The Walking Dead season 11 episode 8 recap: What’s next for Leah and Daryl?

Lynn Collins as Leah - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC
Lynn Collins as Leah - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC /

The Walking Dead wrapped up the first eight episodes of its 24-episode season with “For Blood” and for a season that has been building toward the big battle with the Reapers, it was an interesting mid-season finale. Now that the leader of the Reapers is dead, what’s next for Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Leah (Lynn Collins)?

There were two big stories in the mid-season finale but neither one saw any conclusion in “For Blood”, rather fans were left hanging with two cliffhangers.

Alexandria was hit by a big storm that knocked the walls down, sending walkers into the community to surround the safe house where everyone was gathered. At the end of the episode, Judith (Cailey Fleming) went to find Gracie (Annabelle Holloway), who’d gone to the basement in search of a weapon. As walkers filed into the house, the two girls were forced to take shelter in the flooding basement while everyone else was upstairs.

Meanwhile, Maggie’s group slowly approached Meridian with the herd of walkers while the Reapers looked on. A Reaper went out to lead the herd away and ended up getting killed in the process.

When Pope ordered the herd to be slaughtered, Daryl came clean to Leah about his people so she killed Pope to give Daryl’s people time to get out of the line of fire, but then she blamed him for Pope’s death and put a target on his back. Then she aimed the weaponized fireworks at the walkers, including Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and lit the fuse.

Did Leah die in The Walking Dead mid-season finale?

When Lynn Collins was named as a series regular, fans guessed that her days on the series were numbered but she survived the mid-season finale and can be seen in the promo for 11B.

Daryl extended an olive branch by telling her she could leave with him, but she was upset that he’d lied to her and instead chose to stay with her people now that Pope was out of the picture.

This begs the question: What happens next for Daryl and Leah?

Unless this whole scene was a ruse to give Daryl motivation to escape, it’s very likely that Daryl and Leah’s time together is officially over. (I’m not saying they were together, of course, but they were “together” in the sense of occupying the same place)

Leah seemingly assumed the role of the new leader of the Reapers by the end of the episode and it looks like she’s prepared to fight to keep her home and her family safe from Maggie’s invasion.

Truthfully it wasn’t a bad episode, but it didn’t feel much like a mid-season finale. Maggie’s group has spent all season on the search for food at Meridian and now the mid-season finale has come and gone and they don’t have the food yet. It has been eight episodes with no resolution in sight.

I’d like to think that the pace will pick up in the middle batch of episodes. The promo reveals that Alexandria will meet the people of the Commonwealth, so that solves the food problem. But Leah’s still around and it looks like she will continue to be a thorn in Daryl’s side until something happens.

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For now, I’m going to cross my fingers that The Walking Dead 11B moves faster than 11A. Sure, 11A gave us a brilliant haunted house story with “On the Inside”, but it would be nice to move on from trying to save a crumbling Alexandria when there is clearly so much to explore in the Commonwealth.

The Walking Dead will return on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022 at 9pm on AMC.