What intentions does Lance Hornsby hold for Alexandria in The Walking Dead, and why does he secretly slink off to shoot zombies after the deal is made? Despite being the Commonwealth’s Director of Operations and Pamela Milton’s resident fixer, Lance Hornsby doesn’t have a trustworthy face. He doesn’t show a trustworthy demeanor, and he doesn’t sound especially trustworthy either. So, when Eugene’s group arrived at the Commonwealth and Lance took a special interest in Alexandria, alarm bells should’ve started ringing. Previously in The Walking Dead, we’ve seen Lance manipulate Eugene to obtain Alexandria’s location, then sell residents on the idea of moving out “temporarily” while the Commonwealth fixes her up. Lance also mentioned a “pitch” for Alexandria during the Halloween masquerade ball, but only in The Walking Dead season 11’s “The Lucky Ones” do we discover firm details about his plans.
Lance has convinced Pamela to finally visit her new friends at Alexandria, Hilltop and Oceanside, but she sees little to be gained adding such small communities to her empire. Ultimately, Alexandria happily accepts a place under the Commonwealth’s wing, while Hilltop and Oceanside both offer their polite refusal, but Pamela still doesn’t see the value of her new acquisition. Lance continues to push for the deal regardless, and when Maggie asks the obvious “what’s in it for you?” question, Lance is conspicuously vague. What does Hornsby want from Alexandria?
One element of Lance’s masterplan is exposed by Pamela herself in the final moments of “The Lucky Ones.” After a mixed bag diplomatic visit, Pamela accuses Lance of wanting Alexandria for himself. Pamela acknowledges that these satellite communities would need a representative from the Commonwealth to lead them, and Lance isn’t particularly astute at hiding how desperately he wants that gig. Believing Lance just wants a little sandbox all of his own, Pamela patronizingly accedes to the Alexandria deal… but several clues suggest Lance’s control of Alexandria would merely be a foothold toward leading the entire Commonwealth before The Walking Dead’s final season ends.
When Pamela officially hands Lance the reins to Alexandria, she accepts, “You’ve been ambitious our whole lives, Lance.” Very possibly, Pamela is underestimating the scope of Lance’s ambition here. She believes he’d feel content with just an Alexandria train set for Christmas when, in reality, Lance has his eye on the proper Commonwealth steam engine. Lance using Alexandria as a stepping stone toward seizing the Commonwealth is foreshadowed by his and Pamela’s very first scene in The Walking Dead season 11’s “The Lucky Ones.” En route to Alexandria, Pamela expresses concern over how far away these new communities are located, warning, “Grow your empire further than your power can extend, and lose your empire.” Maybe this is precisely what Lance is banking on. Despite its relatively humble size, Alexandria and its network of allied communities are the foundation of something special – just far enough away from the Commonwealth to operate outside Pamela Milton’s influence. We already know Lance has an off-the-books drug farm and a clandestine secret service – Alexandria would add another gem to his post-apocalyptic Infinity Gauntlet.
The Walking Dead’s “The Lucky Ones” episode concludes with a super-weird sequence where Lance deliberately attracts zombies, expertly shoots them down with unerring precision, then doesn’t so much as flinch when a zombie comes within two feet of his face. This scene is nothing like the Lance we’ve seen until now, and contributes more clues toward figuring out his motivations. Shooting the zombies could be a way for Lance to blow off steam immediately after Pamela condescendingly gives him control of Alexandria like a mother would give their child a toy steering wheel during a car ride. We know Lance’s association with the Milton family goes way back, and Pamela’s aforementioned “our whole lives” line suggests they might even be related by blood somehow. That means an entire lifetime of being patronized, belittled, and made to feel lesser.
The zombie-shooting Lance could be a version Pamela never sees, permanently covered by the cheery veneer of a salesman, only ever let loose in secret when the Miltons aren’t looking. Does Lance see Alexandria as a ticket to finally get revenge in The Walking Dead?