What happened to Connie and Magna in the cave, and why did Magna return in this week’s episode of The Walking Dead alone?
After being trapped in a cave, off-screen for 3 episodes, Magna made a triumphant return in The Walking Dead episode 1012, “Walk With Us”. However, she returned without her friend Connie by her side, claiming they had been separated in the horde. Is that the full truth or is there more to the story? Does Magna more about Connie’s fate than she’s letting on?
Connie and Magna’s fate has been a much discussed topic both onscreen and off since the dynamite Carol tried to use to destroy the horde, backfired and brought down half the cave. It was, therefore, a relief to see one half of the duo return safely in “Walk With Us”. Yumiko’s relief at seeing her partner bloodied but alive amongst the walkers flooding Hilltop, was shared by the audience – followed quickly by the despair that Connie wasn’t with her.
Later, having fled the destroyed Hilltop alongside Eugene and Carol, Magna tells Yumiko about her experience in the cave. She says that the rockfall killed most of the “sickos”, and she and Connie just kept on moving until they eventually found themselves in the horde, where she felt Connie’s hand slip away as they were separated by walkers.
On the surface this seems a likely and reasonable explanation, given we see how the group is easily separated in the aftermath of the battle at Hilltop, but is Magna’s story the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Or was her hand in Connie’s fate more than just letting go in a bustle of walkers? And was the biggest clue to this story-line given away on an official YouTube video?
At the start of January, The Walking Dead posted the latest edition of “Facts and Easter Eggs”, covering episodes 7 and 8 of season 10. The video revealed that cult horror movie The Descent was not only the inspiration for the set of the cave that traps Magna and Connie, but also that the entire cast and crew sat down at the start of filming to watch the movie as inspiration for the season.
The Descent tells the story of a group of female friends who go caving and encounter cannibalistic subterranean creatures who pick the women off one by one. In the melee, secrets are uncovered and morals are pushed to the edges as characters decide what lines they are willing to cross in order to survive.
In the end two characters metaphorically throw another friend under the bus for their own survival. The hero, Sarah, learns her friend Juno had left a third friend to die after accidentally injuring her, and in turn Sarah deliberately stabs Juno in the leg in order to ensure her own escape.
Either of these scenarios could possibly explain how events unfolded in the cave between Magna and Connie, especially as both situations have shown up in the Walking Dead world previously.
In season 2, we saw Shane shoot Otis in the leg in order to facilitate his own survival with medical equipment essential to save Carl’s life after Otis accidentally shot the young Grimes. And in Fear we saw how Chris Manawa was murdered by his dubious companions when he broke his leg in a car crash.
We have seen many incidents of characters who have to make a choice whether to risk their own safety in pulling along an injured party member, or take the difficult decision to put them down when their injuries will inevitably take their life. It’s possible that in the cave, Magna and Connie faced such a moral predicament, and the question is what did it reveal about the moral fibre of Magna?
Of course, it’s possible that Magna’s story about simply losing Connie in the crowd is true. However, her reluctance to see Yumiko punch Carol – when such a short time before Magna was the one openly blaming Carol for the state they found themselves in – is an odd turnaround given her added trauma.
Magna’s further comment that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, and her statement to Yumiko that she was right to kick her out, also seems to suggest that Magna has a newfound understanding of herself – and it doesn’t seem positive.
The seed of doubt about Magna’s trustworthiness was planted in “What It Always Is” when we learned not only that she’d been stealing food and supplies from Hilltop (along with Kelly) but that before the end of the world she’d murdered a man for assaulting her cousin.
This new side of Magna shows that even before people were forced into the position of kill or be killed, Magna was capable of murder. Does this brutal streak mean that in a life or death situation she may have behaved in an instinctive way that led to Connie getting left behind?
Let us hope that in fact that’s not the case, and that Connie is found alive and well. It’s also possible that in this version of The Descent, Connie is Sarah the hero and we’ll see her climb out from the rocks bloodied but surviving. Even then will she be happily or unhappily reunited with Magna, only time will tell.