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The Reapers In The Walking Dead Season 10 Explained

Contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 10, episode 17 — "Home Sweet Home"

One of the regular features of the world of The Walking Dead is the warring groups of people who now inhabit the post-apocalypse landscape of zombie-ravaged America. The whole franchise kicked off with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) finding a group of survivors to throw his lot in with, and these days, viewers follow the exploits of the residents of Alexandria and the surrounding communities. But it wouldn't make for a very captivating TV show if there wasn't another group threatening their livelihood.

For most of The Walking Dead season 10, the Alexandrians have been at war with the Whisperers. This ghoulish band of survivors made their way through the world by donning the skins of felled walkers in order to move through their hordes undetected. Their command over huge armies of the undead posed a serious (and disturbing) threat to the Alexandrians. After an intense battle, however, the Whisperer threat was subdued in the season 10B finale. 

The Alexandrians probably shouldn't spend too much time and energy celebrating, though. The season 10C premiere — the first of The Walking Dead season 10's six bonus episodes — features the return of veteran character Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) and introduces a new faction of survivors that could cause serious trouble. Referred to by Maggie and her allies as the Reapers, this shadowy group still remains mostly a mystery, but what we have learned about them so far should have everyone in Alexandria very nervous.

What we know so far about the Reapers

Much of the season 10C premiere episode, entitled "Home Sweet Home," follows Maggie on a journey to make it back to where she left her allies and her young son Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller). When she finally reaches their home base, she finds it in ruins. The place has been burned to the ground, and several of Maggie's people have been murdered.

Cole (James Devoti), a member of Maggie's group who has been traveling with her, says, "They must have followed us, Maggie. It's them. They're out here." He identifies this threat as the Reapers and notes that "they wipe out anything in their way."

The Reapers don't seem to have any correlation to the comics, and their true nature remains a mystery. But when we meet one of them later in the episode, his appearance and demeanor provide lots of clues about how the Reapers operate. The unidentified man attacks Maggie and company from a well-placed sniper's nest in the woods. When they flush him out of hiding, he's wearing intense camouflage and military-style body armor. He's also set up snare traps. A fight ensues and Maggie get the upper hand on him, demanding him to give her more information about his group. However, the sniper keeps his mouth shut, opting to blow himself up with a grenade instead.

This tells us that whoever these people are, they are well-equipped and highly trained. It's easy to take for granted how amateur so many of the different factions are, which makes it intimidating to encounter one that is so skilled and disciplined. It would appear that the Reapers are perhaps ex-military, or belong to some kind of militia group. Could they be connected to the Civil Republic Military (CRM) or even the Commonwealth? Unfortunately, the citizens of Alexandria are likely to find out soon.