The war is over in season nine of The Walking Dead, but just because Neegan is behind bars doesn’t mean the violence went with it. Rick Grimes and his group may be the good guys, but they aren’t always good — and Maggie reminds audiences of that when she has Gregory killed in the premiere episode. Taking place about a year after the end of the war with the Saviors, Lauren Cohan’s character isn’t just a new mom, but she’s officially voted the new leader of the Hilltop community. But ballots mean little to Gregory who started Hilltop in the first place, and he embarks on a smear campaign to take her down.
The bitter ex-leader gets plenty of ammunition when one of their own is killed on a scavenging trip. Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Carol, Rosita, Ezekiel and all the show’s fan favorites meet at Washington D.C.’s natural history museum to steal a covered wagon, a canoe and other helpful machines. But while their plan is to rebuild the future with the past, they encounter walkers on the way back and a young man named Ken is killed. Not only is he bit in the arm, but the horse he was trying to save delivers the final blow, a kick to the chest — and his parents hold Maggie responsible for his death.
Gregory feeds into that, filling their heads with negativity and even getting Ken’s sober dad to drink again. That’s when he convinces the man to wait by Glenn’s grave with a hood over his face and attack Maggie when she visits her late husband. She’s beat up badly, and even teenage Enid gets a face full of rock when she joins in the shuffle.
After the man is unmasked and jailed, Maggie confronts Gregory. “You want to lead this place, but you can’t even murder someone right,” she says. “Do you even give a crap about all the stupid sh*t you’ve done after all the chances you’ve been given?”
Although she speaks the truth — Gregory swapped sides multiple times to save his own hide during the war in season eight, and was forgiven again and again — he still comes at Maggie with a knife. “None of this would even exist if it weren’t for someone like me. I built this place,” he says, detailing his plans to frame her murder as self defense.
It’s not surprising that Maggie manages to unarm Gregory. He did only kill his first walker in season eight, after all, but it is shocking when their next scene together takes place at the gallows. A small crowd watches in the dead of night as the old man screams at Maggie to stop with a noose around his neck. But she is “not ashamed” of her decision and doesn’t hesitate to tell Daryl to kick the stool out from under Gregory.
It’s a new move for the new mom, who has chosen the forgiveness multiple times in the past. But now that she’s got a community to protect — not to mention her baby son — her decisions have more at stake. We wonder if she’ll take Neegan’s life next? After the bat-wielding villain savagely killed her husband, she never forgave Rick for sparing his life and putting him in prison.
We wouldn’t put it past Maggie. She’s full of surprises lately, and we can’t wait to watch her character continue to grow and evolve. But even though she’s come a long way from the Christian girl on a farm we encountered in season three, she’s still the same brave, loyal woman we love.
She even named her son Herschel after her father! And considering the actor who plays him, Scott Wilson, just passed away on Oct. 6, we love that he’ll live on in this way.
The rest of The Walking Dead premiere was just as gripping. With a suprising new romances and rivalries, we can’t wait to see what season nine brings.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.