Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead, titled "The King, the Widow and Rick."
All-out war has broken out between the various settlements on The Walking Dead in Season 8. A lot of people (and one tiger) have been killed in the escalating battle against the Saviors. Tensions have been rising within some of the settlements as well, and "The King, the Widow, and Rick" has raised the question of whether violence could be in store for the citizens of Hilltop from within their own ranks. Could a riot happen at Hilltop?
While Hilltop was seemingly united behind Maggie with Jesus as her lieutenant early in Season 8, it has become apparent over the episodes that not everybody is on the same page at the settlement. Jesus wants the survivors to hold onto some of their human decency as they fight the Saviors, not wanting to sink to their levels of brutality, and he went so far as to take a large group of Saviors captive and bring them back to Hilltop rather than execute them right on the spot. In "The King, the Widow, and Rick," we saw reactions to Jesus' decision.
Unsurprisingly, not everybody at Hilltop was on board with giving up resources to feed members of Negan's army, and many undoubtedly considered the prospect of simply killing the captives to be preferable to sustaining them. Maggie ultimately made the decision to allow the Savior captives to live, although contained within a barbed wire pen. It seemed like a magnanimous move by the leader of the Hilltop... until Maggie came clean to Jesus.
She confessed that she was only allowing the Saviors to live because she might be able to use them as bargaining chips. According to her, any Saviors that are left after the conflict ends need to die. If the captives can't be traded or used against the Saviors, then they'll be killed. This is not what Jesus was going for when he brought the captives back to the settlement, and her decision could lead to an insurrection of sorts.
Jesus may not be willing to simply accept Maggie's decision this time around, and he hasn't made enemies of the majority of his own people the same way that Gregory did. He could very well decide to rise up against Maggie with the help of some friends and sympathizers among the other folks at Hilltop. It's difficult to imagine that he would ever deliberately begin a riot or attempt to harm Maggie, but The Walking Dead has made it clear that chaos can ensue if there's not one central figure in charge. If Jesus can't control everybody who agrees with him or if things get out of control, somebody could start something that can only end in violence.
The biggest variable within Hilltop at the moment is the containment of the Saviors. If Jesus or one of his potential supporters sets them free or trusts even one of them to cooperate, everything could fall apart very quickly. Saviors on the loose within the walls of Hilltop would get very bloody. On the one hand, the Saviors could simply erupt on a violent mission to kill anyone and everyone at Hilltop. On the other hand, the people of Hilltop could start trying to kill each other if one side betrays the other by cooperating with the Saviors. Who knows? Perhaps a free-for-all could ensue with everybody trying to kill each other in a big zombie apocalypse melee.
Interestingly, Maggie may be the one in the most danger in this situation. Jesus has reason not to trust her, knowing that she still means to wipe out all the Saviors despite claiming to protect the captives as long as they cooperate. The people of Hilltop who don't want to feed the Saviors don't know that Maggie is only using the captives as bargaining chips, and they might want her out of power as well. The Saviors will obviously want to take out the Widow. Violence breaking out in Hilltop would likely put her in the figurative crosshairs of a lot of people.
You can catch new episodes of The Walking Dead on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. For all the shows that aren't as lucky as The Walking Dead, take a look at our rundown of all the 2017 TV cancellations. Our 2018 midseason TV premiere guide can point you toward all the dates you need for the new year. The ratings for The Walking Dead Season 8 have been shrinking; we'll have to wait and see if they'll get a boost in the remaining episodes of this year.