WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for the Season 9 premiere of The Walking Dead.
Tonight’s premiere of The Walking Dead served spots of reflection, revelation and good old fashioned terror as only this show can. But perhaps its most shocking moments came at the very end as Maggie finally did what we’ve wanted her to do for three seasons already and put Gregory out of business once and for all.
The corrupt AF former Hilltop leader got himself hung after orchestrating an attempt on Maggie’s life. If that weren’t bad enough, he did so by manipulating a dead kid’s parents and plying his alcoholic father with booze. When that didn’t work, he finally tried to do the deed himself, only to be thwarted one final time by Maggie Rhee.
At the end of the episode, it appeared as though she would mete out punishment on Earl (John Finn) who actually perpetrated the initial attack, but in a surprise twist, she revealed it was Gregory who would pay with his life. After a predictable period of weeping and begging to no avail, she hung him, and one of TWD’s most oddly enduring characters finally took his leave.
The episode was clearly structured in such a way to make it seem as though Gregory’s death was a TWIST!, but that’s not quite how it landed… It was a twist, to be sure, but not because Maggie made it seem like she was going to execute Earl. It was a twist because given the amount of times Gregory managed to sneak away from certain death, we’d given up hope he’d ever get what was coming to him.