Who are the villainous, deadly Reapers in The Walking Dead? Lauren Cohan departed The Walking Dead near the beginning of season 9, exiting alongside Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes. Her character, Maggie Rhee, was revealed to have joined another community, keeping in touch with her old friends via letters. When Maggie’s correspondence stopped, the fine folks of Alexandria might’ve started to worry were they not already dealing with problems of their own. Skin-covered, stabby, ASMR-friendly problems. Fortunately, Maggie rode to the rescue in The Walking Dead‘s season 10 sort-of-finale, helping the combined forces of Alexandria, Hilltop, The Kingdom and Oceanside finish off their creepy enemies for good.
Skillfully dispatching Whisperers, it appeared that Maggie and her community were well-established, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Upon The Walking Dead‘s return, Maggie recounts how each of her attempts to build new civilizations failed, leading her straight back to Alexandria. While Maggie has met good people along the way, she’s also encountered some wrong-uns, leaving her with no option but to head home. Maggie’s people have been ravaged by a brand new group of The Walking Dead villains called The Reapers. Not much is known about these antagonists just yet, and they’re not inspired by the comic books, but Maggie does disclose a few salient details.
Before her bloody homecoming, Maggie was living at a place called The Village in Knoxville, then found a new band of survivors by the sea shortly after. The few that remain of Maggie’s people are visibly spooked by the specter of The Reapers, despite being rather formidable themselves. Elijah and Cole (especially Elijah) are more than capable of handling themselves, yet they’re reluctant for a repeat encounter with the enemies who destroyed their home. Even Maggie, who has seen one family member after another die and lived through the terror of Negan, can’t bring herself to talk about the incident when Daryl asks. Already, this speaks to the reputation of The Reapers (assuming they are indeed the ones responsible).
The Reapers have followed Maggie to her present location, setting fire to the rendezvous point where Hershel was left. Cole describes the Reapers’ modus operandi as coming out of nowhere and destroying everything in their path, and it becomes evident that they’re highly trained. Not only are they able to track Maggie’s people into the woods (despite Cole swearing their tracks were covered), but the single Reaper seen in “Home Sweet Home” comes packing full military camouflage, a powerful rifle, and all the necessary sniping paraphernalia. Even more worrisome than the assailant’s equipment is his obvious training. If all the Reapers are so military-minded, they could pose a serious threat to the more amateurish defenses of Alexandria and her allies.
Perhaps the most important piece of information revealed about The Reapers so far comes when the lone villain is captured. As Maggie questions his motives, the unnamed sniper says only “Pope marked you.” This “Pope” is most likely the leader of The Reapers, but the line also gives some insight into their inner workings, suggesting that once a target has been picked out for death, they’ll be pursued come hell or high water. Such a grim approach might explain the “Reaper” name – bringers of death who cannot be outrun, and relentlessly pursue their victims before striking with scythe-like accuracy.
The Reapers are yet to make a full debut in The Walking Dead, but the group are a notable deviation from the likes of The Saviors and The Whisperers. In contrast to those former enemies, The Reapers don’t appear to be territorial, and don’t seem to want anything from Maggie other than her blood. Few in The Walking Dead have killed for the sake of sport in such a way, and with Alexandria still reeling from the Whisperer aftermath, they may not be in a position to resist.