Alden and the others guns, but she could give knives or set them up to protect a certain area. She could also speak with Alden and see if there is anything he knows that could help them win the war.
In another extreme example, she could let them go and work on a plan for Alden and the others to infiltrate Simon’s command. She could let them know about Dwight and see if together, they could somehow take down Negan’s army from the inside. (Either way, they need to wrap things up in the next three episodes.)
If and when Maggie makes the difficult decision to trust Alden, she will gave to keep him on a short leash. As for the next episode, this will mean protecting what’s left of the Hilltop and possibly talking to Rosita and Daryl as they go after Eugene’s bullet-making factory.
We also know that Alden tells Rick where the missing Saviors may have went. Given that information, it looks like Rick and Morgan are going after the runaways. Either way, Alden will have to do whatever Maggie tells him to do if he eventually wants to become a Hilltopper.
Like Tara said, she used to be someone else. Daryl used to be someone else. They all used to be someone else. Alden and the others may not have known there was any good left in the world until they met Maggie and the Hilltoppers.
Do you think Maggie Rhee should give Alden a chance?