In The Walking Dead episode 07×04 Alexandria Safe-Zone doesn’t look so well in its first dealing with The Saviors, but we get to know some other member of the hostile group. Among the ones spotted in Service there’s one we already heard the voice of in The Cell: Arat, portrayed by Elizabeth Ludlow. In the episode she doesn’t do much more than plundering the community along with the other Saviors, but we’ll have plenty of time to know her. In the comics her name is different, actually it’s spelled backwards: Tara (they changed it in order not to create confusion with Tara Chamblers, an established character in the main cast). Let’s see together who this tough she-Savior is in the comics.
Little is known about Tara’s early life, not even her surname. She was born in a family of Asian descent, and she lived somewhere in Virginia or in the State of Washington. Quite a rebel, she lived her own way, provoking common sense with her piercings and tattoos. When the dead started to resurrect to eat the flesh of the living, however, nobody put attention to her look anymore: the Outbreak brought any civilization to extinction in a matter of months, and Tara, as well as everybody else, was forced to learn how to survive on her own in a post-apocalyptic world. Resourceful and violent, she managed to survive the first days and the ones that followed, and she eventually found a group she fit quite well within: The Saviors, a band of brutal conquerors led by a cunning and charismatic psychopath, Negan. Most of the women arrived to The Sanctuary, the Saviors’ headquarters, found simple jobs and entered Negan’s harem, but Tara was different, and she became the first woman to enter Negan’s army, an equal among the many men composing it. She didn’t have anything to be envious, of course: she could be just as menacing, brutal and lethal as all the others, and she enjoyed plundering the resources of other communities following Negan’s orders. There were a few people she respected, but one of them was Dwight, Negan’s second in command. Everybody, however, made mistakes: when he was coming back from Alexandria Safe-Zone, one of the newest acquisitions in the “saved territories”, Dwight was followed to The Sanctuary by one of the residents, Paul Monroe. Tara intercepeted the man along with fellow sentinel John, and she threatened Paul to cut his balls off if he didn’t surrender…but the man was a martial artist, and he easily overpowered both her and John. Back on her feet, Tara was ready to shoot him, but Dwight stopped her, claiming that Negan wanted to question Paul: luckily for Monroe, Tara listened to Dwight’s orders, and let him walk away on his feet.
From that point on, things excalated quickly: the little sign of rebellion from Alexandria became something more, and the defeated community forged an alliance with other two, The Kingdom and Hilltop Colony…as well as with a rogue faction of Saviors who didn’t want Negan as a leader anymore, led by none other than Dwight. Tara didn’t follow Dwight in his rebellion, and she remained loyal to Negan in the following war, a war that The Saviors were winning from the very beginning…until tides turned and she found herself on the losing side. The Saviors were defeated in a final battle in Alexandria and Negan was taken prisoner, but The Sanctuary wasn’t destroyed, as the victorious communities wanted to create a peaceful world after that all-out clash. Dwight came back to The Sanctuary as the Saviors’ new leader, adding the once hostile community to a net of cooperation and trade with the other three: Tara, who already liked Dwight despite his betrayal, chose to stay with him, and adapted to the new world order, even if with some difficulty. For two years, the communities lived in peace and created an effective micro-society, but everything changed once again when Dwight, feeling the pressure of being a leader, decided to step out, and left The Sanctuary. Tara, commenting with fellow Saviors Sherry and Mark, played tough and remarked that the community would have been better without Dwight around, but in truth she was all but pleased by her leader’s decision, and she felt abandoned without a guidance. When some time later Vincent, a resident from Alexandria Safe-Zone, came knocking to The Sanctuary asking for aid against a new hostile group, the Whisperers, Tara had only menaces and insults for him, and she sent him away without providing help: from that moment on, The Saviors had to take care of themselves only, and she didn’t want anything to do with the other communities anymore.
Tara is a violent and angry woman, who believes in strength as the only means to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. She’s an accomplished fighter, skilled with both guns and kinves, and she doesn’t have any qualm in using them if the situation requires (but even if it doesn’t). Tough enough to be put on par with the Saviors’ men by a sexist like Negan, Tara is surely a force to be reckoned with, even among a group such as The Saviors.