There will be blood when Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) take a swing at working together on The Walking Dead. Believing the vengeful widow is luring him underground to kill him on their group's mission to Meridian in "Acheron: Part 1," Negan leaves Maggie behind to die in a subway tunnel teeming with walkers. The enemies form a truce and work together to survive in "Acheron: Part 2," only to face another threat on the road: the Reapers. When they get hunted in "Hunted," Maggie must leave behind an injured Alden (Callan McAuliffe) and continue on alone with Negan — or Alexandria starves.
"Hunted" ends in a field outside of a burned-out church, where Negan takes out a shambling walker with a swing of his crowbar. Maggie looks at the blood-dripping crowbar, remembering the bleeding baseball bat Negan uses to beat Glenn (Steven Yeun) to death in the Season 7 episode "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be."
"I think that from the moment they need to leave Alden in the church and go out, just the two of them, there is the constant push and pull of thinking that you know who the other person is," Cohan said on after-show Talking Dead. "And I think what's really interesting about the tension between Maggie and Negan is that he does protect her. It just continues to challenge the decision that you want to make about your enemy."
Negan twice saves Maggie in "Hunted," first rescuing her from an attacking Reaper before shoving her away from a flung grenade. When Maggie makes her decision to keep going without Alden, Negan follows her lead without a word.
"Just as soon as he's done something that's a little redeeming, we see the blood dripping from the crowbar," Cohan said, "and can't help but think of the blood dripping from the bat and what he did, and who he is, and how that will never change."
Maggie tells Negan as much in "Hunted," disputing his claim that "things change. People change."
"No. Maybe you've got them fooled, but not me," she scolds in the middle of zombie-infested woods. "Stop pretending you're one of us, Negan. Maybe you even believe it. But you're probably as good at lying to yourself as you are to everybody else."
It's after Negan assures Maggie he's on her side, even if that means fighting the Reapers preying on Maggie's scattered group of survivors.
"Negan just looks at her and says, 'I'm on your side.' Because of the situation that they're in, because it's so f—ing intense, he understands that the only way they're gonna survive is if they work together," Morgan said on Talking Dead. "And Maggie, being Maggie, she's stubborn and can't see past the end of her nose. He is trying to make her realize in order for them to survive, they're gonna have to work together. So he has to be very obvious and say, 'We are on the same team here.' If for no other reason to live to see tomorrow. It's so easy and he is just, again, trying to drill that home."
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Walking Dead Season 11 airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.