The Walking Dead‘s Reapers remain shrouded in mystery, but could Leah and Mays secretly be part of this villainous group? The Walking Dead season 10’s official finale aired in late 2020 after a significant delay, but neatly wrapped up the Whisperers arc, as Daryl, Negan and Gabriel (with some help from Maggie) led the final attack against Beta and his undead horde. The episode also teased the Commonwealth ahead of The Walking Dead season 11, but before then, AMC’s zombie apocalypse series is releasing a series of standalone episodes that focus in on small groups and character pairings, from Daryl and Carol to Negan and his late wife, Lucille.
The first of these anthology offerings starred Maggie’s new group, but also introduced a brand new batch of villains called The Reapers. These enigmatic antagonists hounded Maggie out of her previous community (although she hasn’t yet worked up the courage to talk about it) and are doggedly pursuing Lauren Cohan’s character with intent to kill. Only one Reaper has officially appeared in The Walking Dead so far – an unnamed sniper who attempts to pick Maggie and her friends off in the forest, ending his own life with a grenade rather than giving up any information. The assailant does at least reveal the Reaper leader is called Pope and Maggie has been “marked.”
The Walking Dead has since moved onto other business, namely a Daryl love story and a scavenging hunt starring Gabriel and Aaron. But while The Reapers appear to have taken a back seat, has The Walking Dead secretly been introducing new members all along?
The Walking Dead season 10’s “Find Me” takes place largely during the show’s big time skip, with Daryl searching the river banks for any sign of Rick Grimes. But in this hopeless place, Daryl found love, and even in the zombie apocalypse, dogs prove the best wingmen. Daryl encounters Leah living alone in a remote cabin and they eventually become a couple. The tryst is tragically short-lived, as Leah abruptly goes missing while Daryl is busy Rick-watching. Although Leah seems to be alone in the woods, parts of her story don’t add up, suggesting she could’ve fallen in with The Reapers.
Firstly, Leah tells Daryl about her background in the military. Describing her fellow soldiers as “family,” Leah survived alongside her squad and adopted son when the outbreak began, but ended up alone with Dog after undead descended upon their camp. As soon as The Reapers debuted in The Walking Dead, their militaristic tactics were evident, with the sniper in “Home Sweet Home” proving well-trained and possessing all the necessary equipment. It may not be a coincidence that in the very next episode, Leah claims to also have a history in the Armed Forces. Then there’s the matter of Leah strangely disappearing without her beloved Dog. Perhaps the only reason Leah might depart the cabin would be the unexpected return of her old squad – the band of brothers and sisters who swore to fight alongside each other when the apocalypse began.
Leah’s military allies (who she never actually saw die) might’ve gone on to form The Reapers and suffered an ethical fall from grace, as many do in The Walking Dead. The fledgling Reapers then spotted Leah in her cabin and collected their old friend – possibly by force. This is one of very few plausible explanations for Leah leaving Dog behind. The animal represents Leah’s late son, so she wouldn’t want Dog traveling with a group that has turned to sinister methods in her absence. When Daryl and Leah reunite in the present-day timeline, she may not be the same person he left behind.
If The Walking Dead season 10 introducing two characters with military training in successive episodes (the sniper and Leah) is a coincidence, the addition of a third surely demonstrates a pattern forming. Unlike Leah, Mays doesn’t reveal his past to Aaron and Gabriel in the post-intercourse glow of a roaring fire, but he’s certainly no ordinary survivor. Mays is silent enough to sneak up on Alexandria‘s duo (while they’re drunk, admittedly) and he ties up Aaron with minimal fuss. This doesn’t appear to be his first rodeo either. At the very least, Mays is survival expert with plenty of skill and experience in combat. A history in the military would come as no surprise and, similarly to Leah, would explain how he’s been able to live alone in a post-apocalyptic landscape.
For someone whose only company is a tied-up twin, Mays seems remarkably well-stocked. Gabriel is surprised to learn his captor carries a fully-loaded machine gun, and Mays doesn’t think twice about wasting a few bullets. The Walking Dead already hinted that The Reapers were well-armed, and Mays’ weapon could’ve been imgd from the same supply, explaining his liberal use of ammo. It’s also strange that Mays kept a wild boar locked up in his hideout instead of simply killing and eating it like most other hunters in The Walking Dead. Was Robert Patrick’s character intending to share the animal with a larger group?
Maybe the biggest hint that Mays holds a Reaper membership card is the burned down house Gabriel and Aaron discover shortly before reaching his warehouse. When The Reapers were hunting Maggie’s group several episodes ago, they tried burning down the building her people were camped in. The crumbling home in “One More” looks to have suffered the same fate, and chances are The Reapers were responsible. With Mays living so close by, he could’ve been involved.
If Leah and Mays are both revealed to be Reapers in The Walking Dead‘s future, this proves the widely-held assumption that these villains are comprised of ex-military types corrupted by the zombie apocalypse. Consequently, The Reapers could pose the biggest threat yet to Alexandria. The likes of Negan, Alpha and The Governor were all amateurs who adapted to the outbreak and learned on the job. If The Walking Dead‘s heroes came across an enemy faction who possessed proper armed forces training, their ragtag militia simply isn’t going to hold up.
Leah and Mays’ potential involvement with The Reapers also gives the new baddies all the more reason to attack Alexandria. In “Home Sweet Home,” The Reapers were solely looking to kill Maggie, and anyone else was simply collateral damage. If The Reapers come knocking at Alexandria’s gate demanding Maggie in exchange for everyone else’s safety, Lauren Cohan’s character won’t stand by and let friends be slaughtered in her name. But if Mays was a Reaper, the villains will have beef with Aaron and Gabriel too, while Leah probably can’t wait to take her anger out on Daryl. Through Leah and Mays, responsibility for bringing The Reapers to Alexandria no longer lies solely at Maggie’s feet – they’re everyone’s problem now. Fortunately, Daryl’s romance with Leah might offer a lifeline… if he (and Dog!) can talk her around.
With The Walking Dead season 11 acting as the show’s finale, future storylines will likely focus on The Commonwealth, not leaving much room for a secondary group of villains. This means The Walking Dead‘s Reaper arc should be wrapped up within the current run of anthology episodes. And rather than waiting until season 10’s final installment, what better way to develop The Reapers than to hide them in plain sight?