By Cameron Bonomolo
Warning: this story contains spoilers for Sunday’s “No Other Way” episode of The Walking Dead. “When true hearts lie wither’d and fond ones are flown, oh, who would inhabit this bleak world alone?” so sings Alden (Callan McAuliffe) when laying Ken (AJ Achinger) to rest in Season 9 of The Walking Dead. In Season 11, it’s Alden who is laid to rest after he’s found dead by Maggie (Lauren Cohan) as the final casualty in her war with the Reapers. The gravely injured Alden made Maggie leave him behind in a church and continue on to Meridian in last year’s “Hunted,” Alden’s fate not revealed until Sunday’s “No Other Way.”
In the Final Season Part 2 premiere, Maggie returns to the church where Alden barricaded himself inside while the Reapers hunted down Maggie and the Wardens en route to Meridian. Inside, she finds a reanimated Reaper and a zombified Alden, his throat slit.
Explaining Alden’s off-screen death on Talking Dead, showrunner Angela Kang revealed what went down inside that church:
“I think the Reapers — who all have military training, special forces training, military contractor training — they know how to track people,” Kang said of the elite soldier squad commanded by Pope (Ritchie Coster) and then Leah (Lynn Collins). “They were on the trail of our folks, or they picked it up at some point, and a guy was sent out to pick up the loose ends, and they found him. The two of them fought to the death.”
Maggie mourns the Savior turned survivor and Hilltop resident, the last victim of the Reapers. In Part 1, the bloody war over Meridian cost the lives of Wardens Cole (James Devoti), Duncan (Marcus Lewis), Agatha (Laurie Fortier), and Frost (Glenn Stanton).
“I think for Maggie, there’s this horrible reminder: for one thing, here’s this person that she really cared about deeply and was a good friend,” Kang said. “The whole thing was just this zero-sum game, like both sides could have just fought to the death and all died, and she’s seeing that play out right in front of her and it breaks her heart. But she had to fulfill her promise to come back for him.”
When ComicBook asked Cohan in an exclusive postmortem if Maggie thinks she made the right choice waging war with the Reapers, Cohan answered, “I don’t know. I don’t know if she does [feel like it was worth it]. It certainly doesn’t feel like it. I don’t wanna say too much. I don’t know. It’s hard to say because it costs them so much.”
Read our exclusive postmortem with Lauren Cohan breaking down “No Other Way.” New episodes of The Walking Dead: The Final Season air Sundays on AMC and AMC+.
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter and @NewsOfTheDead for TWD Universe coverage all season long.
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