The final season of The Walking Dead is finally here, and it’s already given us plenty of interesting moments to discuss. Whether it’s the coming of the Reapers, the introduction of the Commonwealth, or the evolving relationships between our survivors, there’s a lot to dissect. In Episode 2, “Acheron: Part II,” there’s one huge moment in particular that’s been at the forefront of discussion (SPOILER INCOMING): The potentially avoidable death of Gage (Jackson Pace).
In the episode, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) makes the decision to leave Gage (Jackson Pace) to die after he finds himself trapped in a train car with walkers closing in. His pleas to Maggie are in vain, as she decides that it’d be too risky to wage a rescue attempt. This is much to the outrage of Alden (Callan McAuliffe). Even Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is shocked. Ultimately, Gage is brutally killed in front of everyone.
For Lauren Cohan, who returned to the show in the season 10 finale after a break, it’s exciting for her to play someone with this much edge. “What I noticed and excited me the most is that she’s doing so many things that you see male soldiers have to do, or men have to do, that I’m not as accustomed to seeing women on screen do,” she told Syfy Wire.
And of course, it hurts like when she lets Gage be killed by the zombies on the other side of the subway car door. But her brain is playing this tape through and saying, ‘I’m sorry, but this is the greater loss and the lesser loss. We have to take this road. And that’s what it is.’
So far, Maggie has been through all sorts of hell and come through to the other side. Not many characters in the show have evolved as much as she has. As we continue into season 11, it sounds like there’s more to come. “What’s great to me is that she acknowledges that the woman she was, that there’s just a tiny bit of that person left,” Cohan said. “And even going on this mission to build that and to restore that, sometime she’s failed and sometimes succeeded.”
But during the course of this final season, I hope to push the darkness away. And to come [back] in [to the series] at a point when there is so much mud, basically, packed around her soul that we are going to get this chance to say, these were the things that happened, but this is reminding [Maggie] of what’s so important.
She’s certainly got a lot to deal with in the upcoming episodes. Negan is around, the Reapers are attacking, Alexandria is falling apart, and the Commonwealth is coming. And she’s also got to be a leader and a mother to Hershel.
How did fans react to Maggie’s decision to let Gage die on The Walking Dead?
Fans have been debating whether Gage could have been saved all over Twitter since the episode aired. It’s similar to the classic “Could Jack have lived in Titanic?” argument. While some fans believe Maggie had plenty of time to rescue Gage, others saw it as too big a risk. Have a look at some takes below:
Is The Walking Dead turning Maggie into a villain?
Seeing Maggie go so dark has some viewers wondering if the show is purposefully trying to make Maggie more of a villainous character, possibly so recovering villain Negan looks better in comparison. “It’s a great question about Maggie and Negan,” The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang told Insider. “It’s not our intention to really make her a villain to make Negan shine.”
At the same time, you’re not imagining things if you think the two characters have sort of switched places. “Negan may have moved a little bit more towards Maggie, but I think Maggie, as a result of the things that she faced out on the road, has moved a little bit towards Negan. There are a lot of gray areas for all of our heroes and they are trying to grapple with those things. They’re trying to make the right decision for themselves, their people, their loved ones. Maggie, she doesn’t mess around and we’ve seen that in the past as well, but she’s definitely had to kind of go a little darker at times.
Might Maggie kill Negan before the end? It’s something the two of them will have to work through. “Those two do have a continuing story as they’re trying to grapple with how they coexist,” Kang said. “Can they work together? Is there forgiveness and redemption to be found? Are they ultimately going to go back to their own corners?”
It’s definitely not to try to specifically show any light in Negan, but it’s just to show that there is really a mix for both of them. They have moments where each of them can do heroic things. There’s also moments that they can both do dark things and they’re just crashing together.
The Walking Dead season 11 continues Sundays on AMC. For AMC+ subscribers, new episodes air one week early.