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maggie-negan-finale.jpg

'The Walking Dead: Dead City' Pulls Off a Legitimately Surprising Twist

By Dustin Rowles | TV | July 17, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | July 17, 2023 |


maggie-negan-finale.jpg

Aside from its dreadful title, the inaugural season of The Walking Dead: Dead City has been fairly decent so far (save for stealing a zombie idea from The Last of Us). It’s been entertaining, with several intriguing revelations. Last week, we even got to see old-school Negan in a flashback alongside Steven Ogg’s Simon, which was a neat cameo. I’ve also enjoyed the presence of Gaius Charles (Smash from Friday Night Lights) and it’s always a pleasure to see Zeljko Ivanek, who portrays The Croat, the season’s big bad.

The Croat makes for an interesting villain in The Walking Dead, primarily because of his origin story. As a villain in the present, he’s not that different from The Governor or any of the show’s other cult leaders who establish their own communities — it just so happens that his community is set in Manhattan. What is noteworthy is that The Croat was a henchman for Negan back when Negan was a villain on The Walking Dead. The Croat was Negan’s torturer, and he was so sadistic and psychotic that even Negan exiled him from The Sanctuary. Following his exile, The Croat took his psychosis and Negan’s leadership style and started his own community.

Negan’s past relationship with The Croat was the driving force behind Maggie’s decision to team up with Negan to rescue her kidnapped son, Herschel, but not for the reasons we initially thought. We were led to believe throughout the first five episodes that Maggie sought out Negan and asked for his assistance in rescuing Herschel because she thought Negan would have some insights into The Croat due to their past relationship. Over these episodes, Maggie and Negan didn’t exactly become friends but began to better understand and respect each other. Watching Negan act on her behalf, Maggie started to grasp the reasoning behind Negan’s bravado and brutality; it was all an act to protect his people.

The reluctant friendship between Negan and Maggie made the twist in the fifth episode all the more surprising. It’s been a while since The Walking Dead introduced a twist I didn’t see coming. Here it is: Maggie didn’t recruit Negan for his insights into The Croat. She recruited him because she plans to trade him for her son. Maggie has been deceiving Negan the entire time with the intention of handing him over to The Croat, whose plan is almost certainly to torture and kill him.

I get it. I understand it. It’s the only way to get her son back. But it’s ruthless. However, my guess is that, while Negan might feel betrayed, he’ll also understand it, as he would do the same thing to protect his child. Meanwhile, Ginny, essentially Negan’s “adopted daughter,” is the wild card. She knows that Maggie is lying. But she remains silent due to trauma.

She may have no choice but to speak in the season finale, which I suspect at this point won’t resolve the situation as much as set the stage for a season two showdown between Maggie and Negan. The season finale airs this Sunday on AMC and AMC+.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the ‘Dead City’ wouldn’t exist.