As The Walking Dead season 11 celebrates Alexandria’s Deanna Monroe, the future fall of the Commonwealth becomes all but inevitable. Debuting in The Walking Dead season 5’s “Remember,” Tovah Feldshuh portrayed Deanna Monroe, first leader of Alexandria. She welcomed Rick Grimes’ group into her community (albeit after some initial hesitation), but succumbed to a zombie bite when Alexandria found itself overrun by undead in season 6.
Deanna has seldom been mentioned since, but The Walking Dead season 11’s “The Lucky Ones” finally acknowledges the foundations she laid at Alexandria. During Pamela Milton’s maiden visit to the humble community, Daryl Dixon recounts Deanna’s importance, describing her as someone he admires “very much” and admitting, “We’d never met anybody like that before.” In a rare moment of retrospective appreciation, The Walking Dead finally addresses Deanna’s contribution to the current landscape of allied communities, confirming their prosperity would never have been possible without her.
More interestingly, The Walking Dead‘s “The Lucky Ones” subtly positions Deanna Monroe and Pamela Milton as polar opposites – before and after the zombie outbreak – and this comparison proves Pamela doesn’t have what it takes to make the Commonwealth prosper long-term. When Pamela reveals how she and Deanna used to “cross paths” pre-apocalypse, it’s implied they might’ve occupied opposite ends of the political spectrum. Feeding into that notion, Pamela remembers having no interest in politics until later in life, whereas Deanna was apparently “born to run things.” Pamela was the president’s daughter raised in an environment of wealth and opportunity, only turning to politics when it suited her career trajectory, whereas Deanna Monroe was Ohio’s self-made representative, motivated to reach her position by a sense of moral civic duty.
Deanna and Pamela might’ve encountered each other in the halls of Congress back in the day, but The Walking Dead heavily hints they belonged to opposing parties. Conversing with Maggie during their hunting trip, Pamela Milton justifies her preferential treatment at the Commonwealth with, “A leader has to give her people something to look up to.” Essentially, Pamela is saying that without the lavish lifestyle, the Commonwealth’s people wouldn’t respect her. Deanna Monroe did not subscribe to that philosophy whatsoever. When The Walking Dead‘s outbreak began, Deanna traveled from Ohio to Washington DC, lobbying for resources and aid, but when the situation turned, she actually tried returning to be with her people during a time of crisis. Taken to Alexandria instead, Deanna had no special house, no special privileges, and no luxuries the other residents weren’t also afforded. She was the antithesis of Pamela Milton in almost every way a leader can be.
One of the most important decisions Deanna ever made was handing the reins of Alexandria to Rick Grimes. Recognizing she was ill-equipped to handle the zombie apocalypse, Deanna swallowed her ego and gave Rick control. That decision is a major reason why Alexandria is still standing years later in The Walking Dead season 11. By drawing a stark contrast between Pamela Milton and Deanna Monroe, “The Lucky Ones” proves beyond doubt that Pamela would rather let the Commonwealth burn than share control with Maggie, or Mercer, or Ezekiel, or even Rick Grimes if he were around.
As long as Pamela remains in charge, therefore, the Commonwealth is destined to fall… and current events suggest that day may come sooner rather than later. There’s a violent rebellion brewing among the Commonwealth’s working class, Lance Hornsby is plotting something sinister, and out to the west the CRM is trampling communities twice the Commonwealth’s size without breaking a sweat. With threats coming from every angle, Pamela Milton is not the Commonwealth’s best hope, but whereas Deanna – the community-minded natural leader – would realize that, expect to see Pamela clinging on until the very end.