Spoiler warning for The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 1, "Acheron: Part 1." Is Negan back to being a bad guy? Is Maggie dead? Is Negan ever to be trusted? Part 1 of the two-part premiere hits the road when Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Daryl (Norman Reedus), leading a small group of survivors, conscript Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to guide their way through Washington, D.C., while en route to Meridian on a mission to save Alexandria. But when a violent storm erupts and forces them underground into a subway tunnel teeming with walkers, Negan leaves Maggie behind to die before she can kill him first.
"Acheron: Part 1" ends with Negan choosing not to help Maggie escape a zombie horde, deserting her just before she loses her grip on a subway car and falls to the walkers below — possibly to her death. (Anxious viewers can watch "Acheron: Part 2" early to find out what happens next.)
"Maggie and Negan, there's just no love lost between them. They don't trust each other, and why should they, given the history that has preceded them up to this point," said showrunner Angela Kang on The Walking Dead: Episode Insider. "After Glenn was killed in front of Maggie, and [Negan] just seemed to find such glee in that, I don't feel that Maggie is at a place where she thinks she is ever going to forgive this person. And I think for Negan's part, he feels like he's been on a journey to try and redeem himself, and it's been a bumpy one."
Negan suspected Maggie took him into the tunnels so she could kill him and avenge Glenn (Steven Yeun) away from the prying eyes of Alexandria and her son Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller), but is Negan again a villain?
"This is not a person who is, by any means, perfect. I think there's a lot of times that he is definitely in a gray area, maybe even still in a villainous area. But he's trying, and she's not been privy to a lot of that," Kang explained. "So he feels like her view of him is stuck back when she came and was going to, as a vigilante, take him out [in Season 9]. She just left him to rot in jail. So I think, on either side, the lack of trust is absolutely warranted."
"If you're Negan, of course you think she's gonna try to take you out," Kang continued. "She did it once, why wouldn't she do it again? For Maggie's part, I think she recognizes, very reluctantly, that this is a person who is formidable and can be a resource, but she doesn't trust him. So I think they're really starting the season just as far apart as they can possibly be."
Should Maggie live beyond the first episode of the Final Season, she and Negan just might have to work together to survive what's coming next: new villain group the Reapers. Here's what viewers are saying about Negan's nefarious decision and the cliffhanger ending to the season premiere:
From @teenwolfhuman and @IntenseReissprevnext
From @DammitWade and @courtgirl26
Not surprised he left Maggie. Negan is going to be Negan which means he's going to use whatever the situation is for his favor including leaving someone behind to die. Such a great guy.🙄#TWD #TWDFamily #TWDFinalSeason #TWDUniverse #TheWalkingDead pic.twitter.com/glYzqE0BGg— Grimes Family❤️🧔🏻👩🏾👦🏽👧🏻 (@courtgirl26) August 23, 2021
From @_taylorquinn and @dogmagayleprevnext
From @QueenofMisfitz and @DreamWriter_20 and @HaileyFig
And THAT is EXACTLY why Maggie should have took him out 😠 #TheWalkingDead— Sirod ミ☆ (@DreamWriter_20) August 23, 2021
I’ve been saying it since they’ve been trying to “Redeem” him FUCK NEGAN #TheWalkingDead— Hailey Figueiredo (@HaileyFig) August 23, 2021
From @mirandaannW and @RoseCV7prevnext
From @NellyBelle3379 and @jenna_6492prevnext
From @stylesnjhflickr and @Unique_Asia29
OMG WHAT THE HECK NOT NEGAN LEAVING MAGGIE TO DIE WTF THAT COULDVE BEEN HIS REDEMPTION #TheWalkingDead— z ♡ (@stylesnjhflickr) August 23, 2021