In last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, “We Are the End of the World,” fans got a closer look at the backstory of how Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Beta (Ryan Hurst) came together. The story was strange, as expected, but it also carried an emotional tie for Beta.
In a seven-year flashback, Alpha first met Beta at a mental institution during the apocalypse. Towards the end of the episode, we find out that Beta wears the mask of his best friend who was bitten and turned.
“At the end of the episode we see a picture of him and what we can assume is one of his best friends, but this was the place that he was admitted for either some mental reason or otherwise. And he sort of saw it as a place of solace,” Hurst explained. “When the world went to hell, he went to the only place that he felt safe and he just happened to find it there.”
Hurst continued to dive in further to Beta’s origins. “I was sort of putting together this backstory of this guy, and when I pitched it to Angela [Kang, showrunner], I said that I would really love the emotional currency of him wearing the face of his best friend. From an actor’s perspective, I was like, ‘Why doesn’t this guy take off his mask?’” Hurst said. “There’s a lot of answers to that question, but the main one was that I thought it would be so wonderful if he had a best friend that he just couldn’t let go and he was wearing the face of somebody that he knew and loved, and that would bring a bit of pathos to this very sort of dark and mysterious character. That was really important to me.”
During the filming of season 10, Hurst was hospitalized due to heat exhaustion. “I’m in a leather trench coat and two layers under that in Georgia in the summer,” said Hurst. “It’s no joke, man.” Nevertheless, Hurst stays dedicated to his character’s look and continues to send shivers up our spine as Beta.