Maggie (Lauren Cohan) makes a life-or-death decision that seals Gage's (Jackson Pace) fate in a talked-about scene from The Walking Dead. Sunday's "Acheron: Part 2" traps Maggie and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) inside a zombie-swarmed subway car in the tunnels beneath D.C. after Gage and Roy (C. Thomas Howell) abandon their group's mission to Meridian, taking off with ammo and supplies needed to save Alexandria. But when Gage gets lost in the subway filled with walkers, returning too late to get to safety inside the train car, Maggie makes the call to keep closed the only door standing in the way of Gage getting out of the tunnels alive.
Deciding that saving Gage risks the lives of the other trapped survivors on the train, Maggie tells him, "I'm sorry. I can't." Gage utters his last word when he calls her a "liar," staring down Maggie and the others as he stabs himself repeatedly in the heart before he's bitten and torn apart by walkers that have filtered inside the unsecured end of the train car.
"We felt that it was really important to come to a point in this story where a horrible decision had to be made. Gage is so young. I mean, the guy is kind of a jerk," showrunner Angela Kang explained on The Walking Dead: Episode Insider, recalling how Gage bullied ex-Whisperer Lydia (Cassady McClincy) back in Season 10. "We thought somebody like that, who's still kind of young and growing... He's out on this mission because he wants to try to help and try to redeem something, but he made some bad choices, once again."
Maggie and her people "would have let him back in if they could have," Kang explained, "but I think when they look at the math of, you've got a herd of zombies coming after you, you were a coward, if we let you in, now we're going to use our ammo, we're going to use our energy. You might die anyway, and we might all die."
"I think that Maggie kind of looks at that and she thinks like a general and goes, 'You're an acceptable loss in order for the rest of us to go on,'" Kang continued. "But that doesn't make the decision any nicer or easier because he also takes his moment to kind of say, 'F you.' Like, if you're going to do this, then you're going to watch me turn in front of you. Like, that's what's going to happen."
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Walking Dead Season 11 airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.