Walking Dead’s CRM Rips Off A Whisperer Tactic
The Walking Dead: World Beyond season 2 gives a closer look at the CRM, but this advanced military force borrows a rudimentary Whisperer tactic.
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The CRM is undoubtedly fearsome in Walking Dead: World Beyond, but the group’s tactics owe a major debt to the main show’s Whisperers. Arriving in The Walking Dead season 9 a week late for Halloween, the Whisperers presented a much different threat to anything Alexandria had previously faced. From Terminus’ desperate cannibals to would-be dictators like The Governor and Negan, no The Walking Dead villain was as depraved or brutal as Alpha, who led her Whisperers as a primal, unfeeling force acknowledging no moral boundary beyond the will to survive. Dressing in zombie skins, the Whisperers’ favorite method of attack was herding zombies from inside the horde and overwhelming enemy territories with undead.
A world away from the Whisperers’ rustic style is the Civic Republic Military. Overarching antagonists for the entire Walking Dead franchise, the CRM is most prominent in World Beyond season 2, where they’re pushing to learn more about the zombie virus, even if that aim demands the mass slaughter of allied communities. The CRM is a despicable organization, but a despicable organization with electricity, heating, food, and weapons – the total opposite of Alpha’s Whisperers.
It’s strange, then, that the CRM rips a strategy right from the Whisperer playbook. In Walking Dead: World Beyond season 2’s “Konsekans,” the CRM’s Lt Col. Elizabeth Kublek oversees destruction of the Omaha settlement (and its 90,000+ citizens) shortly before doing the same to nearby Campus Colony. First, CRM soldiers set charges around the perimeter wall of Omaha. After detonation, helicopters swoop in leading a massive “column” of undead toward the vulnerable community. As Kublek later confirms, this was enough to decimate Omaha and Campus Colony in record-quick time.
Though the CRM’s execution obviously involves more bells and whistles, the principle is exactly the same as the Whisperers’ method of assault. Rather than charging in headfirst with firearms and manpower (as we’ve seen Rick Grimes, Negan, The Governor, and countless others do), the CRM and Whisperers both gather thousands upon thousands of undead, then skillfully maneuver the squirming mass of rotting flesh through opposing territories. Naturally, the CRM has evolved beyond blending in among the zombies and steering them personally, instead relying on choppers and sonic devices to navigate from a safe distance. The Whisperers also didn’t have the benefit of explosives when faced with sturdy, corpse-proof walls. The core idea, however, is the same – amazing considering the Whisperers were a primal group who eschewed the previous world, and the CRM is dedicated to rebuilding it.
Walking Dead: World Beyond continues to prove that, despite being utterly unhinged and content to live in filth, Alpha was far more intelligent than she often gets credit for. Recently in The Walking Dead season 11, Maggie and Negan recycled Whisperer tactics (skins included, unfortunately for them) to attack the Reapers inside Meridian. With the CRM and Maggie Rhee both giving Alpha’s methods a tacit seal of approval, the Whisperers’ leader was obviously way more than an angry lady with unhygienic fashion sense – she was, in her way, a genius of the zombie apocalypse.
The CRM sharing a Whisperer tactic perhaps also highlights a problem with The Walking Dead’s expanding universe. While the Whisperers and their zombie hordes hail directly from Robert Kirkman’s original comics, the CRM was created entirely for TV. One villain group borrowing another’s hallmarks proves there’s only so many ideas to go around in the franchise, and as The Walking Dead expands into spinoffs and movies, even more elements could be shared around. While the CRM gets away with its Whisperer homage by virtue of being such an ideologically different community, the impact of Omaha’s destruction is lessened because we’ve seen the tactic before.