Why Maggie Might Be the Hero 'The Walking Dead' Needs

the walking dead season 7 episode 5 maggie lauren cohan

This article contains spoilers for Season 7, Episode 5 of The Walking Dead, "Go Getters."

Enter Maggie, ultimate badass: if there's any hope left on the horizon, she's got to be it.

The Walking Dead's seventh-season premiere last month found the fan-favorite heroine abused, humiliated, and utterly traumatized, forced to watch helplessly as her husband, Glenn, was beaten to death in cold blood by the new Big Bad. Left half-dead, pregnant, and in serious need of medical attention, she seemed on the verge of being the episode's third victim. (In fact, she was in such dire shape that Negan himself assumed she never made it, as he so cruelly mentioned last week.)

But rather than admit defeat — and unlike everybody around her -- she got back up, dusted herself off, and took the first steps toward revenge. Now she's holing up at the Hilltop, still very pregnant, still in poor health. That's not stopping her: as tonight's episode resoundingly proved, the future is Maggie Greene.

To begin with, Maggie seems to be coping with Glenn's death better than just about anyone else who knew him, including Daryl and Rick, both of whom have been paralyzed by remorse over it. After paying her respects at his grave -- and after a consoling talk with Sasha, who's putting on a brave face for the sake of her ailing friend -- Maggie is eager to look ahead, ready to address problems both immediate (such as the baby in her belly and where she's going to have it) and long-term (such as how the Negan problem might be dealt with going forward).

t's worth noting that all of all the survivors we've caught up with since the grisly premiere, from Daryl in solitary confinement in the Sanctuary to Carol settling in by the Kingdom to Rick et al. getting by as usual in Alexandria, only Maggie seems composed and in control. Everybody else has capitulated to the terror of Negan and is just trying to deal with it. Maggie, on the other hand, is feeling inspired. She's fired up.

Good timing. The Saviours (understandably) suspect the Hilltop of their involvement in the raids on a nearby Sanctuary outpost that left several dozen of Negan's people dead, and in a characteristically extravagant display of punishment, they've rigged up some crazy flaming-trash-and-music-blasting-car thing designed to send hungry walkers roaming into the community en masse in pursuit of a noisy meal. It's Maggie who leads the charge -- she barks orders at the locals, orchestrates a quick clean-up, and even commandeers some farm equipment to plow down the dead and crush the stereo trap under a 20-foot tire. Need I remind you that this woman is several months pregnant?

In five swift minutes, Maggie proves not only that she's quite capable of surviving through grief and making the most of a bad situation. She proves that she's the one person at the Hilltop best suited to running it.

maggie the walking dead lauren cohan
Gene Page/AMC

It isn't long before her leadership skills are tested. We already saw, last season, that Maggie can handle herself in negotiations with the present leader of the Hilltop, the spineless and almost cartoonishly despicable Gregory, not that the guy can even be bothered to remember her name (or remember that Sasha is one of the Alexandrians visiting and not a longtime constituent of his own community -- he kind of has a memory problem).

But this week the usual tête-à-têtes go further: after demanding that Maggie and Sasha hit the road (pregnancy be damned), grossly insinuating that sex may be a bargaining chip to that end, and finally attempting to give them up to the Saviours outright in a shameless display of cowardice, Gregory finds the endlessly patient Maggie at wit's end, no longer willing to leave, concede, or even extend the man courtesy. Instead, she informally wrests control out of his hands -- and punches him in the face for good measure.

It's safe to say that going forward, Gregory won't be putting up much of a fight. And it's a good bet that the Hilltop will take to their new de facto leader about as well as she'll take to the new role.

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Calum Marsh is a freelance writer with a love of the undead and an eye toward the future. Follow him for more prognostication @calummarsh.