The Walking Dead showrunner, Angela Kang, explains the little bit of trust between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in the second part of the Final Season premiere episode — “Acheron: Part 2.” The mortal enemies had to work together to survive zombie-infested subway tunnels. “Acheron: Part 1” had Maggie’s group, guided by Negan, head towards Meridian — Maggie’s home during her absence from the group of survivors. They’ll have to take it back from the Reapers if they want to help Alexandria.
When Negan suspected Maggie of luring him to death as revenge for him killing Glenn, her husband, he decides not to help Maggie when she was clinging on to a rail with walkers below.
Somehow, Maggie escaped her death in the second part of The Walking Dead premiere. She make it safely inside a subway car where Negan and the group were trapped and surrounded by walkers. Maggie tells the group what happened: she slipped, Negan saw, and left her to die. Agatha (Laurie Fortier) says they’ll kill Negan if Maggie gives the word.
But before Maggie can make a decision about what to do with Negan, Gage (Jackson Pace) returns with supplies he took after abandoning the mission. He’s on the other side of the door. He’s asking for the door to be opened, but Maggie refuses. Gage is then torn apart by the walkers. The door gives in anyway and the subway car is overrun now with the undead.
Overwhelmed by walkers, Maggie hands Negan her gun. He takes it and helps free the trapped survivors. The survivors escape when Daryl (Norman Reedus) shoots and blows up what’s left of the walkers from both sides of the train.
“An important moment in the arc between Maggie and Negan is, there’s this moment where they feel like they’re just in real trouble, and maybe they’re all going to die, and Maggie hands Negan a gun that she has on her,” showrunner Angela Kang said on The Walking Dead: Episode Insider. “Maggie really is just kind of like a cold hard leader at that point. Right then, he’s just an asset. The mission has become more important than any one individual or any one dynamic that exists between them, and that is true even for her.”
When the group made it out of the tunnels, Negan returned the gun to Maggie without saying anything. He holds it longer before releasing it. He then agues to continue guiding Maggie’s group to a nearby hidden supply depot. That detour leaves TWD fans towards another cliffhanger with the Reapers.
When Negan returns the gun to Maggie, Kang explained, “Maybe there is at least this tiny, tiny bit of trust that has passed back and forth between them, and that’s going to just be part of the shifting sands that they’re on as they’re going through this mission together.”