The jig may be up for Daryl (Norman Reedus), who has been working hard to deceive Pope (Ritchie Coster) on The Walking Dead. The latest episode’s ending teased a violent conclusion to Daryl’s time with the Reapers, which has been less than pleasant thus far.
After reuniting with Leah (Lynn Collins), Daryl became determined to earn the trust of the Reapers. To do that, he even went as far as torturing one of Maggie’s friends in The Walking Dead season 11, episode 6, titled “On the Inside”. Daryl seems to be making progress with Leah but hasn’t been able to alleviate the suspicions of Carver (Alex Meraz), who remained wary of Daryl throughout the mission to find the surviving members of Maggie’s group. It looked like Daryl dodged a bullet when Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the others narrowly escaped the house the Reapers were searching, but his ruse was threatened once again upon their return to camp, where it was learned that Frost (Glenn Stanton) supposedly talked before being killed by Pope.
Obviously, Frost telling Pope everything would mean that Daryl’s deception truly has been exposed, given that he’s aware of Daryl’s relationship with Alexandria and Maggie. That was the implication of the episode’s ending since it showed Pope speaking quietly and Carver laughing. Carver, who hates their newest member, certainly would relish any plan to kill Daryl. The look that Leah gave Daryl indicated that even though she didn’t know what Pope said, she too seemed to share that impression. If they know he’s a traitor, Daryl will of course have to act quickly before they retaliate against them.
As for why Pope wouldn’t just kill Daryl on the spot, it could be that he had good reasons for not doing so. First of all, he may not have completely trusted Frost’s words and may want to confirm what he heard first. Or, he could understand that a direct accusation against an armed Daryl would have left unnecessary casualties on the Reapers’ side. Their numbers presumably would have overwhelmed him, but Daryl most likely would have killed at least a few before going down. That’s why a better approach would be to bide their time and attack Daryl when he’s least expecting it.
Alternatively, Pope’s comment about Frost talking prior to his death could have held an entirely different meaning. While his intent clearly was to scare Daryl, it’s possible that Frost didn’t actually give up any incriminating information. Instead, it may be that Pope just suspects the truth. If so, he could have made that statement just to see if Daryl squirms or tries to flee from the Reapers’ camp. Daryl proved himself once, but Pope could still have reservations that he needs to lay to rest before trusting Daryl further. For Daryl, this would be the best-case scenario and one that would extend his stay. Otherwise, he may have to break with Leah and the Reapers much sooner than expected in The Walking Dead season 11.