"We have to get them. All of them," declares Maggie (Lauren Cohan) about The Reapers in the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead Final Season Part 1, "Promises Broken." In the Season 11A finale, "For Blood," Maggie and Reapers leader Pope (Ritchie Coster) are out for blood as both sides go to war over Meridian: the community that Maggie and the Wardens lost to "The Chosen Ones." As Maggie and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) march on Meridian with their walker horde to save a starving Alexandria, those back home fight the elements — and a flood of walkers — during a violent storm that threatens to destroy the battered community that's shed enough blood.
With Daryl (Norman Reedus) on the inside of Meridian's walls with Leah (Lynn Collins), and Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) among the survivors holding down the floating fort back home, the Part 1 finale splits between two explosive storylines ending in a cliffhanger. Season 11 returns early next year with the first eight of a final 16 episodes to air in 2022.
"What I can tease is this conflict between the Reapers and our team on the outside, which includes Maggie, Negan, Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), and Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) at this point, and then our person on the inside, Daryl — all those things are starting to converge on each other. Also, we're going to see that things in Alexandria are being pushed even more to the brink," showrunner Angela Kang told EW ahead of "For Blood."
Kang hopes to deliver a "big fun storyline" to close out the first third of the final season when "For Blood" premieres October 10 on AMC.
"So the way we approached it actually was kind of like a normal midseason finale, because we had worked on the general shape of episodes 1 through 9 before we knew that this was the last season. And then there some things that had to change along the way once we went and did the Season 10 extension episodes," Kang explained of the six bonus episodes that aired earlier in 2021. "And then there are a lot of things that changed along the way because we're trying to hide our pandemic limitations, but there's pandemic limitations in every single episode that we've produced and are producing. So there are certain things that we had planned to do in episode 8 that we just simply could not. But other than that, we're trying to deliver on a big fun story line there."
"It's not going to totally close out all the stories because we've got a lot of threads going," she teased, "but we'll see things starting to crash together and get to a really a high point in the drama."