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Walking Dead Drops A New Huge Clue That Elijah Is A Reaper

Season 11 of The Walking Dead has presented a new clue that supports the theory Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) is an ex-Reaper within “Rendition,” the first episode that also introduced Pope (Ritchie Coster) and his fellow Reapers. After a teaser trailer that offered a first glimpse at the Reapers was released in June 2021, viewers began to theorize that Elijah might've been a member of their group given the fact both wear makeshift hockey masks and carry similar bladed weapons. Apart from their matching ensembles, episode 4 explores some of the more profound parallels between Elijah and the Reapers.

Ever since he was introduced in season 10, Elijah has been the subject of much speculation given the mysterious nature of his character. Initially, the presence of Elijah's mask made fans believe his face was covered to hide the identity of a known character from The Walking Dead universe, such as Duane Jones or even Heath. Not a lot is known about the masked fighter Elijah’s backstory apart from the fact he became friends with Maggie after she left Hilltop, helped her establish their settlement Meridian, and he had a sister who was killed by the Reapers. In a standalone episode that begins with Daryl being captured and ends with him admitted into the Reaper's family, the first peek into their backstory reveals Elijah shares some of the same characteristics of the militant group.

Related: The Walking Dead Wasted A Perfect Opportunity With Its Daryl Episode

In “Rendition,” Daryl is inducted after escaping unscathed from a cabin that was set on fire with himself and Leah inside. While Pope praises Daryl for saving Leah’s life before his own, he accuses Bossie of abandoning Turner during his altercation with Maggie in “Hunted.” Pope then informs Daryl of an essential facet of their philosophy: never turn your back on your “brother,”  which is a trait Elijah has exhibited in previous episodes. In "Home Sweet Home," Elijah risked his life to help Daryl and Maggie close a shipment container filled with walkers. Despite being noticeably afraid of the Reapers in episode 17, Elijah tries to save Maggie when she’s attacked by them in “Hunted.” Since Elijah consistently exhibits the heroism Pope values, it suggests he has qualities that would’ve allowed him to be accepted as a Reaper in the past.

Elijah’s disposition also suggests he has the same military background. In episode 4, Pope tells Daryl his squad’s history of fighting for the U.S. military in Afghanistan and later becoming mercenaries after they had trouble adjusting to civilian life. Pope’s vivid description of the brutal carnage to new Reaper member Daryl shows the Reaper’s themselves have some unresolved trauma and lingering anger towards a government that discarded them upon their return. Not only does Elijah have the combat skills of a veteran, but he also seems to share the Reaper’s unaddressed trauma as he rarely speaks, always wears his mask and only lets those he trusts see his true face.

If the exposition about the Reapers from season 11 episode 4 of The Walking Dead is hinting Elijah was formerly part of their group, it might also explain why the Wardens were initially “marked” by Pope. After surviving a napalm bombing that was likely part of the government’s Operation Cobalt, Pope believed his people were chosen by God to persevere because they survived the assault unscathed. Considering his squad to be family, it’s revealed Pope and the Reapers went searching for Leah and accepted her back into their group, which accounts for Leah's disappearance in season 10. With this in mind, the Reapers may have initially attacked Maggie's settlement Meridian to reclaim their "brother" Elijah. Since Elijah was one of the few Wardens who wasn’t injured onscreen in “Hunted” but rather appeared to be captured by the Reapers, his link - or the lack thereof - to the Reapers will likely be revealed within the coming episodes.

More: The Walking Dead Finally Remembers It's A Horror Show

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