Before Hornsby can finish his speech to the people of Alexandria, “The Walking Dead” fans are greeted with a rather abrupt flashforward and a title card that reads “Six Months Later.” With Elijah at her side, Maggie stands cross armed on top of the gate at Hilltop. Though she doesn’t appear overly hostile, she is clearly displeased by whatever stands just outside the fence.
Only a second later, an entire battalion of Commonwealth stormtroopers are revealed to be standing outside. In addition to at least 15 soldiers, one man, conspicuously out of uniform, seems to be handing out orders. After a brief discussion with the plainclothes gentleman, one soldier approaches the gate, looks at Maggie, and threateningly says, “Open up.” Unwaveringly, Maggie responds, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” Shockingly, the soldier removes his mask, revealing the face of Daryl Dixon, who menacingly responds, “Yeah, yeah it does.” Of course, this reveals should prompt a variety of questions from fans of the series, the least of which is… Who else is standing there in uniform?
Additionally, we also have to wonder just how far in the future of the series this six-month time jump actually represents. Could this scene setup the finale of Season 11, Part 2? Or, could it potentially tease the final endgame of the entire series or the setup of Daryl and Carol’s coming spinoff? Either way, the coming weeks will need to explain what possible conflict within the walls of the Commonwealth leads to such a dramatic confrontation between old friends.
Episodes of “The Walking Dead” air on AMC on Sunday nights at 9/8c (via AMC). Check out AMC+ for early access to each episode.