Here's what we learned so far about the new masked villains.

We've heard stories of the Reapers on The Walking Dead from Maggie: how they decimated her previous community at Meridian, how they typically attack after nightfall, and how if you see them, it's too late for you. Well, we saw them in last week's cliffhanger, but not everyone met their end.

Season 11's third episode, "Hunted," teaches us a few things about this new group of villains. No. 1, they are pretty insane, even by Negan's standards.

The Alexandrians are quickly separated from each other. It's like a Blair Witch close-up as Maggie watches one Reaper slice open Cole's throat, another land multiple throwing blades into Duncan, and a third yank Elijah backward by a rope into the thick black of night. Worse still, this is a gang of hunters. In season 10, we learned from one of the Reapers that a man named Pope "marked" Maggie. Is Pope the group's leader? There are still so many unanswered questions from that moment, but it's possible this new attack from the Reapers could be that promise in action.

Maggie hobbles over to take refuge in an abandoned mall, but the Reapers track her down, stalking her through the building. She finds Alden and (her favorite person) Negan also hiding out, but they are all set upon. Although they survive, Alden is injured too severely to walk by himself.

They later meet up with Agatha and Duncan, but Duncan soon succumbs to his wounds and bleeds out, while Agatha is later mauled by a group of walkers. Negan has to physically grab Maggie away so they can all escape.

There seems to be some religious elements to the Reapers, which reinforces the theory that Pope is their leader. The skull masks succeed in giving off this Grim Reaper vibe, sure, but also Maggie, Negan, and Alden happen upon the remains of someone the group had branded a Judas. This person was tied to a spike and burned alive. All that remains is an unrecognizably charred walker whose jaw is dangling from its skull.

The Walking Dead
A Reaper attacks Alden in 'The Walking Dead' season 11, episode 3 'Hunted'
| Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Gabriel actually gets to meet one of the Reapers face to face. He spotted this man hobble off into the woods, wounded, leaving his mask on the ground. By the time Gabriel catches up, the Reaper is dying, bleeding out from a wound in his neck. He's praying and even asks Gabriel to pray for him. "I have been blessed," he says. Gabriel responds by putting a blade through his skull, declaring "God isn't here anymore."

"Hunted" continues these religious allusions by having Maggie, Negan, and Alden rest in a nearby church. They ultimately decide to leave Alden there because he's slowing them down so they can gather the supplies from the secret cache and, hopefully, regroup with the others. Who knows if Alden will live long enough to see that. He seems prepared to die.

Now, it's just Maggie and Negan on the road together. She must love that. Negan grew frustrated in this episode (and all episodes of season 11 so far, really) with nobody heeding his advice. The man did run his own sick group of psychos for a time; he might know a thing or two about how the Reapers operate.

The Reapers' presence also just reflects how brutal and gnarly things are getting in the show's final season. Maggie is operating under the premise that humans are just awful, everyone has been throwing vicious barbs at Negan every chance they get, Agatha was prepared to straight-up execute Negan in the subway the last episode, and what was with that story Maggie shared about what is perhaps the most gruesome story we've heard so far from The Walking Dead? Kidnapped women brutally amputated, raped, and impregnated with mutant walker babies? Maybe Gabriel is right. Maybe God really isn't here anymore.

P.S. The side arc of this episode was totally forgettable and dull. You didn't miss much. Carol is still dealing with s---; she, Magna, Rosita, and Kelly get some of the horses back to Alexandria; Magna asks Carol to stop giving Kelly false hope for her sister (who we know is still alive somewhere); and the kids are playing cards and talking about bleak stuff. Good times.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

  • TV Show
  • 11
stream service

Comments have been disabled on this post