The Walking Dead: Dead City Episode 1 Recap and Ending, Explained

Image Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC

A spin-off of ‘The Walking Dead,’ AMC’s post-apocalyptic series ‘The Walking Dead: Dead City’ revolves around Maggie Greene, who sets out to rescue her son Hershel, who is kidnapped by a man named “The Croat.” Maggie seeks the help of her nemesis Negan to retrieve her son from the Croatian. Since Maggie can turn him in to the authorities, Negan accepts to help her, which leads them to several life-threatening predicaments. Starring Lauren Cohan as Maggie and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, the new offering from ‘The Walking Dead’ universe is intriguing and its premiere episode, titled ‘Old Acquaintances,’ is engrossing. If you are up for a detailed take on the episode’s ending, you are at the right place! SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Walking Dead: Dead City Episode 1 Recap

‘Old Acquaintances’ begins with Maggie finding Negan in New Babylon. She lets him know that Hershel is kidnapped by The Croat, who demands more grain from her in return for her son after stealing what she had. Since The Croat whistled the same tune Negan used to whistle, Maggie figured out that the man was a former ally of the latter and likely a member of The Saviors when the organization existed. Upon tracking down Negan, a wanted man, she makes it clear that she will turn him into the marshals of New Babylon if he doesn’t help her find her son. Negan hands over Ginny, an orphaned girl he took under his wing, to a member of Hilltop and joins Maggie to find Hershel.

Image Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC

Negan reminds Maggie that The Croat is a vicious individual, who doesn’t have any reason to listen to the former to hand over the Hilltop leader’s son back to her. Still, he decides to help her and they leave for Manhattan, which is cut off from the outside world. Meanwhile, a marshal named Perlie Armstrong tries his best to find Negan with his colleagues. They track down Negan but he escapes with Maggie, who takes a junior marshal hostage. Together, the trio ends up in Manhattan in search of The Croat. Maggie and Negan get forced to team up to kill an enormous number of walkers as well.

Meanwhile, Perlie manages to encounter Negan and Maggie with the junior marshal at a store where they seek refuge. Perlie targets Negan and fires his gun, only for the junior marshal to get shot. He gets eaten by a herd of walkers. Perlie then fights with Maggie, who succeeds in knocking out the marshal. She and Negan continue their search for The Croat and Hershel.

The Walking Dead: Dead City Episode 1 Ending: Why Did The Croat Kidnap Hershel?

When Maggie first encountered The Croat, he was just a leader of a group who stole grain from her upon outnumbering and overpowering her and her allies seemingly at Hilltop. When The Croat kidnapped Hershel, Maggie believed that the former took her son away for more grain. However, it may not be the case. After kidnapping Hershel, The Croat interrogates him. Rather than asking him about Maggie, Hilltop, or the community’s grain sources, the old man asks him about Negan. The Croat knows that Negan had been living with Maggie and her people for a considerable while as well.

Since The Croat’s sole concern seems to be Negan, his principal target can be the latter too. He must have kidnapped Hershel thinking the same will lead him to his former ally. As someone who knows what happened to Hershel’s father Glenn, The Croat may know that Negan owes Maggie and she will seek his help to find her son. The Croatian whistling the same tune Negan used to whistle can be a trick he pulled on Maggie, expecting the latter to run to the man who once led him. Considering these possibilities, it is highly probable that The Croat kidnapped Hershel to lay his hands on Negan.

Since Annie and Negan’s child’s whereabouts are unknown, The Croat might have failed to kidnap or hurt someone close to Negan to lure him to the former. Considering that Ginny is always present with the former leader of the Saviors, it is understandable why The Croat would target Hershel over Ginny. If the Croatian is really seeking Negan, Maggie may get infuriated that her son’s life got threatened in the name of the man who killed her husband. The civility Maggie has been maintaining with Negan may evaporate and the latter may try his best to rescue Hershel to ensure that Maggie will not get hurt again due to him, even indirectly.

Who Gets Away from The Croat?

While The Croat talks to Hershel, one of his men Buraz Underling informs the former that “he got away.” The Croat then sees the man in question running away from the former to save his life, only to get killed. Before his death, The Croat asks him for information concerning his “group,” which sheds light on the dead man’s significance. The man can be a member of a survivor community or group such as Maggie’s Hilltop. The Croat must have kidnapped and tortured him for more information concerning his community possibly for the former to barge into the same and steal grain and other resources as he and his men did at Hilltop.

Since The Croat and his men easily got into Hilltop but know nothing about the unnamed man’s community, the same must be getting operated secretly as well. Considering that the Croatian lives in an abandoned Manhattan, possibly with a small group, it isn’t clear why he would fight battles against communities such as Hilltop for grains and other domestic resources. Rather than using them for his and his men’s survival, The Croat must have an ulterior motive behind the stealing expeditions he led and plans to lead.

Read More: Where is The Walking Dead: Dead City Filmed?