To say that The Walking Dead’s Season 11 premiere ended on a cliffhanger is a bit of an understatement.
Episode 1 closed with Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) falling from a train carriage with walkers below waiting to greet her. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who had already come out and said Maggie was trying to kill them during this mission, apparently left her to die rather than help.
So, did Negan really walk away for good, and will Maggie die in the next installment of The Walking Dead?
Negan and Maggie have a terrible history
During the Season 11 premiere episode of The Walking Dead, it was apparent to viewers that putting both Negan and Maggie in the same mission was not the best idea. Sure, Negan knew the area and could help direct the group when they had to shelter from a storm inside a subway tunnel, but it was never going to be easy.
Maggie is still resentful — and with good reason — for the death of her husband, Glenn (Steven Yeun), at the hands of Negan. Back then, he had been the fearsome leader of the Saviors and he opted to bludgeon Glenn to death in order to show his authority.
Since then, Maggie has left for a long while and Negan has managed to eke out his place in Alexandria — albeit an uncomfortable one for those who still remember what he did.
During Episode 1, Negan accused Maggie of pushing on through the tunnel system even though he had pointed out the inherent danger of a water line during a storm event, as a way to end him once and for all. He also accused others of being in on Maggie’s subvert plan.
At the end of the episode, when they were all climbing on top of a train carriage to escape approaching walkers, Negan and Maggie were the last to escape.
Negan climbed easily but Maggie ended up faltering. When she asked for help, Negan opted to walk away and Maggie then fell from the carriage.
Viewers now have to wait until Sunday night to find out Maggie’s fate.
Although, according to TV Line, who did an interview with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Negan was definitely weighing up the pros and cons of leaving Maggie at this point and certainly does seem to sway in favor of letting her die.
“[Negan]’s keenly aware of [Maggie’s feeling about him],” Morgan said.
“So the play makes sense. If she makes it, she makes it; if she doesn’t, she doesn’t. He knows there’s going to be repercussions if she makes her way out of it. He’s prepared to deal with them.”
What’s the likelihood of Maggie dying and what are the other options?
While the episode closed with what looked like the imminent demise of Maggie, I feel like it is highly unlikely that she will actually die — and for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, Maggie has only just returned to The Walking Dead. It would seem rather short-sighted to hype up her return and then kill her off a couple of episodes later.
Secondly, the dynamics between Maggie and Negan are on point for gripping television viewing. Fans have seen Negan’s journey from savage leader to his fall from grace and how he is now trying to help out where he can.
While many still despise Negan for what he did to Glenn, their opinions of the villain have mellowed over time. Tuning in to potentially see Maggie go through this journey as well would be a compelling reason to keep Maggie alive for now.
Also, this situation is the perfect way to square the debt between them somewhat.
This is why we believe that Negan was not leaving Maggie for dead but, rather, leaving so that he could enter the train carriage and open the door that the group had tried to open earlier in order to escape the walkers.
While it would be easier for Negan to reach down and help Maggie, it certainly wouldn’t enable AMC to end on such a dramatic note.
Once the door is open, we believe he will help Maggie then in an effort to make things right between. As to whether or not Maggie will believe things will ever be right between the pair remains to be seen, though, and viewers will have to tune in on Sunday night in order to find out Maggie’s fate for sure.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.More: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, The Walking Dead