AMC’s The Walking Dead
Directed by Frederick E.O. Toye
Written by Nicole Mirante-Matthews
* For a recap & review of 11×03, click here.
* For a recap & review of 11×05, click here.
After the Reapers ambush on the road Daryl and dog found themselves on their own in the dark on the road. But soon Daryl’s face-to-face with a Reaper, fighting tooth and nail against the man. Dog helps with a well-placed bite but gets tossed by the Reaper, then a few more Reapers turn up. Daryl tosses a knife at them and gets away. The following day, Daryl’s using zombie guts to disguise himself as the Reapers continue to hunt him, as well as poor dog. And the Reapers use dog as bait to draw Daryl to them. One of the Reapers reveals her face when Daryl shows up: it’s Leah. The Reapers want to know about his group, where they are, which, obviously, he’s not going to give up. So, then, what’s next?
Well Daryl’s being taken hostage. But what happens after that?
First we see Leah and Daryl have a talk again, for the first time since all that time ago. Now she wants to know about his “family,” the group he’s with; Daryl’s not budging on that, sticking to the loner outlaw story, that he’s on his own with nobody else. This means waterboarding—God bless America! Leah stands by and watches her Reaper men torture Daryl, someone with whom she was very close once upon a time. The men keep asking questions about Daryl’s group, yet he responds: “I ain‘t one of them.” Leah stops the waterboarding, realising Daryl won’t talk from being tortured. Daryl says he only traded with the group, Maggie and the others. He’s ready to die before he’ll say anything more. For the time being, he’s thrown in a dark cell. It’s like the worst days of Daryl’s life are being relived. He goes through abuse, like his childhood, and now he’s in a cage, like when the Survivors locked him up.Eventually Leah comes back to try pulling information out of Daryl. He insists he’s “never lied” to her. She, again, asks what he knows about the other group of survivors. He says he knows nothing, he only wants dog and to leave that place. At the same time, Daryl sees another captive dragged into a cage, bloody and broken. He also hears about the Reapers finding some of their own folks, obviously in rough shape, like Bossie (Michael Shenefelt), who’s brought home a dead fellow Reaper. This is when we see the creepy priest-like Mancea (Dikran Tulaine) praying over the body, and also Pope (Ritchie Coster), who seems like the Reapers’ leader, wanting to make those who hurt their people feel wrath.
Daryl and Leah talk more. She talks about losing people; the recent death of a Reaper was someone close to her, something she hasn’t experienced in a long time. She feels like she lost Daryl, but he says he came back and she was gone. Leah sees it as Daryl leaving. He admits to being scared of “letting go.” Regardless of what divides them now Leah wants to compromise. She wants to help him save himself and needs some kind of info, so Daryl does give over a little, without saying any names. Not quite a betrayal of his friends; he doesn’t say anything about locations, only vague stuff about Alexandria’s leadership and the group’s significant numbers.
So Leah goes back to Pope with the info, though he’s unimpressed with her and the “old boyfriend.” She thinks Daryl’s of use to the group. She also tries to explain to Pope how Daryl means nothing to her anymore, since she became part of the Reapers. Pope wants to meet Daryl now, he just doesn’t know what Leah’s planning. Or does he? The Reapers lock Leah in the room with Daryl, then they pour gas inside and light a fire. The pair are trapped inside, about to burn alive. Daryl rushes to try busting a hole through the wall, eventually able to open a boarded window, getting himself and Leah out before they die from the smoke or the flames. And there, the Reapers are waiting. Looks like Leah was part of this, a little test to see if Daryl’s been “forged by fire” like the rest of them. Christ.
Afterwards, Pope has a talk with Daryl, asking if he believes in God. But Daryl isn’t a believer, and that disappoints Pope, I guess. The leader of the Reapers talks about meeting his Reaper buddies in Afghanistan; what a timely point for the Reapers to show up re: current day American politics! Pope goes on about politicians and God and war. He and his pals became mercenaries after Afghanistan because nobody else would hire them. But the “real dirty work” only began after the fall of society. Pope recounts his story as if it’s any different from anyone else who’s survived this long in the post-zombie apocalypse wasteland, believing he and his Reapers “were the chosen ones.” And now he thinks the same about Daryl.
Looks like Pope approves, bringing Daryl down for a bit of grub around the fire with the other Reapers. He considers Daryl family. He takes this time to talk about the heroics of the Reaper who brought home one of their dead recently, making an emotional spectacle. Then he questions why the guy has wounds on his back, believing the man abandoned their dead brethren. Pope seems wildly unstable. That’s when he tosses the man he’d been questioning into the fire, stepping on him until the flames have scorched the guy: “We run into the fire!”