The Walking Dead Season 10 Finale Ending Explained by Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Jeffrey Dean Morgan explains the stare down that turns into a smile to end The Walking Dead's extended Season 10 finale. Spoilers for Season 10 Episode 22, "Here's Negan." After he's banished by Carol (Melissa McBride) amid increasing tensions with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) back at Alexandria, Negan (Morgan) takes a trip down memory lane and finally mourns his wife Lucille (Hilarie Burton Morgan). When Negan returns and strolls into Alexandria, Carol warns him that Maggie will kill him if he stays. In the final seconds of the season, Negan and Maggie stare each other down as he flashes a smile and heads in. Here's Negan.

"That has to be wide open to interpretation," Morgan told Entertainment Weekly about Negan's grin. "I got to say that that really came about because me and Melissa were f---ing having fun in that little bit. I was laughing at her. We were just having a good time, in between takes and the whole deal."

Negan ends his short-lived exile because he's "not going to be the guy that can be out in the cabin by himself," Morgan explained. "So when he goes back and he makes a decision to go back, he's not going to bow down to Maggie. He's going to face this f---ing head-on. I think that little smile to Maggie is just his way of letting her know, 'I'm not running from this. I'm not running from you, and here I am.' I don't know if there's anything malicious to it. It was just, I was having fun."

His swagger comes back after his painful goodbye to Lucille, which ends with Negan burning the barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat he used to murder Maggie's husband Glenn (Steven Yeun) years earlier.

"I think after everything he had just gone through, reliving his past, I think he was itching to get a smile out. Negan is f---ing inappropriate at times," Morgan said. "That probably was an inappropriate smile, but it somehow worked. I did it other ways too. I did it a lot less jovial as well, but the editors kind of felt the same way I felt. Angela [Kang, showrunner] decided that a smile there kind of leaves it a little bit more open to interpretation."

Maggie and Negan will be forced to co-exist in Season 11 of The Walking Dead, where Maggie will wrestle with her son Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller) having to live just doors down from his father's killer.

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"When Maggie and Negan come face-to-face again and he returns to Alexandria, it's gonna make for some really messy unraveling as we contend with whether he can be redeemed," Cohan teased ahead of the Final Season, "[and] whether Maggie can forgive him."

The Final Season of The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, August 22 on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.