Major spoilers from Sunday night's episode of "The Walking Dead," "Go Getters," lie ahead.
Ostensibly, Rick "Beard" Grimes is, and always has been, the hero of "The Walking Dead." He gets the most screen time, after all, has top billing, and is always the number one contender to make it out alive when his gang faces a band of Walkers.
However, as the dreary "Go Getters" made clear, Lauren Cohan's Maggie Greene is more of a hero in the classic sense — as a noble, courageous do-gooder — than Rick, whose stubborn nature, occasionally violent temperament, and history with mental illness have gotten in his way.
In the (thankfully Negan-free) episode, Maggie reminded viewers of just how badass she can be — by saving the day at Hilltop Colony via her tractor-driving skills then firmly telling its leader, Gregory, to call her by her name (Maggie Rhee, sob), but also by being a pillar of strength for Sasha and Enid while mourning her recently murdered husband.
Basically, Maggie is the show's bleeding-heart hero, not crazy pants hot bearded dude Rick Grimes. Here's why.
She's lost the most.
Losing Lori to childbirth certainly wasn't easy for Rick, and neither is dealing with Carl on a daily basis. (ASIDE: Who else is mentally preparing for a scene in which Carl steals one of Rick and Michonne's condoms because IT'S TOTALLY GOING TO HAPPEN.)
But when it comes to tragedy, outside of maybe Sasha, no one has experienced loss like Maggie Greene. And each time, from the farm massacre to Hershel to Beth to (again, SOB) Glenn, she allowed herself to grieve, but also moved on without letting the experience ruin her (unlike, y'know, ghost-seeing Rick and PTSD Sasha).
She lets the tragedies in her life shape her, sure, but never in a way that makes her hard or cold or unwilling to experience life's remaining joys — and she also lets them make her stronger, each and every time.
This is what heroes are made of, and as tonight made clear, Glenn's death (SOB SOB SOB) is going to make her tougher and more capable than ever.
She always puts others first.
Whether it's saving Hilltop when she's supposed to be resting in bed or heading to Terminus solo to save Sasha and Bob (fat lot of good that did) or not continuing to search for Glenn for the good of Aaron and her baby, Maggie has always let the safety of others take priority over her own.
Counteract this with, say, Daryl, who left Alexandria unguarded when he hotheadedly decided to take off after Dwight. Which, y'know, arguably got some people killed.
She keeps a cool head.
Maggie is one of the only leads remaining on this show who hasn't gone dangerously crazy (Rick, Carol, Morgan, Carl 24/7, arguably Michonne post-Andrea, Sasha) or gotten someone killed by her own stupidity (sup, Daryl). In a life-or-death situation like the recent shenanigan with my all-time fave Negan, Maggie would be pretty much the only Grimes Gang member I'd want by my side.
(Well, and Michonne, but she has a freaking Katana.)
She's a warrior ...
Maggie has never had a standout warrior episode like Carol's thrilling Termius rampage in "No Sanctuary," but her thrilling fight against Walkers in "Go Getters" was spectacular, and Maggie has been a reliable fighter with solid weapons training since pretty much day one, when she was the only consistently useful member of the Greene family.
(Sorry, Beth and Hershel. I loved you both, but you wouldn't exactly top my Zombie Apocalypse Survival Squad.)
... But also slow to violence unless it's completely necessary.
Maggie isn't unwilling to kill humans like Glenn was — she offed some Woodbury-ites as early as Season 3 — but she's consistently been slower to violence (and quicker to think of practical, life-preserving solutions) than most of her Grimes Gang counterparts. Remember when she outwitted and tricked her Savior captors and totally murdered Alicia Witt? Remember when she (and Glenn) escaped The Governor not by, say, trying to disarm and shoot him, but by removing a bone shard from a Walker and stabbing Warren in the jugular with it?
Basically, she knows when to sit tight and when to strike, and I value that in my hero.
She's a natural born leader.
Deanna knew it, Rick knows it, Glenn knew it, Jesus and Sasha know it ... if the Grimes Gang is going to survive, Maggie needs to be at the diplomatic helm. Sure, Rick is working fine for immediate post-apocalyptic survival, with his rugged masculinity and history of police work and what not. But Maggie, with her pragmatic thinking and easy diplomacy and ability to make tough decisions for the greater good, is what this group needs if it wants to make it past the first few years of their brave new world.
She has no time for patriarchal garbage.
What more do you need?