The Walking Dead: Why I'm Not A Huge Fan Of The Reaper Storyline

The Reapers at an initiation on The Walking Dead.
(Image credit: AMC)

Look, man - no matter what, I’ve always been a fan of The Walking Dead, which is why when I found out that the final season was going to be an epic 24 episodes long as part of the 2021 fall tv schedule, I was eager to see what stories they would tell. 

It’s a shame that I don’t feel the same way now after the latest mid-season finale, because the Reaper storyline is a waste of time

While I could spend ages talking about why this storyline was so pointless in the beginning of the final season of The Walking Dead, I’ll go over six points laying out exactly why I feel the way that I do - starting with a clear obvious one.  

(Spoilers ahead if you're not caught up on The Walking Dead!)

Daryl Dixon when he was with the Saviors in Season 7.

(Image credit: AMC)

It Feels Like The Claimers And Saviors Storyline Mixed Together - And Not In A Good Way

I can’t tell you how much I rolled my eyes when Daryl was captured by the Reapers. 

I think what I dislike the most about this storyline is that it just feels like a combination of both the Claimers storyline in Season 4, and the Saviors storyline in Season 7, both featuring Daryl, as does the Reaper storyline.

The beauty of the Claimers storyline back in Season 4 of The Walking Dead was that Daryl thought he had no one. Beth was taken, he had no clue where the rest of his group was, and now he was what he hated the most - alone. With the Savior storyline, Daryl was captured because he punched Negan - and inadvertently, caused Glenn’s death. 

This was an even more powerful moment because we truly saw Daryl break. As much as he tried to hide it, he felt horrible for what he had done, and the torture Negan and the Saviors put on him was brutal, further fueling fans to want him to escape. 

But with this storyline, I feel none of those emotions. I don’t want Daryl to urgently escape because it didn’t feel like he was in danger. It didn’t feel like these people were really threatening. It just felt... bland, compared to many of the other experiences Daryl has gone through. I’m not saying I want Daryl to get tortured - believe me, I don’t - but I feel that if the stakes were higher than just these masked cardboard people, it would make this storyline so much better. 

Daryl and Leah in Season 10 of The Walking Dead.

(Image credit: AMC)

Leah And Daryl’s ‘Relationship’ Isn’t Believable 

No disrespect to the actress that plays her, but I really don’t like Leah or her relationship to Daryl

I feel that as viewers, we were only exposed to her for so long before this big storyline - just one episode in Season 10 - and because of that minimal exposure, their relationship isn't doing it for me.

I have a feeling that if we were given the opportunity to meet Leah earlier, we'd get to know who she is as a person more, or as a survivor. But instead, it feels like the writers shoehorned her in there to cause drama for Daryl instead of a meaningful relationship. Everything just feels too rushed, and could have been carried out better.

All I know is that they’re probably not ending up on my best relationships list. I hope they'll add more depth to her character - and maybe even their relationship - when the show returns.

Leah on The Walking Dead.

(Image credit: AMC)

It Also Goes Against Leah’s Character As We Know Her In The Walking Dead

This is just a minor thing, but Leah’s character also flips around a lot on The Walking Dead. When we first saw Leah back in Season 10, she broke down to Daryl about having this boy that wasn’t biologically her son, but she loved like he was. Now, fast forward to this version of her, she goes around with the Reapers killing innocent families who ‘threaten’ their home? 

I know you’ll say that she let that one family go, but that’s one family. And honestly, she might have only done that because Daryl was with her. Who’s to say how many she didn’t let go? What happened to that woman that was sobbing over this innocent little boy getting killed, who now goes around with a bunch of soldiers murdering people? She flip-flops so much and it’s tiring. 

Maybe her killing Pope was a sign of some sort of change but she turned her back on Daryl in the end anyway so I don’t know what the heck to believe. 

Pope in The Walking Dead.

(Image credit: AMC)

Pope Wasn’t That Compelling Of A Villain

I wasn’t expecting another Negan to come to The Walking Dead - no one can beat his villain arc. But by God was Pope the most non-compelling villain ever. 

There have been plenty of compelling villains with interesting backstories in this show, from the Governor in Season 3 with his grief over losing his daughter and family, or Negan, and how much he has changed from Season 6 onward. But Pope didn't have that complex background. The man only had a near-death experience and because he didn't die, he thinks he's God now, and that's turned him crazy. 

That’s not a good villain. To me, that's just an obstacle course for the story. He doesn't make me want to keep watching him to see what dastardly deed he plans next because I feel the people I care for are in danger. Instead, whenever I saw him, I rolled my eyes and hoped the next scene came quicker because I couldn't take him seriously with how he spoke or talked. 

Now that Pope is gone (thanks to Leah killing him), I'm hoping maybe Leah or someone else can take over that slot and give me that compelling villain story I'm looking for. Only time will tell.

Two Reapers dragging Daryl in The Walking Dead.

(Image credit: AMC)

There Aren’t Any Morally Ambiguous Characters Like There Were With Other Villain Storylines  

It's not like I need people to have their own moral issues, but it makes for good character development. And because no one in the Reapers are like that, I really hate all these other people on The Walking Dead. The only slightly morally ambiguous person in this whole entire group is maybe Leah, but everyone else, you could actually replace them with cardboard cutouts and you wouldn’t tell the difference. 

They show no regret, no remorse, nothing for what they’ve done. At least with the Savior storyline we got some really interesting characters with serious conflicts with what their leader was doing - i.e. Dwight and Alden (who is still on the show). But there’s no one here like that. It makes this group so much less entertaining to watch - sort of like the cannibals from Season 5. There’s no saving them. 

Yumiko and Mercer at the Commonwealth on The Walking Dead.

(Image credit: AMC)

It’s Taking Away From The Main Conflict - The Commonwealth 

The whole entire point of The Walking Dead in Season 11 was this tease of the final big battle and this huge new safezone - the Commonwealth. I know that a lot of the time we need to build up to get there but all the Reaper storyline is doing is dragging it along. 

Occasionally, we’ll get glimpses into the lives of the people there through Yumiko’s group, but then we’re thrown right back to this Reaper storyline that has literally nothing to do with it at all. I want to learn more about the Commonwealth, more about the people there, want to see Eugene punch Sebastian in the face again - the whole nine yards, but it’s always back to the Reapers. At least the other storyline between Maggie and Negan is more entertaining, but it’s still connected to this whole Reaper issue. 

I would be a lot more forgiving of this if there was still another season to come after this one, but this is the last season. And The Walking Dead wants to spend time on another pointless and bland storyline? No, that doesn’t sit right with me. 

While we wait for Episode 9 of Season 11 to come out in February of next year, let’s just all collectively hope that the Reaper storyline will come to a close quickly. All I know is that none of their deaths will be heartbreaking whatsoever in my eyes. 

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!