This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 11, episode nine.
The Walking Dead returned to our screens after many months away this weekend, and it restarted the post-apocalyptic drama’s eleventh and final season with a bang. As the survivors’ conflict with the Reapers came to a head, Lauren Cohan’s Maggie channeled her inner Negan and made a huge swing to the “merciless killer” end of her personal morality meter. And it looks to have some major repercussions going forward.
Although Daryl (Norman Reedus) had managed to spark a truce with his twisted ex Leah (Lynn Collins), a grieving Maggie elected to shoot the retreating Reapers in the back, practically wiping the group out single-handed. That may have solved the threat of the Reapers, but she might have started a civil war in the process. The episode ended with a six-month time jump which saw Commonwealth troops storming Hilltop — with Daryl among them!
Yes, it seems that Daryl was so enraged with Maggie’s actions that he’s gone and switched sides to the Commonwealth, the enormous community who’ll be the main antagonists for the rest of the season. So what’s going on here? How did this happen? What happens next? When asked to explain the twist by Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Angela Kang promised that answers will come out “shortly.”
“Well, he has joined up with the troops and so we will find out shortly what that is all about, but he is now part of the Commonwealth arm,” Kang recapped. “So that definitely puts him in a different situation and potentially at odds with Maggie, who clearly in the time that has passed has either stayed or retreated to Hilltop. Whereas who knows where everybody else has landed.”
As for Maggie and Daryl being at loggerheads, Kang teased that their confrontation will continue to affect things for the remainder of the season.
“I will just say that, after having been kind of in lockstep for a lot of the start of the season, Maggie and Daryl, obviously kind of split ways in terms of like the decision making at the end of episode 9, and maybe that affects some things going forward.”
For those worrying we’ve lost Daryl to the dark side, maybe don’t start weeping just yet. TWD already pulled off a similar twist earlier this very season, when Daryl appeared to join the Reapers but was really still loyal to his friends, so something similar might be happening here. In any case, we know he’ll be OK, as he’s got that spinoff show with Melissa McBride’s Carol to lead. Maggie’s fate is less set in stone, however.
The Walking Dead season 11 continues Sundays on AMC.