What Happens When Maggie Returns and Finds Out Negan Is Free on The Walking Dead?

When Hilltop leader Maggie (Lauren Cohan) returns to The Walking Dead, she'll learn Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a free man. A sneak preview of the postponed Season 10 finale shows Maggie unearthing a letter left by Carol (Melissa McBride) about the threat posed by Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers, now under the command of Beta (Ryan Hurst) following Alpha's murder. Because the letter was penned in-between the events of the Season 9 finale and the Season 10 premiere, Maggie doesn't yet know her husband's killer is no longer jailed — or that it was Carol who set him loose to kill Alpha.

Maggie confronted a jailed Negan some six years earlier, when she and Daryl (Norman Reedus) conspired to kill the ousted Savior leader after Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) made the unilateral decision to keep him alive. 18 months after murdering Glenn (Steven Yeun), a withered Negan begged for death but was spared by Maggie. "I came to kill Negan," she told him, "and you're already worse than dead."

Carol wrestled with her decision to free Negan when she was seen studying Glenn's portrait before the Hilltop went to war with the Whisperers in Season 10 episode "Morning Star." It took Negan only three days to infiltrate the Whisperers and get close enough to Alpha to slit her throat, avenging Carol's murdered son Henry (Matt Lintz).

Also avenged: Maggie's friends killed during the conflict with the Whisperers, among them Enid (Katelyn Nacon), who acted as caretaker for a pregnant Maggie, and interim Hilltop leaders Jesus (Tom Payne) and Tara (Alanna Masterson). More recently, the Whisperers were responsible for the deaths of Siddiq (Avi Nash) and Hilltop blacksmith Earl (John Finn).

"Just like in life, it might be one of those things she doesn’t know until she faces it," Cohan previously told the AMC blog when asked what might happen when Maggie next sees Negan. "She definitely decided not to kill him on that day when Michonne discouraged her. She did go that way. Forgiveness is liberating. I suppose we'll get to see to what degree she has decided to liberate herself."

Despite the multiple heroic deeds carried out by Negan during Maggie's absence, including the separate rescues of Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) and Aaron (Ross Marquand), Morgan expects Negan to encounter push back from the widowed Maggie. During an October convention appearance, Morgan predicted, "I don't think Maggie's gonna like Negan. I'm not sure that's going away."

"I would imagine there would be some sort of confrontation, or ten," Morgan said. "She hasn't seen what Negan's done, or who he's become, she doesn't know. The last time she saw him, he was laying on the ground of the jail cell wanting to die. So some stuff has happened since then, but I imagine it's not going to be hugs and kisses."

Showrunner Angela Kang has since revealed future episodes, including the upcoming Season 10 finale, will address how other characters feel about Negan's release from jail and his attempt to assimilate into Alexandria.

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Maggie will first reappear in the final episode of Season 10, "A Certain Doom," before Cohan rejoins as a series regular in Season 11.

The Walking Dead next airs “A Certain Doom” as a special episode later this year. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.