The Walking Dead Postmortem: Margot Bingham, the Voice on Eugene's Radio

Warning: this story contains spoilers for Sunday's "The Lucky Ones" episode of The Walking Dead. If you think that love isn't found on the radio, then tune right in to The Walking Dead. "Calling out live on the open air. Is anybody out there?" asks a mysterious voice that comes in over the radio to end Season 9. It's Stephanie (voice of Margot Bingham) who connects with Eugene (Josh McDermitt) over the airwaves, broadcasting a series of radio transmissions between "Blue Weevil" and "Tater Bug." After Eugene and Stephanie speak of train museums, Iron Maiden, and ice cream cones at "The Inside Scoop," their covert radio romance spurs Eugene to travel to an advanced community in Ohio: the Commonwealth.

But when Eugene and his traveling companions meet Stephanie at the Commonwealth in Season 11 of The Walking Dead, she's not the woman whose voice came over Eugene's radio. The catfish Steph-phony gaslighting Eugene is actually Shira (Chelle Ramos), who helped Deputy Governor Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) lure Eugene's group to the Commonwealth and manipulate him into divulging intel on outside communities

Revealing there is no Stephanie, Max (Bingham) tells Eugene she was the one he was talking to on the radio. We called out live on the open air and connected with Margot Bingham for the inside scoop on Max and "Stephanie" from the radio, Blue Weevil and Tater Bug's love connection, and the resistance to Commonwealth Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins).

ComicBook: This episode starts with Max's side of the radio story we saw on Eugene's end last season. Max's reveal that she's the one Eugene was talking to on the radio is years in the making, going back to 2019. How has it been finally being on The Walking Dead in the flesh?

Margot Bingham: It feels awesome. I have been waiting for this moment for a very long time (laughs). Since the reveal, well, since the announcement came out [that I was cast in Season 11], it's been obviously a very long time because of COVID and all the things and waiting and kind of revving up to this big reveal. But it feels [amazing]. I'm giddy, it's amazing. 

ComicBook: Let's talk about how Max is a blend of comic book Stephanie and Maxwell Hawkins, Pamela's personal assistant. Were you playing Stephanie in Season 10, or was it always the plan for you to be revealed as Max after this twist with the Stephanie decoy in Season 11? 

Margot Bingham: I think there were always plans in the making, but as you know with Walking Dead, there's always things that are continuing to be evolving and secrets, even for us as cast members and characters on the show. So, there were definitely things that I didn't know about, and I know the reality of the comics and as we know as viewers and fans of the show, not all of the storylines are based directly off of the comic books. So, I took it with a grain of salt as much as I could, and I tried to create the character as best as I could to what I knew about all of the characters. And just time will tell with our character, Max! 

ComicBook: When Trooper Tyler Davis takes Max hostage at the Halloween masquerade ball [in 'New Haunts'], she whispers to him, "I'm like you." What should we make of that? Does Max mean she's part of the working class like Tyler, or is this maybe a hint she's part of the Commonwealth Resistance

Margot Bingham: I think it's definitely something to take notice of, but something that I probably can't tell you without spoiling a bit. (Laughs) 

ComicBook: On that note, I've seen fans theorizing it was either Max or Mercer who slipped the list of names under Connie's door last episode. As Governor Milton's executive assistant, Max might have access to that information. What can you say about that theory, Margot? 

Margot Bingham: Hm. Well, I think that there are definitely a lot of theories about where that list came from. Obviously Max has an in to a lot of documents that Pamela Milton has, and there's a lot of people who don't like Pamela and who do like Pamela. So, we're just gonna have to wait and see which one is releasing what kind of information.

ComicBook: Max is hurt Eugene didn't know "Stephanie" isn't the woman he talked to on the radio, but Hornsby and Shira were catfishing and gaslighting Eugene. Why didn't Max tell Eugene she's the real "Stephanie" sooner? Is it really just because he seemed happy with this other woman, like Max says? 

Margot Bingham: I think Max knows her place in this hierarchy and in this classism that is the Commonwealth, and she's very cautious with her moves. She also has a lot to gain and she has a lot to lose because her family is also on the inside. So, she's cautiously aware of every move that she makes. I think she knows to keep Eugene as safe as she possibly can, but there's really only so much that she can do, so she's trying to do her best. She really is trying to do her best.

ComicBook: In the comics, Eugene and Stephanie do have an actual romantic relationship. What can you tease about what's next for Max and Eugene?

Margot Bingham: As a viewer and as a fan of the show, I really hope the best for Eugene. (Laughs) He has been trying at this love thing for as long as we've known him and obviously in an apocalypse everybody kind of wants to find love, right? So, I hope the best for both of them, and I guess we're just gonna have to wait and see what happens.

ComicBook: Max and Eugene already have shippers on Twitter and on Reddit — 

Margot Bingham: Oh, my God. 

ComicBook: — all hoping Eugene doesn't have his heart broken a second time. 

Margot Bingham: Oh, man. (Laughs)

ComicBook: Let's jump to Mercer finding out Max is the one making unauthorized contact with this rogue community. He says it's dangerous for everyone at the Commonwealth — but especially for them, because of their positions in the government. Talk about the stakes here: What happens if Pamela or Lance learns that was Max's voice on the radio?  

Margot Bingham: I think that it would be pretty bad. Obviously her cover would be blown, her job would be at risk, her brother would be at risk. There would be a lot of bad that would come of that and the years that she spent gaining Pamela's trust, that would all be gone. So Max has a lot to lose. 

ComicBook: From what we've seen of Max and Mercer together so far, we see Mercer as this protective older brother. Can you tell me about that dynamic and what we can expect to see from them in future episodes?

Margot Bingham: Well, luckily, you know, Michael James Shaw plays Mercer, and he's exceptional and he's been an amazing actor to work with, and he naturally just evokes this powerful powerhouse on screen and offscreen. I've been very lucky to be able to call him a friend and be able to work with him in tandem as brother and sister. I really love their relationship and as it continues to evolve throughout the season, it's one of my favorite relationships.

ComicBook: Through the Commonwealth, The Walking Dead is exploring themes of social class, class divide, inequality, privilege, worker's rights, which are all especially relevant today. What do you hope viewers take away from the themes of this season?

Margot Bingham: I know that viewers will definitely have an opinion for every person, but what I hope — and I think that this has been like a common theme throughout The Walking Dead — is that you can always empathize to every particular character, and everybody has a reason why they do something. It's never based out of hate, it's usually based out of love or desperation, which really stems from love. So I hope that the fans take into account this year why our characters and our heroes are doing what they're doing and that everybody's just trying their best to help each other. And I hope that it's the humanity that lives through classism and that's the thing that really soars at the end of our season.

New episodes of The Walking Dead: The Final Season Part 2 of 3 air Sundays on AMC and AMC+. 

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