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Walking Dead Boss Opens Up About The Big Reveal In Season 11 Episode 4

Contains spoilers for "The Walking Dead" episode "Rendition."

That Daryl's done it again. In the fourth episode of "The Walking Dead" Season 11, he once more finds himself captured, this time by a gang of show no mercy soldiers turned mercenaries who call themselves the Reapers. Under the leadership of Pope (Ritchie Coster), a pyromaniac with a major savior complex, the Reapers torture Daryl for information until an old friend tries to convince Pope that Daryl might make an ideal inductee.

Daryl's connection with the Reapers turns out to be Leah, the original owner of Dog, with whom Daryl shared a contentious and eventually idyllic time in the woods after he left the group following Rick's death. Many fans suspected Leah might be allied with the evil faction, but as "The Walking Dead" showrunner Angela Kang told EW, there's more to come from the pair as they navigate their divided loyalties to each other and their individual organizations.

The pandemic changed Daryl and Leah's story

According to Kang, Leah was always meant to be a Reaper, and her introduction would have been very different if it wasn't for the pandemic. Initially, the plan was to combine the present narrative of Daryl meeting Leah and the Reapers with the pair's relationship in the cabin in the woods. "The origin story of the cabin and the episode where he meets her, which is this one, was all one story," Kang said. 

When filming for Season 11 had to be delayed due to COVID-19, "The Walking Dead" creative team came up with the idea of using bonus episodes for Season 10 as a stopgap. The small scale plotline of the pair falling in love and then separating made for a natural fit.

Kang admitted that Daryl and Leah's love story received a mixed reaction from fans, but said the truth of where their arc is headed makes that easier to swallow. "In some ways I was like, 'Well, if people don't like her, that's okay, because she is actually a villain and there's a toxic element to that relationship.'"

Daryl and Leah will have to decide where their loyalties lie

Leah's true status as an antagonist will likely have some major repercussions given Daryl's tenuous status with the Reapers following his initiation in Episode 4, which Kang called "a very fraught double-agent situation." This "puts him in a really dangerous dance at all times, because he is outnumbered by people who are all super soldiers," she told EW.

Whose side will Leah come down on if she's forced to choose? The show offers one hint, which interviewer Dalton Ross made sure to ask Kang about: "When Leah says to Pope that Daryl used to mean something to her but doesn't anymore, how true is that?" Kang's answer indicated the conflict might not be quite so cut and dry. "I think she is lying," Kang said. "I think he does mean something to her. I think it's painful for her. And I think a part of her is still very curious about Daryl, but she doesn't totally trust him ... I think she holds a memory of him as somebody she loved deeply."

If Leah is torn between the Reapers and her love for Daryl, then he no doubt has similar split feelings. Whether those divided loyalties have consequences for him, her, or both remains to be seen.