Well, that’s one way to kick off the final season.
The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 1 kicked off with one of the show’s best scenes yet, but it also ended with an unnecessary cliffhanger.
If you watch The Walking Dead online, you know the series went through a phase of ending on wild cliffhangers used for shock value that served nothing to the overall plot.
The tension boiling over for Negan and Maggie was inevitable, but does anyone actually think Maggie is dead? Thanks to the cliffhanger, there’s an element of familiar territory here, but the complicated dynamic between Negan and Maggie continues to be a huge draw.
Negan thought Maggie was stringing him along and would lead him to his death when he least expected it, and given his past actions, it would be the right way for him to go.
Yes, he’s turned over a new leaf and given our heroes some much-needed wins, but the bad will always overshadow the good, and that’s going to be his undoing in the end.
Did he just expect Maggie to forgive him or something? It’s hard to tell what Negan is truly thinking because, while he can spin a different tale with his mouth, his body language has always been telling.
The attempt on Maggie’s life shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it also shouldn’t have been reserved for a cliffhanger. If you watched The Walking Dead Season 11 trailer or any of the photos released, then you probably know the cliffhanger was pointless.
Still, if Maggie survives, it’s going to make this complicated dynamic infinitely more complicated. It’s not hard to imagine everyone siding with Maggie and them throwing Negan to the wolves the moment they get the chance, but there are a handful of people that do like Negan.
That will probably rear its ugly head before long and send the narrative in a different direction. Maggie was obviously holding back a lot about her time away, but it’s obvious this is the most hardened version of the character to date.
The warmth is almost well and truly gone, and when you’re traversing a world filled with the undead in the name of survival, you will inevitably lose the parts of yourself that make you human.
I appreciated that Maggie was elevated to the person leading the mission because it allowed us to see how much her skills have improved since her exit.
That’s not a knock on her abilities, I’m merely stating how much they’ve improved. On top of that, she attained a lot of experience when she went away to help these emerging communities, but I want to see her in truly shocking scenarios where she has to make the big decisions.
The trip into the train station allowed the show to zero in on the more horror aspects, which when you’re a show about survival, you need to do more often than not.
The characters are more concerned about survival than ever, thanks to the attack on Alexandria. The places they used to call safe havens are falling apart, and the only way forward is to find food for survival and try to restore some of the former glory to these settlements.
One of the wider issues with the show over the last few years is how Alexandria and some other settlements have been invincible. With defenses and resources dwindling, there’s a thirst to fix everywhere, and with the resources in surrounding areas ravaged, the characters need to go further to get the results they want.
The opening scene was both chilling and fantastic. The tension was flawlessly built up, and as a way to kickstart the final season, it worked very well.
My only annoyance with it is how the show still puts Carol in these life-or-death scenarios when her spinoff with Daryl has already been announced. This being the last season of the main series, I anticipate there being many scenes like this, and they just won’t land that well.
The better scenario would have been if AMC announced the spinoff as the final eight episodes of the season were airing. Then, it would have kept viewers on tenterhooks for longer.
The Commonwealth arc is off to a decent enough start. These people are huge from the comic books, but the fact that Ezekiel and his team managed to secure their signature armor as a means to escape the facility undermined their power.
There are so many people at this facility that it almost made me wonder whether this was a ruse from the leaders to assess whether the people would be smart enough to pull off the great escape.
While the narrative is tighter and moving ahead, there were many plot conveniences peppered throughout the “Acheron: Part One.”
AMC would have been wise to air the first two episodes together because, in all honesty, they could have promoted these opening two episodes as a big event due to how accessible it is for new viewers and the people who haven’t watched in years.
There is so much potential with the show at this stage, but it’s disconcerting how there was still an element of poor writing for some of the storylines.
Hopefully, these niggles will be ironed out in the coming episodes.
What are your thoughts on the chilling opening scene?
Were you a fan of the cliffhanger?
What do you think will become of Negan and Maggie?
Hit the comments below.
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.