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Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Walking Dead's Season 10 winter premiere!
Months after leaving fans with a cave full of walkers in the midseason finale, The Walking Dead returned to AMC for a winter premiere filled with impenetrable darkness, terrible Carol decisions, and weirdly erotic interactions between Negan and Alpha. When the dust was somewhat settled by the end of the episode, not everyone managed to escape the caverns before the dynamite explosion brought it all crashing down, with the fates of Nadia Hilker's Magna and Lauren Ridloff's Connie left up in the air. (Or down below the ground, as it were.)
To be expected, The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang didn't fully provide full answers for this latest cliffhanger, though what she did say should give audiences a decent amount of faith that things may work out for Magna and Connie. In Kang's words:
It's an episode where just the ramifications of everything that happened in the cave just ripple out through the season. There are two people that got buried within the cave, whether alive or dead, our people don't know. That triggers the next set of adventures for Daryl where he, on the search, is going to find some things that are unexpected. And I think emotionally, for our characters, just the question of whether they're alive or dead really has a lot of impact on them going forward. We will eventually find out the fate of Magna and Connie. But in the meantime, there's a lot of our characters such as Carol, who are living with the guilt, or people who are activated to try to find them, or just deal with the emotional fallout from it.
While the situation could obviously spin in a more depressing outcome later on, I think it's at least a safe bet at this very moment that Magna and Connie did indeed survive the cave-in, and will be trying to find an alternate escape route in future episodes. That said, it doesn't sound like viewers are going to witness much of that hunt, since The Walking Dead very much loves to make fans worried about missing characters.
Clearly, Daryl is going to be taking charge when it comes to tracking them down, and I would assume Kelly will be in on those mini-missions as well. It'll be interesting to see what unexpected discoveries he makes while searching. Could Daryl possibly discover Negan and Alpha in the act of lovemaking? Will he find someone else in the cave system other than Magna and Connie? Or was Angela Kang talking about something different when giving the above answer to Insider?
Could it be that Daryl is going to make the self-realization that he has THOSE kinds of feelings for Connie? That would certainly send the fanbase into the stratosphere, considering The Walking Dead has purposefully kept Daryl's storylines from straying too far into romantic territories in the past. It's quite clear that those two characters have a bond that's stronger than whatever odors are coming from Daryl's unwashed mane.
To that end, Angela Kang was asked about trying to set up a rivalry between different sections of the Walking Dead fandom, particularly the Carol-and-Daryl shippers and the Connie-and-Daryl shippers. Unfortunately for fans already sharpening their fangs and fingernails, the goal with this cliffhanger wasn't to inspire animosity. In Kang's words:
We're not trying to pit any shippers against each other. . . . So there's no, certainly amongst the characters, there's no sort of animosity, which adds to the sense of shame and pain and guilt, and everything for Carol, because it's somebody that she knew was important to Daryl regardless of whether he is comfortable saying anything about it, or whether he's aware, or whatever it is. They [Connie and Daryl], at the very least, have a friendship that matters. And for Carol, she really likes Connie too. And so it's very painful for her to think that any harm might have befallen Connie as a result of her actions.
Those words make sense, of course, given how Carol (pretty righteously) blamed herself for the series of events leading to the explosion that caused the cave-in. After Daryl expressly asked for her trust and honesty earlier in the episode, Carol followed her vengeful conscience on a solo outing that put everyone's lives at risk, which is not something you'd expect from the one person in the group suffering from claustrophobia.
In any case, I can't imagine that many fans out there are expecting Daryl and Carol's relationship to take any noteworthy leaps forward in the near future, since he'll be busy looking for Magna and Connie, while she'll likely be looking for her next chance to bring pain and panic to Alpha and the Whisperers. Maybe those two missions will come together so that Daryl and Carol can find some common ground again.
What do you guys think will happen with Magna and Connie? Are they going to escape the caves relatively unscathed, or is The Walking Dead setting viewers up for some heartache in upcoming episodes? Will this plotline have anything to do with Michonne's eventual exit or Lauren Cohan's return as Maggie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Now that it has returned for the back half of Season 10, The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET.