Does a dastardly team-up between Lance Hornsby and Leah spell disaster for Maggie and Daryl in The Walking Dead season 11? With its Halloween amusements and miniature petting zoo, the Commonwealth seemed idyllic at first glance, but as each episode peels back a little more flesh, a rotten core reveals itself. Driving the biggest wedge between the Commonwealth and The Walking Dead's heroes is the Riverbend apartment complex incident from "Warlords." On Lance's order, soldiers decimated the community without mercy, but faced resistance from Aaron and Gabriel, who found reinforcements from Maggie's Hilltop.
Though Lance targeted Rivenbend believing the religious survivors swiped his guns, he now knows Leah was the light-fingered culprit. Returning to The Walking Dead for the first time since Maggie massacred her Reapers, Leah has apparently lived alone in the wild ever since, and used her military nous to nab Lance's firearm shipment. The final moments of The Walking Dead season 11's "Trust" see Lance approach Leah (carefully) with a job offer. He doesn't envision her dishing out cones from the Commonwealth ice cream van, either. Lance wants Leah to kill Maggie - a proposal could spell doom for both Lauren Cohan's character and Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon.
The moment Maggie turned down a Commonwealth alliance, she became a thorn in Lance's side. During the visit to Hilltop in The Walking Dead's "Trust," he tries desperately to somehow pin the crime on Maggie, but falls short of finding concrete evidence, and walks away empty-handed. Unable to justify a direct confrontation, Lance possibly views Leah as his last resort. Stealing the Commonwealth's guns proves her ability, and by outsourcing the job, Lance could plausibly deny involvement. In return, he could offer Leah all the guns and supplies she wants. What Lance probably doesn't know (unless Daryl already told him about the Reapers) is that Leah would've spent the past 6 months dreaming of revenge against Maggie Rhee. An unhinged, lone-wolf Leah taking Hilltop by surprise could cause real problems for Maggie, who maybe has her eyes too fixed on Lance to notice an old enemy creeping up.
Everything really is coming up Hornsby in The Walking Dead season 11, as Leah's return allows Lance to kill two bothersome birds with one blonde stone. Leah surely wants revenge against Maggie for the Reaper massacre... but she probably wouldn't turn down a shot at Daryl Dixon either. Daryl played on their past romance to infiltrate the Reapers and betray Pope - a subterfuge that ultimately ended with her group's demise. In "Trust," Daryl becomes a problem for Lance also. Although he helped get the Commonwealth soldiers inside Hilltop, Daryl showed his true colors by siding with Maggie and waving a gun in Lance's face when the situation became fiery. Lance doesn't retaliate immediately, but he's not the type to let Daryl get away with those crimes. By striking a deal with Leah, Lance could get a two-for-one mercenary special discount.
Since both characters are lined up for spinoffs (Isle of the Dead and a Daryl/Carol project), Leah's chances of killing Maggie and Daryl look remote. Even if the spinoffs are a lie, Sebastian seems the most likely candidate to murder Daryl. Hiring Leah's services does, however, prove how desperately Lance needs to succeed (whatever he's trying to succeed at). If Leah completes her mission, he's golden; if she fails, the ensuing backlash could finally expose Lance's true nature to the wider Commonwealth, forcing his scheme into the open.
The Walking Dead continues Sundays on AMC.