‘Tһe Wаlkinɡ Deаd Deаd City’ Seаson 1 Endinɡ Explаined

‘The Walking Dead: Dead City’ Season 1 Ending Explained: Can Maggie Be Trusted?

Maggie and Negan might be a lot more similar than we once thought.


The Big Picture

  • Maggie and Negan’s relationship is tested as Maggie plans to trade Negan for her kidnapped son, Hershel. The finale leaves us wondering about Maggie’s next moves.
  • Negan sacrifices his relationship with Ginny and his own freedom for the safety of Hershel.
  • The Dama reveals her master plan to recruit Negan and unite the communities of Manhattan in a civil war against New Babylon. Negan is forced to confront his past and deal with the consequences.

The world of The Walking Dead continues to expand with great success in spin-offs The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon and The Walking Dead: Dead City. Season 1 of Dead City came to its conclusion in “Doma Smo,” and with a Season 2 renewal by AMC, the episode only left us with a number of loose threads ready to be pulled. The finale revealed a lot about Dead City’s unlikely duo of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), as well as a cunning plan by a big bad even larger than the Croat (Željko Ivanek). The episode covered a lot of ground very quickly, so let’s break down exactly what went down in Dead City’s Season 1 finale.

Maggie and Hershel Reunite – But at What Cost?


Dead City’s biggest success has been the character work of Maggie and Negan. Watching the two grow together and navigate the complexities of their traumatic past has provided a solid emotional core to the show, and “Doma Smo” made an effort to test that. After last week’s reveal that Maggie was intending to trade Negan to the Croat in order for her to be reunited with her kidnapped son Hershel (Logan Kim), the finale saw the duo face off when Negan discovered this truth for himself. The result is a great fight sequence where Negan clearly doesn’t want to kill Maggie, but when the Croat interrupts them, he peacefully goes along with the trade.

After her long overdue reunion with Hershel, the mother and son return to the Bricks, where Maggie receives a harsh reality check from her child. Hershel reveals that Maggie’s obsession with Negan is getting in the way of their relationship, resulting in him feeling unseen and ultimately putting her at risk of losing him. Maggie discovers that if she wants to stay present with her son, she must conquer the tragedy of their past. The conversation leaves us with an ambiguous ending as to what Maggie’s next moves will be. Will she go back to New York and save Negan? The answer could lie within the episode’s final moments. While making Hershel’s bed, Maggie finds some of his drawings: sketches of Manhattan, dilapidated buildings, and the sinister face of Dead City’s big bad, the Dama (Lisa Emery). Clearly, the Dama still has some hold on her son – more on that shortly.

Negan Sacrifices Himself for Ginny and Hershel

Who would’ve thought that when Jeffrey Dean Morgan first came swinging onto our screens in The Walking Dead’s Season 6 finale as the whistling menace, we’d actually find ourselves feeling sorry for him all these years later? Negan has grown a tremendous amount since his The Walking Dead villain days, and even more so emotionally in just six episodes of Dead City. This all crystallizes in the Season 1 finale.

Negan’s relationship with Ginny (Mahina Napoleon), a young girl whom he was traveling with when Maggie recruited him, has been a slightly underdeveloped side of the spin-off. While we’re yet to really get to know the girl (she refuses to speak for the majority of the season), “Doma Smo” hinted at her backstory, using it as a way to showcase Negan’s growth. Having secretly followed her leather jacket-wearing guardian to Manhattan, Ginny finally catches up with Negan, a reunion that didn’t go as planned for her, with Negan revealing that he had killed her father and that she was nothing more than a debt that he had to pay. Obviously, this breaks the young girl and convinces her to flee Manhattan alongside Gaius Charles’ Perlie Armstrong, which was seemingly Negan’s plan all along. It’s unclear whether Negan’s revelation was the truth or if it was a lie, crafted by Negan to get her out of the city. Either way, Negan sacrificed his relationship with Ginny in order to keep her safe. The two will probably never be the same again, but Negan, in a sign of selfless growth, did what was best for her.

Negan’s sacrifices continue as he finds himself reunited with his old ally, the Croat. Perhaps he had no choice, but Negan peacefully went along with Maggie’s trade, putting himself in the hands of the Burazi, sacrificing his own freedom for Hershel’s. One can be sure that a few years ago, Negan wouldn’t have participated so willingly in the trade, a trade in which his own care of Maggie and Hershel will keep him trapped. Furthermore, Perlie lies to the New Babylon leader (Jasmin Walker) that he killed Negan, and she explains her quest to fuel her community with methane.

The Dama Tries to Recruit Negan in ‘Dead City’s Finale


Dead City’s penultimate episode was full of revelations, one being that crazy torturer the Croat was not the leader of Manhattan’s apocalyptic operations. The Dama provides a threat even bigger than the Croat, and “Doma Smo” finally reveals her master plan. With the New Babylon Federation attempting to return the world to a level of normality, the Dama wants to unite the communities of Manhattan, to fight in a form of civil war, standing up against New Babylon’s authority. She doesn’t want a land of law and order. Instead, she wants to maintain the apocalypse’s wild West-like communities, and Negan is the key to accomplishing that.

All along, the Dama had tasked the Croat with retrieving Negan after the former Savior had revealed Negan’s talents for building a community through fear. The Dama wishes to recreate a network similar to that of what Negan built with the Sanctuary and its surrounding communities, utilizing Negan’s violence to her advantage. Having grown so much since these days, Negan is faced with unwillingly revisiting his past – a proper test for his character growth. As a final, threatening punch in the gut for the character, the Dama revealed Hershel’s severed toe, a warning that if Negan shall ever try to betray her, she knows how to hurt him the most. Hershel’s life is in Negan’s hands.

Dead City’s ending sets up a plot similar to Season 1, with Negan now a captive of the Burazi, and Maggie more than likely going to rescue him. The duo will be forced to face their past demons, with Negan blackmailed into becoming his old self, and Maggie needing to conquer her trauma or risk losing her son for good. One thing’s for sure: Season 2 can’t come soon enough!

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