(This article contains spoilers for the Season 11 premiere of “The Walking Dead”)
We knew coming into the final season of “The Walking Dead” that we were gonna need to keep an eye on Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan). While there’s not exactly any characters who love Negan or whatever, everybody in Alexandria watched him sit in that basement for six years and then play a key role in defeating the Whisperers. So some folks have at least gotten to watch him have a sort of redemption arc. But Maggie wasn’t around for most of that, so she still feels that same anger over that time he brutally murdered Glenn and Abraham right in front of her.
Season 11, then, starts things off by having Maggie and Negan go on a mission together — along with some of Maggie’s new friends and some others from Alexandria — to a place Maggie and little Hershel stayed during their time away. Maggie apparently insisted on bringing Negan, because he knows D.C. better than anyone else they have. A big storm pops up, though, and they end up taking a path through the D.C. Metro tunnels.
For most of the episode, Negan looks like he’s about to puke. Despite this apparent need for his skills, he knows Maggie isn’t any happier with him than she was before. And, before, she wanted him dead. That’s a scary thing to have to think about under normal circumstances — much less when you’re walking through a zombie-infested subway tunnel during a huge storm. Does Maggie really need him? Or is she planning on pulling something?
But Negan tries to be the good guy. He speaks out, not in a mean way, against using the tunnels, since the rain is so heavy it very well might flood, and there’s no telling how many walkers there are down there. But Maggie insists on sticking to the tunnel, and nobody is going to listen to Negan over freaking Maggie.
Things do go bad, and our band of heroes needs to hide in a subway car by climbing on top of it and climbing in through the roof hatch. Negan is next-to-last to climb up as the zombies surround them — and Maggie is last. But she slips, and there are too many walkers, and as the episode ends Negan looks down from atop the car, hearing her cries for help, and just bails.
That’s quite a humdinger of a cliffhanger to end the season premiere on. There’s not much chance Maggie actually dies here — “The Walking Dead” would have gone ahead and shown her die right here if this was her time.
Assuming Maggie survives this, it’s gonna be very interesting to see how this changes the calculus of her beef with Negan. A lot of that depends on how Negan himself tries to justify that move, if he has to, but this certainly seems like something that probably won’t help him too much down the road.
And this is “The Walking Dead.” These sorts of situations rarely resolve themselves in a way that you would expect, particularly since Angela Kang took over as showrunner — the show has been more off-book than ever in the past few seasons.
That being said, it would certainly be very “Walking Dead” for these two to actually kill each other. And, hey, it’s the last season. I’m fully in favor of all the carnage that Angela Kang and co. want to dish out.