One could argue that The Walking Dead is only ever as good as its villains. Since the survivors on AMC’s long-running zombie series learned to view the undead as environmental hazards rather than antagonists, the show has needed good old-fashioned human baddies to step up to the plate.
The Walking Dead is coming off an era of storytelling that featured its best villains yet in the form of Alpha, Beta, and their horde of rotting skin-clad Whisperers. Then season “10B” made brief mention of the next antagonistic threat: the Reapers. So far, we haven’t gotten much information on the Reapers other than the fact that they appear to be capable survivalists (as everyone in the show must be at this point) and that they enjoyed terrorizing Maggie’s crew.
“We’re seeing that this person knows a lot of really pretty intense fighting techniques,” Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang told Den of Geek earlier this year. “There’s this sort of militaristic aspect to them. There has to be an internal logic to the group and how that’s worked for them in order to get 12 years into the apocalypse and still be alive.”
In the only onscreen appearance of a Reaper, the unnamed soldier told Daryl “Pope marked you” before pulling the pin on a grenade and blowing himself up. With that in mind, just about everything else surrounding the Reapers remains a mystery. Now, thanks to a new Walking Dead teaser, we’re finally getting our first real look at the whole crew in action. Check out the clip below.
After heroic shots of Maggie, Carol, Princess, and Yumiko, the teaser provides a brief glimpse of what can only be The Reapers. Bear with us as the video and therefore screenshot quality is less than ideal but here is what they look like more or less.
The sight of all those individuals in masks is creepy enough but if we pull back a bit, things get even darker.
Ahhhhh people hanging from their ankles! You don’t love to see it. While we still do not know what the modus operandi for the Reapers is yet, the previously released synopsis for The Walking Dead’s 11th and final season might clarify things a bit. AMC’s description for the first eight episodes make frequent mention of Alexandria being in dire straits due to a lack of food and clean water.
While, we tend to think of the word “reaper” in conjunction with “grim” and therefore associate it with death, the word literally refers to a person or machine that harvests crops. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Alexandria is struggling with food insecurity the moment some mask-wearing death farmers show up.
Regardless of who the Reapers are or what they want, it’s clear that dark times lie ahead for Alexandria. It’s a good thing then that an advanced scouting party just arrived at the highly advanced society known as The Commonwealth. Surely, all of Alexandria will be invited to join that idyllic community and there be no conflict to report whatsoever.
The Walking Dead season 11 premieres August 22 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.