The Walking Dead has had some of the most iconic villains in years past. You can add the Reapers to that list. In “Rendition,“ the Reapers capture Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Dog and are taken to Meridian where they reunite with a familiar face.
When Maggie (Lauren Cohan) led her group to Arbor Hills, all Hell broke loose. Lots of her people died. Now they are all separated. Unfortunately, Maggie is now traveling with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) is somewhere by himself. And Alden (Callan McAuliffe) got hurt pretty bad. He’s staying at a church hoping that Maggie comes back for him. And now we find out what happened to Daryl.
Daryl and Dog got separated from the rest of the group at Arbor Hills. The encounter a couple of Reapers as they try to escape but end up fighting one of them. Dog bites the Reaper and the Reaper throws Dog over a cliff. Two more Reapers show up and Daryl has to run
The next morning, one of the Reapers finds Dog before Daryl. Daryl hears Dog barking and finds the two of them nearby. The Reaper takes off her mask and it’s Leah (Lynn Collins) … Daryl’s ex-girlfriend and Dog’s former owner.
Leah wants to know who the group at Arbor Hills is and if Daryl is with them. He says their fight has nothing to do with him. He was just passing through when he encountered the group. Leah saw him with those people, but Daryl just wants to leave. He calls for Dog, but Dog stays with Leah. The other Reapers approach, surrounding Daryl.
They take Daryl to Meridian and interrogate him about the group he was with. Daryl doesn’t have anything to say about them. They water-board him but he never changes his story. Leah tells him to cooperate. Daryl says he traded with them and only knew them for less than a week. She doesn’t believe him, so they take him to a holding cell. The others don’t particularly agree with Leah about keeping him, but she says she knows what she’s doing.
The Reapers took another of Maggie’s friends, Frost (Glenn Stanton). Daryl acts like he doesn’t care about Frost and tells him to leave him alone. The Reapers take Frost away for more questioning. Leah returns later that night, telling Daryl to tell the truth. He says he has never lied to her, and he doesn’t know anything. He just wants to leave with Dog. Leah doesn’t believe him.
She gets a report that two of her men returned and one of them is dead. She leaves to see what’s going on. The surviving reaper, Bossy (Michael Shenefelt) cries loudly, saying he tried to save the other man. The dead man lays in another room while another Reaper prays over the body in another language. The Reaper’s leader, Pope (Ritchie Coster) enters the room and says God is angry. Pope is angry and is looking for someone to punish.
STICK TO THE STORY
Daryl tries to cut his ropes when Leah returns. Here’s her story. Leah was in the military with all these guys that she now lives with. After they returned from duty, they became mercs. After the world fell, they got separated. They found her just after Daryl left her. She’s sad because she was close to the dead man. He’s the closest person she’s ever lost, other than Daryl.
Daryl says he didn’t leave. He came back and she was gone. She says he left her after she asked him what he wanted. Daryl says he got scared of letting go. Leah says it doesn’t matter now. Leah still wants to help Daryl, but he needs to give her something.
Daryl says the leaders of the group were a woman, a tall skinny guy who never shuts up and a priest who carries a shotgun. They were talking in code because Daryl is an outsider. He says one of their guys slipped up and told Daryl that he was going to meet three dozen of their fighters. Leah only has 15 or so people. She promises to move Daryl that night so he can be comfortable. He will meet Pope soon.
Leah relays the information to Pope. Pope is still upset and wonders if Leah’s head is in the right place. They were tracking their enemy and lost a day so she could question an old boyfriend. Leah wants to make Daryl a part of their group. It’s obvious that they care for one another, but Leah says that ended when he found her. Pope believes in her more than the others. He believes her when she says Daryl will fit in, but he needs to see it for himself.
The Reapers move Daryl to a shed, tied to a chair. Leah comes into untie Daryl and hears the door lock behind her. She sees something poured into the room. Someone lights the door on fire and it spreads into the room with the gasoline that was poured under the door. Daryl jumps into action to save Leah. He’s able to remove the boards off of one of the windows and sends Leah through first. Daryl jumps out after her.
The Reapers stand together and watch them escape the burning building. Leah stands up and takes her place among them. They all stare at Daryl. Pope says Daryl is forged by fire and ordained by God. He tells the others to welcome Daryl.
Pope meets with Daryl and the first question he asks if he believes in God. Daryl says not anymore; he believes in himself. Pope says Daryl isn’t God. He wants Daryl to understand them. Pope says they all met in Afghanistan. The government didn’t care about them, they were just props. The politicians talked about God, but they didn’t believe. He says they saw God everywhere. He was there with them telling them where to go. They didn’t have much else to hold onto back then.
The war ruined all of them for good. When they got home, no one cared. They became mercenaries and got paid well for doing the work no one wanted to do. The real dirty work started after the fall of the world. He says they’ve never been a war like that. All the death, day after day, he started to wonder where God was.
The politicians came for them and dropped bombs on everyone. They took refuge in a church at the end of town. And when it was all over, Pope saw that his people were untouched. That’s when he knew they were the chosen ones. Pope says God chose Daryl that night. He emerged from the fire without a burn or scratch. Daryl wasn’t hurt at all.
NEVER TURN YOUR BACK
They go outside and join the others for dinner. Pope tells the others that Daryl is family now. He focuses on Bossy. Pope says Bossy walked ten miles with his brother on his back, but something has been bothering him. The soldier’s wounds are on his back. Pope wants to know where Bossy was when his friend was attacked. Bossy says he was right by his friends.
Pope says it takes divine strength to face your fear head one. Everyone saw how far Daryl would go to keep Leah safe. God baptized him in the fire made him one of them. He says to never turn his back on a brother. Pope goes on to say God doesn’t only use fire for baptism, it’s also his wrath. He grabs Bossy and throws him into the fire, holding him down with his foot on the man’s back until Bossy stops screaming.
Pope says they are the chosen ones. They run into battle, they run into the fire always. Daryl looks at Leah and she is unphased by what just happened.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC. You can also watch new episodes early on AMC+.
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