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The Walking Dead: Is Maggie Set to Become the Shows Best Villain Yet?

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This post contains spoilers for the Walking Dead Season 8 finale, “Wrath.”

On Sunday night, as promised, the war on the Saviors finally came to an end—and, thankfully for Rick and his allies, Negans attempt at deceit didnt pan out. But as the zombie drama heads into its ninth season, is there another threat lingering in the shadows—one Rick doesnt see coming? It sure looks like Maggie could become the series best villain yet.

The Saviors had Rick surrounded—but little did they know, Eugene had sabotaged all their bullets. That allowed the allied communities an easy defeat over the Saviors, who quickly surrendered. Rick chased down Negan and, just like he did in the comics, (comics spoiler), he slit his enemys throat—but not deeply enough to kill him. Instead, following Carls admonition to establish peace, Rick instantly ordered Siddiq, a doctor, to save Negan. “There has to be something after,” Rick told an inconsolable Maggie, echoing Carls dying words. All in all, it was a pretty it was a pretty flawless victory, and no major character died. But as fans know, one original player will be leaving the series, at least for now—although thankfully, he didnt get killed off. As he makes his exit for Fear the Walking Dead, Morgan has simply withdrawn from the group, taking up residence instead in the Scavengers old junkyard.

The episode began with Siddiq letting Rick know exactly how Carl died: “paying respects to a woman he never knew,” Siddiqs mother. Earlier this season, Carls plea to his father to show mercy to his enemies didnt seem to sink in, but as Rick asked Siddiq to save Negan, it became clear those words actually did have an impact. Meanwhile, Morgan continued to face a struggle of his own: the perpetual feeling that he will never die, but will instead remain stuck, forced to watch everyone he loves dies. Morgan, who for a long time operated as an agent of nonviolence, has found himself in a conundrum: does he kill to protect those he loves, perpetuating the cycle of death, or does he do nothing, condemning those he loves to the same fate? “We are worse than we were,“ Morgan told Rick on the way to the final battle. “Me and you. We are.” But Jesus proposed a new approach, a happy medium of sorts: “I have a simple proposal, he said. “Something to try.” He gestured toward the sharp end of Morgans Aikido staff. “This end for the dead.” And then the smooth end: “This end for the living.”

“Things will get better,” Jesus insisted. Apparently, however, Morgan was not convinced. In the end, he paid the dumpster dweller Jadis (Anne, she revealed, is her real name) a visit—extending her an invitation from Rick to join the new community and taking her place in the junkyard. When she asked if he was coming back with her, Morgan simply said, “I can't. I can't.”

So, where does that leave Rick and the group? Still in pretty good shape—but with one major, ominous catch. The Saviors who Maggie held prisoner in the Hilltop Colony turned out to be good allies, as she admitted to Jesus toward the end of the episode. But as far as she and Daryl are concerned, letting Negan live was a mistake. “Rick was wrong to do what he did,” Maggie told Jesus. “Michonne, too. So were gonna bide our time, wait for our moment, and then we're gonna show him.”

Maggies motivation is more than understandable; Negan murdered her husband right in front of her with a baseball bat, and waged a merciless war against their community. But Ricks decision brings with it hope for something better—the utopian future his son envisioned, in which theres law and order but also community and harmony. Former enemies working side by side for the common good. A real society. As Rick told a hospitalized Negan, his decision had nothing to do with going soft on him—quite the contrary.

“Youre gonna be evidence that were making a civilization,” Rick told Negan. “Something like what we had. Something were gonna get back. . . You alive is gonna help show people that things have changed. Keeping you breathing earns another way—a better way. Thats the part youll play.”

If Maggie and Daryl stage a coup, they could undo that effort and undermine any sort of future in which enemies are able to live side by side. It would be a fascinating trajectory for a character who, so far, has withstood a great deal without going considerably dark. But given that Lauren Cohanhas yet to re-sign her contract, that narrative arc is still a major variable. There is reportedly news on that front, and chances are Cohan will stay, but its not a guarantee. If Cohan does return, however, it seems likely shell do so with a massive pay bump—because as things seem now, the future of this entire drama rests in her hands.

Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:What Time of Year Is It on The Walking Dead?

Daryl Dixon

This photo has a lot of layers—both literal and figurative. Clearly, the hat is a nod to the blistering sun—which, ostensibly, is also responsible for the impressive amount of sweat soaking through Daryls shirt. Then again, if its so hot, why on earth is Daryl—the king of bare biceps—wearing this loud button-down shirt? For the love of God, if were going to give him an unnecessary layer, make it a poncho.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel looks like hes ready for a snowy hiking trip with Bane in that long, fur-lined leather jacket. Somehow, he barely seems to be breaking a sweat—not that you'd see it through that coat.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes

Its been many a moon since weve seen Rick with dry hair. His perpetually sweat-soaked button-downs and water-logged locks are worthy of the desert—or Disney World in the summer. Yet, there he is, talking to be-leathered, unbothered King Ezekiel. If the rule of good leadership is “never let 'em see you sweat,” Rick should be fired immediately.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Carol Peletier

Carol Peletier

Carol has taken to wearing a heavy-looking, camel-colored coat. And apparently its so cold in this scene that even the zombie had to put on her cardigan before stalking her prey.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Sasha Williams

Sasha Williams

I guess its warm? I mean, everyone is definitely less layered than they were during the season premiere, as they all sat in a semi-circle shaking with fear in their jackets and over-shirts and long sleeves. Sashas even wearing short sleeves now!Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Maggie Greene

Maggie Greene

Then again, heres Maggie, in long sleeves and an undershirt with no pit stains! Oh, to have that superpower.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Enid and Carl

Enid and Carl

I give up. Here are Enid and Carl on roller skates. Enjoy the midseason premiere on Sunday night. Ill be here, staring at everyones clothes and dejectedly muttering to myself.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.PreviousNext

Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon

This photo has a lot of layers—both literal and figurative. Clearly, the hat is a nod to the blistering sun—which, ostensibly, is also responsible for the impressive amount of sweat soaking through Daryls shirt. Then again, if its so hot, why on earth is Daryl—the king of bare biceps—wearing this loud button-down shirt? For the love of God, if were going to give him an unnecessary layer, make it a poncho.Courtesy of AMC.

King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel looks like hes ready for a snowy hiking trip with Bane in that long, fur-lined leather jacket. Somehow, he barely seems to be breaking a sweat—not that you'd see it through that coat.Courtesy of AMC.

Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes

Its been many a moon since weve seen Rick with dry hair. His perpetually sweat-soaked button-downs and water-logged locks are worthy of the desert—or Disney World in the summer. Yet, there he is, talking to be-leathered, unbothered King Ezekiel. If the rule of good leadership is “never let 'em see you sweat,” Rick should be fired immediately.Courtesy of AMC.

Carol Peletier

Carol Peletier

Carol has taken to wearing a heavy-looking, camel-colored coat. And apparently its so cold in this scene that even the zombie had to put on her cardigan before stalking her prey.Courtesy of AMC.

Negan

Negan

Again: heres our Big Bad, zipped into his leather jacket, which looks like a thick summer sausage casing—and looking pretty comfy. In one episode, we see Negan all layered up and then totally comfy on the porch with Carl—sporting bare arms. One of those two outfits must be uncomfortable, right?Courtesy of AMC.

Paul Rovia (Jesus)

Paul Rovia (Jesus)

Jesus might be the key to unlocking this puzzle. In recent episodes, hes been seen without his beanie and jacket—which would imply to us that its getting warmer. So perhaps its spring? But if that's the case, how are Ezekiel and the Kingdom growing such luscious apples and pomegranates? Back to Square One.Courtesy of AMC.

Tara Chambler

Tara Chambler

Far be it for us to tell a woman how to dress—but why layer two short-sleeved shirts? If its warm, this would theoretically be uncomfortable—and if its cool, wouldnt it be easier to simply wear sleeves? Perhaps long-sleeved shirts are in short supply during the zombie apocalypse.Courtesy of AMC.

Morgan Jones

Morgan Jones

Morgan is wearing the same clothing as Rick these days, yet he produces less sweat. That kind of biological poise is why he belongs in a place called the Kingdom, and Rick does not.Courtesy of AMC.

Michonne

Michonne

Speaking of the Kingdom: my kingdom to whoever can explain to me Michonne and Ezekiel's clearly polar opposite body temperatures.Courtesy of AMC.

Eugene Porter

Eugene Porter

God, of course Eugene wears cargo shorts. Or, wait a minute, are those. . . cargo pants? Rolled up? Somehow thats even more fitting, isnt it? Yet, youll note, as Eugene sweats through his summer look, there's Negan. In leather. Barely sweating a drop.Courtesy of AMC.

Dwight

Dwight

I dont know, man. I just dont know.Courtesy of AMC.

Sasha Williams

Sasha Williams

I guess its warm? I mean, everyone is definitely less layered than they were during the season premiere, as they all sat in a semi-circle shaking with fear in their jackets and over-shirts and long sleeves. Sashas even wearing short sleeves now!Courtesy of AMC.

Maggie Greene

Maggie Greene

Then again, heres Maggie, in long sleeves and an undershirt with no pit stains! Oh, to have that superpower.Courtesy of AMC.

Enid and Carl

Enid and Carl

I give up. Here are Enid and Carl on roller skates. Enjoy the midseason premiere on Sunday night. Ill be here, staring at everyones clothes and dejectedly muttering to myself.Courtesy of AMC.

Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.

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