The extended season 10 premiere of ‘The Walking Dead’ offers a captivating character study
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
The premiere sets up her new journey and explores themes about family, motherhood, and her growth into a leader.
Just when you thought it ended, AMC’s The Walking Dead (TWD) graces our TV screens again with six brand new episodes for an extended season 10. The show premiered February 28, and it presents an in-depth character study of Lauren Cohan’s Maggie, one of the series’ most prominent female leads. Maggie, like many of TWD’s female characters, continues to be a truly riveting mainstay whose story evokes an emotionally rich pathos throughout the show. The premiere sets up her new journey and explores themes about family, motherhood, and her growth into a leader.
The first episode takes place during the aftermath of our heroes’ war with zombie mask-wearing villains the Whisperers. We follow Maggie as she leads a group of new and familiar characters to Alexandria—one of the last human communities after the finale’s climactic battle. They must now contend with not only zombies, but also mysterious antagonists called Reapers.
As usual, Cohan’s performance as Maggie gives the premiere a gravitating tone. She plays her as a determined leader and hardened survivor of the zombie apocalypse. What shapes Maggie into such a complex character is that her compassion and understanding for others are undercut by the pain she still feels from personal losses and past tragedies. Her struggle to heal or find closure amid these hurts make this lead so genuinely human.
Cohan also has perfect chemistry with Melissa McBride as Carol and Cailey Fleming as Judith Grimes that develop her character dynamics. Her scenes with them, although quite short, reflect the emotional depth of the bonds between these heroes.
The premiere thrives most when it dives into its enormous sense of family. The story gets incredibly heartwarming through Maggie’s brief scenes with her son Hershel. However, Maggie also copes with her worries as a mother when the show unpacks the character’s uncertainties about her child’s future. This subject conveys the hardships faced by parents when balancing their adult responsibilities with the well-being of their children.
During action scenes, we also see Maggie working with other characters in killing zombies that aids in tension-building. At the same time, the premiere unravels how her group learns about each other—and that brings them closer as a people. Moments like these provide a comforting warmth to viewers, while also delivering fans some classic zombie-killing fun. We are reassured by Maggie and her battle-weary company as they fight and endure together against the undead.
Overall, the extended tenth season of The Walking Dead begins with a satisfying character study at the core of its premiere. Relatable and moving, Lauren Cohan digs deeper into Maggie’s life, the personal challenges she goes through, and her humanizing role as a mother and survivor.