(This article contains spoilers for the second episode of the final season of “The Walking Dead”)
“The Walking Dead” has gone increasingly off-book in the past few seasons, but the Commonwealth storyline has thus far gone generally pretty much the same as it went in the comics. But that likely won’t last, because we’ve got a pretty different crew of characters here than in the original storyline — Ezekiel, for example, was dead by this point.
But the potential change from the source material I’m most concerned about right now involves Stephanie, Eugene’s friend from the radio who finally made an in-person appearance for the first time on this week’s episode. Or at least that’s what they want us to think.
There are several red flags with Stephanie right off the bat.
First: They brought her in at the end of a marathon series of mind games on the group from Alexandria, and on Eugene specifically. He got the worst of it, and now he’s relieved that it’s over and would probably buy pretty much anything that anyone would try to sell him.
Second: The actress playing Stephanie in the scene, Chelle Ramos, is not who the fans expected to see there. The voice on the radio was performed by Margot Bingham, who is Black (Stephanie was Black in the comics), but Ramos is not. On its own, that’s not a big deal. But in context with the next item, it made me wonder.
Third: Ramos’ casting on “The Walking Dead” was never announced, which is surprising since Stephanie is a major character, and Ramos isn’t just some nobody. The actress and the role are each too notable for that casting announcement to have slipped through, unless showrunner Angela Kang and her writing staff are trying to pull something on us.
Maybe I’m all the way off with this guess — it certainly wouldn’t be the first time! — but I haven’t been able to shake this feeling ever since I first watched this episode last month. I think we’re in for even more shenanigans from the Commonwealth than we got in the comics.
And we got a lot of shenanigans in the comics with these folks in the “Walking Dead” comics.