Welcome to the final week before The Walking Dead’s eighth season premieres, one that promises an all-out war, multiple deaths, and Rick Grimes running into a familiar face.
Seven years ago, AMC celebrated Halloween 2010 with the debut of a comic book-turned-show focusing around the zombie apocalypse. As we enter the eighth season, only six characters from the show’s first two seasons remain, one of those being farmgirl-turned-Hilltop Colony leader Maggie Greene-Rhee.
From her father’s farm outside of Atlanta to different colonies in Virginia, Maggie has been one of Team Family’s key members over the years, and today, we’ll look at her top 10 moments across her six full seasons. Because this contains moments from Season 2 through Season 7, a spoiler warning is in effect starting now.
10. Maggie, the Saviors, and The Same Boat
While Season 6’s “The Same Boat” is one of the series’ more divisive episodes, in large part because it served as filler and neither Carol or Maggie were in true danger, the lone Greene left does get points for how she handled being captured by the Saviors while being pregnant. Maggie’s first lines of the episode? “They need our help?” Maggie’s response to being called an idiot for getting pregnant in the apocalypse? “When was it ever smart to get knocked up?”
In an episode that unfortunately repeats many of the same tired themes the show has tried to create under Scott M. Gimple, Maggie is an interesting change of pace in how she deconstructs the “we are the ones who live” tropes. Paula, Polly, and the rest of the Saviors in this episode never worked as anything more than villains of the week, but Maggie’s composure and ability to handle them the way she did was a great foreshadowing of her becoming the Hilltop’s leader in Season 7.
9. Forgiving Daryl
Speaking of Season 7, let’s think about Maggie’s arc through what is only about a two-week span as she loses her husband, is nearly sold out by the Hilltop, becomes the leader of Hilltop, and helps start a war all while wanting to honor her dead husband. That in itself is worthy of a spot on this list, but there’s one particular moment I want to highlight first.
In the comics, Maggie has always been weaker than her show counterpart, but her reaction to Glenn dying is much different, including a moment where she punches Rick — who she blames for her husband’s death — and has a gun pulled on her by Carl. It’s hard to blame Maggie for her grief, we acknowledge that, but how the show dealt with her character after that tragic night was so much more effective. We needed to see Maggie fight the urge to be this broken, fully grieving woman because she was never going to be that character, especially not when Negan was still alive.
Why is this important now? Maggie could have easily blamed Daryl for the same thing, but she gently tells him that it wasn’t his fault and how much Glenn loved him like a brother. Though there is an argument Maggie didn’t go off on Daryl because he’s the fan-favorite and it would have made her — and by extension, Lauren Cohan — look like any negative word for women that you want to use (if you don’t believe me, look up when people were calling Michonne and Danai Gurira a “Mammy” because her character hooked up with Rick), the lines were spoken with so much genuineness that this takes the ninth spot on our list.
8. Maggie shows up right off the bat
When memorable introductions in The Walking Dead are discussed, it’s usually Daryl, Merle, the Governor, Negan, and the other loud, brash characters who come to mind. Why doesn’t Maggie Greene get any love when her second scene — and first that focuses on her, not on Hershel, Rick, or Carl after the boy’s Season 2 shooting — is literally her riding in on a horse with an aluminum bat to save Andrea from getting chomped on.
The irony is not lost, by the way, when you realize Maggie and Glenn’s first and last encounters each involved a bat — and her introduction episode was nearly half a year before Negan and Lucille were introduced. Did Glen Mazzara sneak a peek at Robert Kirkman’s notes?
7. The reunion
Anytime Glenn and Maggie reunited, whether it’s after what happened at Woodbury or the latter’s Season 6 kidnapping by the Saviors, we were in for some tears. Of all those moments, it’s their Season 4 reunion after the prison’s fall, where Maggie stumbles into the light and embraces her husband, that earns our vote here. All of the backstory leading up to this reunion — Maggie burning the picture Glenn took of her, writing the messages on the signs — makes this one of the show’s greatest scenes.
Now, as for Maggie seemingly forgetting about Beth, that’s a different story entirely.
6. Maggie and Beth, sisters forever
Watching Maggie crumble in the Season 5 midseason finale when she sees Daryl carry her sister’s dead body out of Grady Memorial Hospital becomes even harsher when you remember the older sister saving the younger’s life in Season 2. After Shane leads an attack on Hershel’s walker-infested barn, a barn that has his wife (Beth’s mother and Maggie’s stepmother) and son inside, Beth is absolutely devastated at watching her family truly die — having her mother try to eat her before receiving a pitchfork through the head didn’t help matters either — so she wants to consider suicide.
So, what happens? Maggie, with some help from Lori (some) and Andrea (who had a strong message, but worded it poorly), is able to convince Beth to live not by yelling or guilt, but by admitting her sister has valid points but she wants Beth to live. Given that a lot of shows continue to struggle with portraying suicide, it’s hard to hate this scene and what it meant for both characters going forward.
For what it’s worth, Beth also has one of the best comebacks this series has ever had when Maggie brings up Hershel’s reaction.
“What’s he gonna do? Kill me for committing suicide?”
Seeing as you’d reanimate if you slit your wrists and no one destroyed your brain, probably.
5. Maggie and Aaron go sewer hunting
The only true bright spot in what was a terrible Season 6 episode in “Now,” Maggie and Aaron go underneath the Alexandrian sewers as they try to find Glenn. Part of this moment landing on the list has to do with Maggie’s reveal that she’s pregnant, while the other half is simply her willing to risk both her and her baby in walker-infested sewers just so she could find Glenn. If that’s not true loyalty in the zombie apocalypse, I don’t know what is.
4. Leading The Hilltop
Again, a fairly simple moment, but credit has to be given where credit is due when it comes to Maggie’s leadership at the Hilltop. Through the end of Season 7, she already has the Hilltopians (Hilltoppers? Hiltoppites?) going through weapons training and preparing for a world of self-sustainability that doesn’t involve the Saviors. Even before replacing Gregory as the public leader, Maggie was destroying cars with tractors all while pregnant and still mourning Glenn.
Season 8 will show us if Maggie’s leadership will work out for the colony — and by extension, the Militia — but what she’s done already gains our approval for the fourth slot.
3. Maggie Rhee
This is one of those scenes where my own words won’t do it justice. Just sit back and watch.
2. Maggie redeems Sasha and Gabriel
With everything that Father Gabriel did both before and after joining Team Family in Season 5, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone when his taunting of PTSD-possessing Sasha had the sniper pointing her rifle at his head. By that point, most of the group would have either let Sasha beat him into submission or attack her to save Gabriel, yet Maggie instead gathered the two for a prayer. Within a few days, Sasha was on the steps to treating her illness and Gabriel was ready to become a vital member of the group.
What makes this moment so special, though, is that it’s not forced and we don’t have to actually hear what’s being said. In a show that’s lacked “show, don’t tell” moments in recent seasons, the sole image of Maggie, Gabriel, and Sasha praying together says everything we need to know about the three and more.
1. Maggie stands up to the Governor
I’m not quite sure anything else would have been a better choice, honestly. In one room, the Governor has Glenn trapped and being tortured by Merle and a captured walker while in the other, he’s threatening to rape Maggie so she’ll tell him about the farm. There were so many options the writers could have gone here, even potentially making Maggie the show’s version of Michonne who suffers a similar, more grotesque fate in the comics, but the farmgirl-turned-survivor shuts the tyrant down in a way befitting Hershel’s eldest daughter.
“Just do what you’re gonna do and go to hell.”
The Governor, either because he’s impressed or he’s intimidated, backs down. Maggie 1, the Governor 0. There are no tropes about the damsel in distress becoming a broken bird that’s been raped, no poorly-written dialogue by people trying to get inside the mind of a woman who’s being threatened with sexual assault.
All we have here is what we had in Season 2 and what we’ve had since: Maggie showing she has bigger stones than any of the male characters trying to belittle or ruin her. If it wasn’t her relationship with Glenn or her ability with a gun that drove you to like Maggie, this was likely the scene that did it.
[Featured Image by Gene Page/AMC]