The Walking Dead Finally Sheds Light on Magna’s Dark Past

After revealing a key detail behind the 13-year relationship between girlfriends Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and Magna (Nadia Hilker) in 10x04, “Silence the Whisperers,” The Walking Dead shed even more light on Magna’s guarded past in 10x05, “What It Always Is.” While Yumiko and Magna navigate rocky waters after clashing over unilateral decisions made by Miko when the Hilltop colony came under attack from walkers, it’s learned Magna and Kelly (Angel Theory) have been stealing and stashing desperately needed supplies from their new home. In their second fight in as many episodes, Magna admits she’s guilty of the actions once defended by Yumiko during her time as a criminal lawyer.

In Season 9, a suspicious Michonne (Danai Gurira) outed Magna’s history as a convict when she pointed out a prison tattoo. Now we know Magna was jailed for acting as a vigilante against a man who committed a sex crime against her young cousin.

“My cousin, she was a little girl. And he gets to go on living his life? No way,” Magna says. “But nobody came for him. So I came for him.” The bombshell admission is news to Miko, but Magna tells her, “How many people have we killed, Miko? And still that look right there.”

“I think in our backstory she murdered somebody, and she was in prison for it, and it was probably prepping to go to trial and all of that stuff. She’s a character that maybe felt from her perspective that there was a greater justice served, and, of course, there are many sides to any story, so who knows,” showrunner Angela Kang explained to EW. “She went vigilante, so is that great? Not necessarily. And the big thing for her relationship with Yumiko is that there has been a lie at the middle of it all, and that’s the thing that, for Yumiko, is so hurtful.”

“Magna raises the point, now that they’ve both killed, what does that mean? And Yumiko being somebody who was a lawyer before the apocalypse, who pledged to, in some ways, be true to the law and to rule, there’s all of that, and yet in the apocalypse everything changes, but it’s more about breaking up that trust for Yumiko,” Kang continued. “There’s a really interesting, deep character exploration, while dropping some backstory, but it becomes so complex in the way that relationships can be. There’s the questions of in the apocalypse, would they have ever been a couple, if not for everything that happened? They just happened to be together when everything went down.”

On Talking Dead, Matsuura said Magna’s confession was “really heartbreaking for Yumiko.”

“The whole relationship has been based on the idea that that’s been the truth. And finding out that — I don’t know if it’s so much as lied, but led me to believe that that was the truth — and maybe there’s a certain element of I wanted to believe it, too. But it’s really turned my world upside down,” she said. “It’s less about the crime itself, like Magna says, we’ve killed so many people by this point, we’re so far into the apocalypse. It’s more the lie itself.”

What happens next in this currently rocky relationship remains to be seen.

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“Relationships, they change, and they evolve over time, and that’s a lot of time,” Matsuura added. “It was really important for us to try and keep the relationship as real as possible, and be very respectful to these two people that love each other so much. And relationships go through hard times, and they change.”

New episodes of The Walking Dead Season 10 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.