The Walking Dead Reveals Why Maggie Left — And Why She Returns

Maggie is back. After years away on the road, Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) returned to The Walking [...]

Maggie is back. After years away on the road, Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) returned to The Walking Dead when the survivors silenced the Whisperers in October's "A Certain Doom." Some seven years before Season 10, Maggie plotted to execute Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) but left him to rot in prison for murdering Glenn (Steven Yeun). The widowed Maggie and her one-year-old son Hershel (Peyton Lockridge) left their home at the Hilltop colony with Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) — the bespectacled benefactor who bartered Maggie a key to a future in Season 8 episode "The Key" — and in Season 9 episode "Stradivarius," we learned Maggie went "someplace far" to help Georgie with a new community.

It's seven years later when a released Negan spoils Maggie's homecoming in the extended Season 10 premiere, "Home Sweet Home," where Daryl (Norman Reedus) sets off with Maggie to pick up a now eight-year-old Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller) and the rest of their people at a nearby rendezvous point. The Rhees lived with Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) and Cole's (James Devoti) people until recently, when they lost a village to a pack of human-hunting executioners called the Reapers.

When Daryl tells Maggie he feared she was gone after she stopped sending letters to Carol (Melissa McBride) and their group of survivors, Maggie confesses: "I wasn't close to the drop for a long time. And when I was… well, when I was, I just didn't stop." Maggie explains she and Georgie, along with twins Midge (Misty Ormiston) and Hilda (Kim Ormiston), would find groups and help them the way Georgie helped Hilltop but things would "always go sideways."

Maggie doesn't know what happened to Georgie — she last saw her and the twins a few summers ago near Knoxville, Tennessee, before the trio went out west — telling Daryl, "I stayed back with Hershel. And not long after, the place fell, and we ran. I haven't seen her since."

What happened to her group? The village they lost? "Not now," Maggie tells him, unable to bring herself to say all of it out loud — a story for another time. Maggie almost came home after Knoxville but didn't. She couldn't.

"Truth is I left home because I couldn't have Negan taking up any more space in my head. And then I realized I didn't want to bring Hershel back to that," Maggie reveals about her years away. "The next morning we met this whole community of people who needed us as much as we needed them. And it felt like it was meant to be. But that's over too."

On the run from the Reapers and unable to return to their community burned to ashes by Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers, Maggie tells Daryl: "I'll deal with Negan if I have to. Right now the only thing that matters is Alexandria."

Maggie and Hershel are coming home.

New episodes of The Walking Dead extended Season 10 premiere Sundays at 9 pm ET/8c on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.