Maggie relentlessly executed the surviving Reapers, but allowed Leah to escape in The Walking Dead. The brutal battle in the Walking Dead season 11 part 2 premiere finally ended the conflict between the Reapers and Maggie’s group. However, Leah’s survival has created a possible loose end.
There were moments in the episode where there may have been a sense that the two groups could have parted ways without any further violence. That was Daryl’s plan after they succeeded in subduing Carver. But unsurprisingly, Leah was unwilling to just walk away without making one last attempt on her enemies’ lives. Shortly after this idea failed to pan out, Maggie reluctantly agreed to go along with Daryl’s wishes, only to change her mind after the Reapers were already disarmed. Much to Daryl’s surprise, Maggie viciously killed them when their backs were turned. Leah, on the other hand, got away with a non-fatal wound.
Maggie clearly saw Leah escape with her life, but didn’t give chase. One possible explanation is that she spared Leah because of Daryl’s relationship with her. After all, Maggie’s interactions with him confirmed she was aware of Daryl’s spot for her. And though she ultimately didn’t do what he wanted, she clearly still values his opinion and friendship. For this reason, she may have decided not to follow through on killing Leah. A look she cast at Daryl at the end of the episode hinted that she was truly bothered by his disappointment in her actions.
Maggie’s being influenced by her bond with Daryl isn’t unfeasible, but it’s not the only reason that may have affected her decision. There may have been a pragmatic aspect to it as well. The fact that Lauren Cohan’s Maggie even shot Leah in the first place shows that she was willing to kill her. When she missed the killing shot, she could have determined that just one Reaper getting away would be of little consequence and that eliminating the ones present was a bigger priority. Plus, she knew she had a limited number of bullets in the gun. For Maggie, killing Carver and the others may have been enough. To her, the survival of one Reaper may have been an acceptable outcome.
Leah not dying in the fight could have avoided the conflict between her and Daryl escalating even further, but it looks like it hasn’t avoided that scenario completely. The reveal that Daryl will join the Commonwealth and his obvious frustration with Maggie are indicative of growing tensions between the two that will play out over the course of The Walking Dead season 11 part 2. There’s also the matter of Leah herself, who could return in the episodes to come. If she doesn’t heed Daryl’s warning, she could come back to get revenge on Maggie. If that happens, Maggie sparing her a second time is unlikely.