The Walking Dead: Maggie’s Return Explained

Maggie couldn't have picked a worse time to return to The Walking Dead, but she's given a chance to make a difference to her community once again.

the walking dead maggies return explained
Photo: Gene Page/AMC

This Walking Dead article contains spoilers.

In order to buy the members of his community time to escape Beta’s Whisperer assault, Gabriel racks his shotgun and prepares to make a final stand. He’s the only person between the last few escapees, who are climbing down an elevator shaft and the Whisperers who have managed to breach the hospital. As such, Gabriel is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for his people.

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The first Whisperer through the door gets shot. The second gets a rifle stock across the teeth. But eventually, Gabriel is overpowered by the rushing Whisperers and taken down, his arms held at his sides as one of the flesh-wearers prepares to deliver a fatal blow.

But with a flash of blades, the Whisperer on top of Gabriel is dispatched. The two holding his arms follow soon after. The mysterious stranger in the iron mask armed the twin blades is ready to keep killing, but a familiar voice tells him to stand down.

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“It’s okay, he’s with me.”

Maggie’s return to the show isn’t really a surprise. In fact, AMC first revealed that she’d be back in the season 10 finale earlier this year. The question was how Lauren Cohan’s beloved character would make her long-awaited return to the series. Well, with a simple statement and an offered hand, Maggie Greene is back on The Walking Dead and has saved Gabriel from certain doom in the process. It’s a dramatic entrance, to be sure, but one that will undoubtedly leave fans cheering.

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It’s no secret that when Cohan exited the show in the first half of season 9 to star in the ABC FBI drama Whiskey Cavalier, the door was left open for her eventual return. She wasn’t killed off or banished from the group. Instead, Maggie left the Hilltop at some point during the six-year time jump that followed Rick’s “death” in season 9.

According to Cohan, her return to The Walking Dead was always just a matter of finding the right time to do it.

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“We didn’t know how much or in what, just sort of how much room we would have to do it,” Cohan tells Den of Geek. “I was on another show by then and we hoped to at least steal a pocket of time to continue the story. And then in the end we got this pocket of time, which was a much bigger pocket. So we knew, we just didn’t know exactly how.”

But where has Maggie been all this time? Early in season 10, we learn that Maggie went off with the mysterious Georgie to learn ways to rebuild society and to travel the countryside, finding settlements and planting the seeds for a better future.

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Leaving was easy enough: Maggie got into a van with Georgie and drove off. Coming back, while a little more dramatic, was no less difficult. “A Certain Doom” drops several hints as to how Maggie knew she had to return to help her friends fight the Whisperers.

In one key scene at the start of the episode, Gabriel lifts the spirits of the kids in the hospital by mentioning that the separate groups that make up their community of survivors are like fingers closing together to form a fist, with the group they don’t know about being the thumb that caps the whole thing. We’re then shown the mysterious kama-wielding ninja slicing up walkers in the forest while Maggie retrieves a letter with details of the Hilltop’s predicament with the Whisperers.

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Maggie, presumably, knew about the bug-out plans because she helped make them with Gabriel, which is why she’s able to be in the right place at the right time to save the priest’s blessed bacon. Maggie is able to save the day, with a little time left at the end of the episode for a sweet reunion with Judith and the rest of her old friends.

And Maggie is here to stay, with Cohan confirming that she’s back in Georgia ready to shoot the six “extra” season 10 episodes coming in early 2021. But she’s returning to a very different world where there’s no longer a Hilltop and Negan is now a part of the community. How exactly will Maggie react to these big changes? We’ll learn more next year.