The Walking Dead, now in its eleventh season, faces a big issue. Keeping things fresh in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have long been established as more deadly than simple walkers
Certainly, the Commonwealth storyline is a step in the right direction for the franchise. Like the comics, rebuilding civilisation is an eventual objective of this franchise, and bringing in an ethically dubious company that can accomplish this bodes well for the series conclusion.
Why not raise the stakes outside those borders, and how do you maintain this suspense throughout a 24-episode finale that’s twice as long as the previous season? First, you bring in more strange sickos, since as we all understand by now: humanity was the greatest threat in the universe. This is when The Reapers come in, a deranged military squad that enjoys killing in the name of God.
These skull-clad killers were initially revealed to fans in season 10C when we learnt that they had demolished Maggie’s campsite and now are on the quest for Maggie herself. One Reaper told Maggie that a man named Pope had “tagged” her, indicating that our fearless fighter had done something to enrage them. Unfortunately, his corpse was torn apart by the explosion, which was carried out with the utmost casualness.
Immediately, the Reapers were feared for their willingness to die for the “better good” of their organisation, which made them even more threatening. But, even more so, the emotional bond between Maggie and Pope makes viewers more invested than they would be otherwise.
‘Rendition’ opens with Daryl learning that Leigh is now a Reaper, which dampens their reunion. Even though our shaggy-haired hero is furious at this turn of events, our hero is trying to keep his feelings to himself while discovering what the Reapers want from him and his buddies.
However, before Daryl can “join” the Reapers, a man only known as Pope tortures him to get him to believe his storey. He saves Leah before himself in a burning building, which indicates he has passed Pope’s test and is now officially part of the gang.
At the end of the episode, Pope establishes himself as a bona fide psycho when he holds the victim in a large fire and melts his face off. Even though it’s nasty and terrifying, we can’t help but feel like we’ve seen this before.
They felt like a significant letdown following the premise of the Whisperers. But, to be fair to the group of former soldiers, it’s not entirely novel to have them worshipping God. Both Saviours and Wolves have already explored a similar theme.
Unquestionably, we’re still at an early stage. Wie we’ve already noted, we’re intrigued by the Maggie link, and Daryl’s affections for Leah will complicate things in the coming episodes. Skull masks and military training, on the other hand, don’t scare us as much as they did in the past. Carol’s actions the week before are still fresh in our minds.