In celebration of Galentine’s Day (Thank you, Parks & Recreation!), we are celebrating the best of female friendship in the world of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead covers many relationship types extensively, from siblings to romantic relationships, to bromances, to the entire back-bone of the show – found family. One that it perhaps hasn’t dealt with as often is girlfriends. However, over the course of the 10 years, a few female friendships have stood out.
From Lori and Carol and Andrea and Michonne, we have seen female characters showing support for each other and helping each other through shared trauma – and that’s the case with Sasha and Maggie.
It was a friendship that began – like many do – offscreen. In her first season on the show, Sasha essentially spent her onscreen time with her brother Tyreese and others at Woodbury. By the time we saw Sasha as part of the prison crew, she was already firmly part of the family – a trusted council member and protector.
Sasha and Maggie’s friendship in The Walking Dead became a support source and hope for them both.
Sasha’s friendship with Maggie only begins on screen when the Governor returns to destroy the prison. Maggie, Bob and Sasha find themselves escaping together after their last stand fails, and Bob is injured.
As the trio struggle to decide on a course of action, we see a divide between a hopeful, optimistic Maggi -, determined to find her husband Glenn and the rest of their family, despite the fact she just watched her father be beheaded – and the cautious reserved Sasha.
In season 4’s “Alone,” Sasha and Maggie part ways, with Bob siding with Maggie (despite his romantic interest in Sasha) to move forward and find their friends. We see Sasha, alone, crying and afraid but resolute, on her decision to stay where they are in safety but ignorance over their loved-ones fates. Yet Maggie returns, and it’s she, not Sasha’s boyfriend Bob, who manages to convince Sasha to admit her fear, face it, and move forward together.
After surviving the trauma of Terminus together, the pair find themselves facing the same horrific trauma midway through season 5, as Sasha’s brother Tyreese loses his life shortly after Bob succumbs to a walker bite (and a human one too. Tainted meat!), only days after Maggie had watched Daryl carry her lifeless sister Beth from the hospital.
At this point, the entire group is at its lowest ebb, yet it’s Maggie and Sasha who carry the brunt of the pain. Maggie has lost the hopefulness that she injected into Sasha on the road previously, and Sasha is falling into her own isolation and anger.
Again, Sasha is the one without hope. She is angry and lashing out and withdraws from the group as much as possible as they struggle on the road and in the barn, trying to avoid the storm and walkers outside. It’s only Maggie who can reach the grieving woman, and the morning after the storm takes Sasha outside to show her the sunrise and the way nature had aided their task and crushed most of the walkers.
It’s one of the most beautiful, peaceful moments in the show, and a real moment of hope, as it’s the moment Aaron introduces himself along with the offer of safety and security in Alexandria. And it’s then that the two women are bonded for life, with a friendship that would outlive everything else in their lives.
Despite the moment of respite, Sasha is still struggling with her grief alone in Alexandria (while Maggie still has Glenn to lean on). Again, however, it is the women who reach out to her and bring her back into the fold – firstly, Michonne and Rosita. Then when Sasha turns on Gabriel, once again, it’s Maggie who turns up at the right moment, diffuses the tense scene between them, and brings them together in prayer and hope.
In season 6, Sasha begins a relationship with Abraham, while Maggie concentrates on her marriage to Glenn and the child she has growing inside her. However, their life paths would merge again at the end of the season, with the tension growing between Rick’s people and the mysterious, elusive Negan.
When Maggie falls sick and seems in danger of losing her unborn baby, a mercy dash to Hilltop’s doctor brings Sasha to her side as they drive the RV across the countryside, trying to avoid Negan’s men. Inevitably they fail, and that brings us to Negan’s line-up.
In some of the most distressing scenes imaginable, first Sasha and then Maggie watch their partner and love be brutally murdered by Negan. Abraham and Glenn’s deaths are horrific and traumatic for all watching (including the viewers), but no one more than Sasha and Maggie.
Thankfully they have their family and their solid friendship to fall back on. After so much time of Maggie pulling Sasha back from the brink, it’s Sasha’s turn to become Maggie’s protector and carer, taking over Glenn’s role in ensuring Maggie gets to Hilltop and that her baby is healthy and safe.
At Hilltop, we truly see the extent of Sasha’s love for Maggie as she offers to do anything she can, being a scavenger for Hilltop or whatever it takes, to pay for Maggie’s keep – as a reluctant Gregory is not keen to have the Alexandrian refugees under his roof.
As they mourn their losses and struggle with the crumbling world around them, the women’s friendship is a real high point in the dark times of season 7 when our characters are losing so much, have so little hope, and are scattered to the winds.
Although, in the end, it’s Sasha’s love for Maggie and the others that leads to their ultimate separation and her growing friendship with another woman that leads her down the path.
Rosita had previously brushed aside Sasha’s attempts to bond because they both loved and lost Abraham, but even a grieving, angry Rosita can’t ignore Sasha’s skills as a fighter. So it is Sasha that Rosita turns to help her take Negan’s life.
However, in the end, it’s all Sasha’s own move as she offers herself, first as the sole person to break into Sanctuary, and then – in the end – as a self-actualized weapon against Negan. Sasha reveals her heroic spirit as she takes a suicide pill given to her by Eugene rather than allow herself to be used against her friends.
Sasha’s final scenes on our screens see her slipping in and out of consciousness as the pill takes hold, and we see her mind mixing memory and dream as she makes sense of the last weeks of her life. As well as her relationship with Abraham being at the front of her mind, it’s the relationship with Maggie she keeps coming back to.
When Sasha leaves this life, her last thoughts are of the sunrise she enjoyed with Maggie on that post-storm morning, and Abraham acting as her conscious assuring her that Maggie and her baby are the future, and their role is to keep them safe. Sasha agrees, and that’s the very essence of her soul.
Sasha’s love for Maggie and her wish to honor the future that Maggie constantly believed in, and repeatedly pushed Sasha towards, is her lasting legacy – especially as we head into 10c and the return of Maggie and her son Hershel, the very future Sasha gave her life for.
Do you have a favorite female friendship on the show, or is there one you wanted to see more of?