Maggie returns in The Walking Dead season 10, and the first of its bonus episodes has revealed what she’s been up to since leaving in season 9. With the Whisperer War now behind them, the survivors of Alexandria and Hilltop are picking up the pieces and hoping to rebuild. Maggie, too, is looking for a stable home to raise her son, Hershel, and to offer some peace of mind to the new people she’s met on her travels. Maggie is expected to stick around come the delayed season 11, and assuming she survives, will likely see The Walking Dead through to its series finale.
Prior to her in the nick of time return during the final throes of the Whisperer War, Maggie last appeared in The Walking Dead season 9 episode, “What Comes After”. This is the episode in which Rick appears to die in a bridge explosion, and is followed by the show’s six year time jump. Maggie takes her son, Hershel, and leaves roughly a year before The Walking Dead picks up again after the time jump, meaning it’s been somewhere between two to three years that Maggie has been gone.
In that time, quite a lot has happened on The Walking Dead, what with the Whisperers, Michonne’s departure, the fall of Hilltop, and Negan being freed. Of course, a lot has happened to Maggie as well, and she details some of what she’s experienced to Daryl in the new season 10 episode, “Home Sweet Home.” Here’s everything Maggie has done since she left in The Walking Dead season 9:
With Hilltop prospering, Maggie decides to take Hershel and leave with Georgie, helping to bring the ideas found in her A Key to the Future to new communities. She travels with Georgie and teaches new groups the skills necessary to thrive; concepts like rerouting water and building a forge that have helped Alexandria and Hilltop transform into more established communities. Each time, though, things fall apart and the communities don’t last. During this period, Maggie corresponds with Hilltop via a drop off point where letters are left for the two parties to collect. However, as time passes by, Maggie visits the drop point less and less and eventually stops going all together.
About two years prior to Maggie coming home in The Walking Dead season 10, Georgie and her are helping to build up a community near Knoxville, Tennessee. While there, Georgie learns of another community out west and leaves to visit it, taking the twins along with her. Maggie decides to stay behind in Knoxville and she hasn’t seen or heard from Georgie since. In time, the Knoxville community falls apart as well, sending Maggie and Hershel on the run. It hasn’t yet been revealed what caused the Knoxville community to collapse, be it an internal struggle among its residents or some outside force, but Maggie’s telling clearly implies the memory is too painful to relive just now.
Following the end of the Knoxville community, Maggie and Hershel travel to her nana’s place near the ocean. Maggie doesn’t say exactly where this ocean-adjacent house is, but North Carolina isn’t a bad guess considering it’s just one state east of Tennessee. Not too mention, its coast is a popular location for vacation homes. Her nana’s house is also significant because as Maggie explains it’s somewhere Glenn and her had discussed visiting after Beth’s death. They never went, but Maggie takes this as an opportunity to instead bring Hershel there and he loves it.
While enjoying this peaceful time near the sea, Maggie tells Hershel all about the family he never had the chance to meet. Inevitably, he asks about how his dad died, and Maggie explains to him that a bad man killed Glenn. Hershel asks if that man got what he deserved, and though she doesn’t tell Daryl how she responded, it’s abundantly clear Maggie doesn’t believe that he did. She goes on to explain that Negan is the real reason she left in the first place, and that she hesitated to return because she didn’t want to revisit her painful memories, nor introduce them to Hershel.
The day after telling Hershel about his father’s grim fate, Maggie and him meet a new group who “needed us as much as we need them“. Again, it’s unclear precisely where this meeting occurs, but presumably it’s near the location of the house by the ocean. This community is likely where Maggie meets Elijah, the masked man who carries the dual scythes, and Cole, the other man accompanying Maggie in season 10. Given that she was in Knoxville roughly two years ago, Maggie may have been with this community for a whole year, but the exact time frame isn’t entirely clear. Regardless, this community doesn’t last long and is destroyed in an attack by a group called The Reapers.
While it’s unknown how the Knoxville community fell apart, this more recent community Maggie joined ends with an attack from The Reapers. Little is known about this villainous group, but judging by Maggie’s reaction to being followed by them and the swiftness with which the one Reaper who does appear kills off multiple members of Maggie’s group suggests they’re a very serious threat. On top of that, the sole Reaper who attacks in this episode is heavily armed and kitted out in full military gear, implying The Reapers are a well-supplied group.
Following The Reapers’ attack, Maggie leads the survivors back towards Alexandria and Hilltop – which if they first met in North Carolina, would have them traveling north into Virginia. It’s on this trip that she stops again at the drop off point and receives the many letters she missed detailing the Whisperer War. In The Walking Dead season 10 “A Certain Doom”, Maggie and her allies arrive in the nick of time to help defeat The Whisperers, reuniting her with the group she left some two to three years prior.