Jason Riley is an antagonist and a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's Fear the Walking Dead, as well as the protagonist of Dead in the Water. He is a high-ranking member of a doomsday cult, serving as Teddy's right-hand man and the cult's second-in-command. He served as the secondary antagonist for the second half of Season 6.
Riley was initially a no-nonsense, stern, but good-hearted man. Before the apocalypse, he was a weapons officer on the USS Pennsylvania who aspired to become a captain. He was also going to be a father which he is cynical about at first. However when the outbreak happens and he witnesses the deaths of most of his crewmates, he becomes open to it, realizing family is all that he has left. When he is forced to decide whether to shoot a missile at Chicago, he refuses to fire on his own country and kill his own son. Unfortunately, tragedy would strike when his wife and child get devoured by walkers, which he is forced to hear over a phone call. He becomes depressed and almost commits suicide, but is stopped by Teddy.
Riley would go on to join Teddy's doomsday cult, most likely because it gave him a new sense of purpose. By Season 6, he is a completely loyal member and is Teddy's right-hand man. He is a passionate believer in their cause in starting a new beginning. He has shown to have lost his humanity and most likely his sanity and is now more than willing to fire the missile that he previously refused. He is shown to be sadistic and cunning, as he tricks the group into thinking they were being taken to a safe bunker, when in actuality they were being driven to get a prime view of when the missiles hit.
Nothing is known about Jason's life prior to or as the outbreak began, other than he was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and weapons officer serving onboard the USS Pennsylvania. As seen by photographs in his bunk aboard the submarine, he was in a relationship with a young woman. At some point in his career, he helped to stop an attempted nuclear attack of some kind.
Riley oversees a training exercise with Farley, Winokur Middlebrook, and Williams launching the USS Pennsylvania's crew nuclear missiles. After the exercise is over, Riley notes that they did better than the day before, but he berates his crew for their failure to do their one collective job properly the day before. Farley wonders why they're even running weapons' drills since they're in the Gulf of Mexico with Middlebrook adding that he can basically see his house from where they are. However, Riley dismisses it as none of their concern, stating that if the captain gives them the order to launch, they launch and "if you can't do that, then you don't deserve those dolphins on your chest." After Riley's men agree, he leaves Weapons' Control.
Riley makes his way through the sub, stopping by the galley to ask Cook if he's seen Pierce, and Cook suggests where Riley can possibly find him. Having heard that Riley has a kid now, Cook jokingly offers to teach him how to make Mickey Mouse pancakes. Calling it very funny, Riley moves on. Riley locates Pierce who is listening to the radio, but he tells Riley that he isn't hearing anything, causing both men to wonder what's going on.
Riley returns to his bunk and looks at an ultrasound of his son Oliver. Captain Renwick enters and Riley assures him that his crew ran the drill twice that morning and their previous failure won't happen again. Renwick bring up them discussing the week before Riley going into the next leg of XO training and running a ship of his own which is what Riley wants more than anything. However, Renwick is concerned based on Riley's performance the day before. Riley reminds Renwick of himself at Riley's age, coming up the ranks with a new family back home. Renwick offers Riley the same advice that his own skipper had given him: "do what needs doing. That means making the tough calls no wants to make no matter what's going on around you or back on land." Looking at Oliver's ultrasound which Riley puts into his pocket, Renwick asks if Riley had gotten distracted the day before thinking about his family. Riley admits that he's never thought of himself as much of a family man and he's not sure if he's cut out for it. However, Renwick tells Riley that he'll get over it when he sees Oliver smiling up at him and Renwick offers Riley some advice as a father with his own children.
Riley zips up his jacket to cover the sub's launch keys and Renwick tells him to speak freely. Riley wonders why they're running drills with Friedman laid up and no word from command. Renwick states that when an order comes down, they won't be sitting around doing nothing and he needs to know that when the time comes, Riley will turn the key and Riley promises that he will without hesitation.
Their conversation is interrupted by Bacon with the news that Friedman has taken a turn for the worse and they still have had no word from the medevac. Although Renwick orders Bacon to keep trying, Bacon states that there's no time and they're prepping the mess hall now. Riley points out that Park's never done an appendectomy before and Bacon tells him that Park says he's reading up on it. Although they have no other choice, Renwick is disgusted, pointing out that they're operating in a time of peace in the Gulf of Mexico.
Riley, Renwick, and Bacon make their way to the mess hall where they watch the operation on Friedman. Looking at the three, Park grimly shakes his head at them. Friedman wakes up as the Fentanyl wears off and stares at his cut open abdomen before going into shock and flatlining. Despite Park and his assistant's best efforts, Friedman dies.
Afterwards, Riley and Pierce sit with Park who is devastated by his inability to save Friedman, especially as nobody dies of appendicitis anymore with modern medicine. Park demands to know where the medevac was, but Pierce tells him that they've been wondering the same thing. Pierce sends Park to go get cleaned up and tells Riley that Renwick was looking for him. Riley explains that Renwick is worried that Riley is hung up on some kid that he's never met before and Pierce reminds Riley that he had begged to be on this tour. Riley insists that what he's hung up on is why they've been pulled off of a NATO run and sent to the Gulf of Mexico instead. Pierce notes that they haven't heard anything since and both men know that something is happening and they don't know anything about it and now a man is dead. "Something's going on. Something bad," states Riley.
Riley stands near the outer hatch with McGuire, Pierce, and Alvarez. The four men discuss how, despite the fact that they're currently only 50 klicks off of Galveston, they can't reach anyone. Pierce reveals that after being silent on every means of communication, NC2 suddenly picked up an incomplete message a half an hour before. When Riley asks what he means, Pierce tells him that it was "incomplete like they hit Send without finishing the damn thing." Riley is surprised that their first word from command in weeks is a half-baked message and Pierce tells the others that he has also picked up an FM broadcast out of Houston revealing that the Army has been deployed. McGuire is surprised that it's the Army and not the National Guard and Pierce explains that the broadcast talks about the Army being deployed for "medical incidents." Riley recognizes that the partial EAM and the Army being deployed can't be a coincidence.
McGuire worries about his sister in Houston while Pierce tells the others that Riley has a son that he hasn't even seen yet. Pierce suggests that with how close to shore they are, they should consider going for a swim. McGuire realizes that Pierce is suggesting that they abandon ship and their duties, but Riley states that no one is doing that. Alvarez admits that he can't really see Riley as a father, something that Riley concurs with. Pierce tells the group that Riley has brought a kid into the world and that he has a duty to protect his son and his wife. However, Riley is sure that there will be plenty of diapers for him to change when their tour is up in six weeks with Alvarez adding that he never knew his dad and he turned out fine. Riley states that he tries not to thinking about it as there's not much that he can do about it. A message from Cook about ice cream Sunday's in the mess ends the conversation as the four men depart to enjoy the desert.
In the mess, Riley stands beside Captain Renwick as he eulogizes Friedman. Suddenly, a zombified Friedman emerges, attacking and biting Cook, Bacon and Park. Friedman advances on Renwick who shoots him in the chest several times to no effect. Friedman pushes Renwick up against the wall, causing him to drop his gun in the struggle. Riley grabs Renwick's gun and shoots Friedman in the head, putting him down. Riley then returns the gun to a thankful Renwick. After making sure that Park is alright, Renwick orders Park to get himself bandaged up and tend to the rest of the men. Looking at the corpse, Pierce is surprised that Friedman wasn't dead, but Riley states that he is now.
Riley lies awake in his bunk when Pierce arrives with a complete message from command ordering the sub to be weapons ready with orders to follow. Riley suggests that command is getting them ready to nuke their own country, pointing out that first they were sent to the Gulf of Mexico and then the Army was deployed. Pierce wonders what's going on in the outside world, but Riley is more concerned with what's going on on the sub, wondering what had happened to Friedman. Pierce is confused too, noting that Friedman had been like a rabid dog. Riley asks if Pierce had shown the message to the captain yet and Pierce states that he's on his way there now.
Hearing a strange noise, the two men emerge to find Bacon wandering around nearby strangely. Riley calls out to Bacon who turns around, revealing that he has reanimated. Recognizing the danger, Riley stops Pierce from getting too close, only to have Bacon trip over a bulkhead and fall in front of them. As Riley and Pierce pin Bacon down with their feet, Bacon bites at them and Riley realizes that Friedman biting Bacon on the arm had caused his current state. Pierce wonders who had bitten Friedman, but Riley doesn't know and is more concerned with how they can stop Bacon. Pierce remembers that Riley shooting Friedman in the head had worked before and Riley grabs a nearby fire extinguisher. Stating "let's do what needs doing," Riley uses the fire extinguisher to smash in Bacon's head, putting him down. Riley is stunned that he just killed the XO, but Pierce reassures him that it was no longer Bacon and that Riley did what he had to do. Hearing some more growling from nearby, Riley orders Pierce to find the captain and meet him in the weapons' room before they go their separate ways.
Moving through the corridors, Riley discovers a group of zombified crewmen eating the body of two crewmen, including Middlebrook, and he activates the alarm, drawing their attention to the siren on the far wall. Riley realizes that the walkers are attracted to sound and he manages to slip past as they are distracted by the noise. Stopping for a moment, Riley pulls on his jacket and makes his way to the kitchen where he is horrified to find a zombified Park eating Gonzalez. Grabbing a kitchen knife, Riley begs his friend not to make him do this, but Park attacks. Riley slashes at him with the knife and slams Park's face down onto the hot stovetop, dropping his knife in the process. Finally, Riley picks up the knife, braces it on the counter and slams Park's head onto it, putting Park down. Gently lowering his friend's body to the ground, Riley removes the knife and sadly apologizes to Park.
Hearing voices nearby, Riley ushers Winokur and Alvarez inside and locks himself and the other two men in the freezer. Winokur panics at being trapped, causing Alvarez to yell at him before Riley orders him to stop as Winokur is scared enough as it is. A frightened Winokur states that they weren't trained for this, but Riley reminds him that he was trained to be calm under pressure. Winokur worries about turning into a zombie too and when asked, states that he doesn't think that he was bit. As a result, Riley reassures Winokur that he won't turn, but Alvarez warns them that if either one of them does, he will put a bullet in their head. Winokur wonders if this is happening on land too, but Riley isn't sure. Winokur worries about their families, but Riley tells him to try not to think about it as there's nothing that they can do for their loved ones from there.
Alvarez believes that this is some kind of an attack and that someone had slipped a nerve agent or something into their air filtration systems. Riley reminds him that everyone is all breathing the same air and wonders why they wouldn't all be infected then. Alvarez points out that Riley can't know that they're not. Riley starts to tell Alvarez about the EAM and protocol, but Alvarez states that protocol went out the window when he had to shoot his TAO in the head and that it's now every man for himself. Riley begins to accuse Alvarez of being a coward, but Alvarez is willing to leave Riley behind, telling him that just because Riley doesn't care about seeing his family again, it doesn't mean that the rest of them don't. As the argument begins to escalate into a physical altercation, Winokur comes between the two men and tells them that they won't get out of there alive if they keep fighting each other.
Calming down, Riley tells the other two men that he needs to get to the weapons' room, but he can't do it alone. Winokur steps up to help him and Riley hands him the knife, directing Winokur to penetrate the walkers in the skull as it's the only way to kill them. Winokur is hesitant as the crew is like his family, but Riley states that they aren't anymore and to aim for the eyes. Winokur asks Alvarez for his gun, but he refuses as Alvarez wants to keep the gun for himself. Riley and Winokur stare at Alvarez who finally agrees to help them. Riley opens the door and the three men exit the freezer.
Sneaking through the halls of the USS Pennsylvania as walkers mill around, Riley orders Winokur and Alvarez to go quick, stay together and to remember to aim for the eyes. As they sneak past a corridor full of zombified crewmen, one attacks Alvarez, but is pulled off of him by Winokur who gets bit. Alvarez shoots the walker before killing the bitten Winokur. A horrified Riley demands to know why he killed Winokur, but Alvarez defends himself that Winokur was bitten and he would've turned. A zombified Voss attacks Riley and Alvarez can't get a clean shot, but Riley is saved by McGuire who drops a wrench on Voss' head from an open hatch above them. Grabbing the wrench, Riley follows Alvarez up the ladder as more walkers close in on them.
Reaching the silo hall, Riley opens the hatch and tells his companions that the weapons' room is on the other end of the hall. However, it is filled with walkers. A nervous Alvarez refuses, but Riley tells him that the walkers are drawn to noise and to not shoot unless he has to. The three sneak through the hall as walker growls and screams echo around them. Suddenly, Farley emerges, startling Alvarez into accidentally shooting and killing him. Panicking, Alvarez tries to leave through a nearby hatch against Riley's orders not to open it, but walkers enter through the hatch and attack Alvarez, causing Alvarez to commit suicide. As Riley and McGuire begin to make a run for it, Riley is attacked by a zombified Arnold who grabs Riley's launch key as they struggle. Riley slams Arnold face first into a piece of metal, impaling him through the right eye and retrieves the launch key. Reaching the end of the hall, Riley and McGuire are joined by Pierce and Captain Renwick who are still alive, much to Riley's relief.
Reaching the weapons' room, Riley shuts off the alarm before Renwick pulls a gun on the other men and demands that they show him their arms. Riley, Pierce and McGuire show him that no one has been bitten and a relieved Renwick lowers his gun. Renwick reveals that he's already had to put down six of his own men and McGuire and Riley add in their friends that they've seen die or had to put down as well while Pierce reassures Renwick that they weren't his men anymore. The four men realize that they now have their answer as to why they were taken off of the NATO run and the medevac wasn't sent for Friedman with Renwick sadly noting that the world must be in chaos. Renwick believes that the Pennsylvania must be all that's left, but Pierce and McGuire aren't convinced. Renwick states that they have plans in place for this sort of thing and Riley suggests that for all they know, the missile they've been ordered to fire could stop it. Renwick agrees with Riley and tells Pierce and McGuire that firing the missile is all that matters now. A new message comes through which Riley, McGuire and, reluctantly, Pierce agree is authentic. The launch coordinates print out and after reading them, Renwick tells his men that the target is Chicago and he orders them to prepare to launch.
As Captain Renwick orders him to prepare to launch, Riley hesitates, pointing out that they would be firing on their own country. However, Renwick is sure that command wouldn't have sent the coordinates if they didn't have a good reason. Pierce reminds Riley of his earlier suggestion that this will stop it somehow and Renwick tells him that they have an incredible responsibility and while it's not an enviable task, it must be done. Riley reminds Renwick that firing nuclear weapons at their own people has never been done before, but Renwick is uninterested. Riley suggests that someone might've gone rogue, but Renwick dismisses it as impossible and he believes that whatever's happening on the Pennsylvania is probably happening in Chicago too and their nukes can stop it.
Removing his launch key, Renwick prepares to follow through with their orders while Riley continues arguing against wiping out an entire city. Renwick tells Riley that there's a chain of command and that Riley is at the bottom of it. Inserting his key, Renwick orders Riley to take out his own launch key, but after a moment of hesitation, Riley flat-out refuses. Riley tells Renwick that he joined the Navy to protect their country, not to destroy it. While Riley swore an oath, it wasn't to do something like this even though they all knew that this day could come.
Renwick suddenly descends into a coughing fit before insisting that if Riley wants to keep his family safe, this is how he does it. However, Riley reveals that he will be killing them instead as his wife and son are in Chicago. Renwick states that they are more than likely already dead, but Riley refuses to believe it. Renwick reminds Riley that that very morning, Riley had told him that he didn't even want to be a father, but Riley tells him "that doesn't mean I'm not gonna die trying to protect him." While Renwick is worried about his family too, he believes that their country is at stake and counting on them and he refuses to relent. Riley puts his key around his neck and under his shirt, refusing to turn the key.
Grabbing his gun, Renwick states that it takes two men to launch a missile, but Riley doesn't have to be one of them. Renwick orders Pierce to take the key from Riley, but Pierce joins him, as does McGuire. Renwick calls their actions mutiny and threatens to have them all court martialed, but McGuire states that their orders are comparable to Nuremburg and Riley tells him that Renwick's superior orders are cruel and war crimes.
Renwick suddenly collapses to his knees and Riley rushes to help him, discovering that the captain has been bitten on the arm. Knowing that he's doomed, Renwick asks Riley to tell everyone that he went down with the ship and Riley nods in agreement and apologizes. The two men share one last joke before Riley takes Renwick's gun. Renwick expresses hope that the three are right about not launching the nuke and Riley promises to do what needs doing. As Pierce looks away, Riley mercy kills the dying Renwick with a headshot.
Putting the gun down, Riley tells his companions that they are going to get out of here. Putting on Renwick's key, Riley addresses the crew over the PA system, informing them that Captain Renwick is dead and that they have a new mission: "get this ship topside. Go home."
Riley and Pierce stop outside of the hatch leading to the silo hallway with walkers growling on the other side. Riley jokes about Pierce's earlier desire to swim to shore before admitting that while his desire that morning was to be a Captain, Riley no longer cares about that. Riley now just wants to hold his son at least once. Pierce promises that he will before McGuire hands them a pipe and a sharpened shaft of metal, the only weapons that he could find which Pierce calls better than nothing.
Riley decides to go first and Pierce agrees, referring to Riley as Captain. Before Riley can open the hatch, Walter contacts him over the sub's comms, revealing that a group had made it to the bridge, but they are now stuck there with too many walkers outside. Getting an idea, Riley asks if Walter has ever pulled a chicken switch and, laughing, Walter orders them to hold on tight. As Riley, Pierce and McGuire brace themselves, Walter announces an emergency blow over the comms and then blows the sub's ballast tanks, rapidly sending it to the surface and throwing the swarming walkers around and to the ground.
With the sub on its way to the surface and the walkers incapacitated for now, Riley, Pierce and McGuire rush through the hatch and the hallway, safely reaching the other end. However, as Pierce holds the hatch open for Riley, he is bitten on the ankle by a zombified Farley before Riley quickly puts him down. Riley desperately tends to his friend, suggesting that they can try amputating his foot. However, Pierce tells Riley that the only thing that matters anymore is family and he orders Riley to go and find his son. Riley apologizes to Pierce who tells him that he's not sorry, calling Riley his brother. Riley reluctantly leaves as Pierce charges an approaching group of walkers, sacrificing himself so that Riley can escape. Sadly watching Pierce's death for a moment, Riley closes the hatch and escapes.
Riley joins McGuire, Walter and six other survivors at the outer hatch, simply shaking his head when McGuire asks about Pierce. Removing one of the launch keys, Riley tries to give it to McGuire who refuses to take it. Walter decides to take the key instead and Riley orders him to "guard it with your life. They can never be in the same room again" which Walter promises to do. Riley tells his remaining crew that it's been an honor to serve with all of them and now they have to go find their families which is all that they have left. Riley gives the order to abandon ship and the eight survivors of the USS Pennsylvania climb out of the hatch to the surface. After a last look around, Riley climbs out last.
On the beach, Riley calls his house, at first getting their voicemail before Lucy picks up the phone. Riley is relieved that his wife is still alive and Lucy asks if he knows what's going on and where he is. Riley tells Lucy that he's on land and coming to her and asks after Oliver. Lucy tells Riley that Oliver is sleeping and that they had made a person who is so beautiful. Crying tears of joy, Riley tells Lucy to stay safe and that he's coming to them. Lucy informs Riley that Oliver has his smile and that she wishes that her husband could see him. Riley insists that he will see Oliver and that Lucy just needs to stay where she is and he'll come to her. Suddenly, Riley hears a banging sound in the background and Lucy apologizes, telling her husband that they had tried for as long as they could and she loves him. Riley is forced to listen over the phone as walkers break into his house and devour his wife and son before he loses the call. Devastated, Riley sits on the beach as he breaks down, putting Oliver's ultrasound on the sand with his cell phone and launch key.
Weeks, possibly even months later, a depressed Riley, now with a beard, continues to camp out on the beach. Riley raises his gun to his head to commit suicide, but he is stopped by Teddy who tells him that "this ain't it, son. The end, this ain't it. Son, this is just the beginning." Riley stares at Teddy in confusion and interest.
Riley is seen working in a subterranean settlement called the Holding. A worker tells him that she's trying to see the walker the way Teddy sees it. Riley assures her she will eventually succeed. Riley and a crew of workers wait for new arrivals that a patrol saved above ground. The elevator doors open: It's Al, Alicia, Luciana, and Wes. Riley welcomes them to the Holding. Al quietly confirms with Wes that this is the place they were looking for. "The End is the Beginning," reads a message spray-painted on the wall.
Riley interrogates Alicia's group and records their conversations for his leader, Teddy. Alicia demands her weapon. Riley explains that no outsiders are allowed to carry weapons inside. Alicia tells Riley that her group had been scavenging when his patrol found them. Wes tells Riley that his group comes from a place that they plan never to return to. Alicia's group tries to question Riley about his community.
Riley takes Alicia's group on a tour of the Holding and explains that all living creatures eventually decompose into the earth. He reveals that his group is planning to close its doors forever, so that no one will need to go above ground again. Riley deflects questions from Alicia's group. He tells Alicia he has one question for her: "Can you see?" Riley takes Alicia to the walker in ivy and asks what she sees. Alicia says she sees a walker that needs to be killed. Riley says that Teddy will be able to guess what's troubling her.
Riley takes each member of Alicia's group to the displayed walker and asks what they see. Luciana says that Riley's question feels like a trick. Riley says that his group likes skeptics. Al asks Riley if everyone in the Holding must answer his question. Wes tells Riley he just sees a walker, then asks who painted the murals on the wall. He mentions that he used to be a painter, like his brother. Riley questions everyone about their siblings. Wes asks Riley why he's interested in his family. Riley says Teddy believes survival depends on family. Alicia tells Riley that her mother gave her life so that her group could live. Riley points out that her death was their beginning.
Alicia's group convenes and decides they must win over Teddy's trust. Riley announces that Teddy has returned to the Holding. Everyone gathers at the elevator. The doors open. A group steps out but Teddy is not among them. Wes recognizes one of the men as Derek, his brother. Derek joins them at the table but is urgently called away by Riley. Alicia's group escapes in the elevator with Derek. Alicia suspects that Derek is hiding something and refuses to take him back to their community. Riley captures Alicia's group as they exit the elevator.
Riley brings Alicia's group to an embalming room and threatens to kill and embalm them. He offers to spare their lives if they reveal Morgan's whereabouts. Wes realizes Derek betrayed them. Derek gets Riley's permission to try and show Wes the truth. After confronting Derek about his near-death experience in Tank Town, Wes fights his brother, resulting in Derek's death and Wes holds Riley at gunpoint. His group escapes into a room filled with embalmed walkers suspended from the ceiling. Alicia kills the walker and slashes its throat to release embalming fluid. She orders her group to flee then lights the embalming fluid with a match, setting the room and the rest of the Holding on fire.
Riley and his associate corner Alicia in the partially burned-out embalming room as charred bodies of Riley's other associates lay nearby. Alicia kills the associate with an embalming tool. Teddy joins them and tells Alicia that he wants to save her, even though she destroyed everything they've been working towards. Alicia says she doesn't need saving. Teddy reaches out his hand and explains that he's been looking for someone like her for a long time.
In Grace's dream, Riley and his gang show up outside and shoot at the building. Riley calls out for Morgan and says that Morgan has something they want. Morgan removes the headphones from Grace's head. Riley's gang finds Grace and Athena on the road. Riley tells Grace that she has something they want. He gets out a knife. Grace slashes him in the throat, killing him.
In reality, Riley's gang arrives at the barn. Riley demands the key that Morgan is wearing around his neck. He says the key will change everything and that he will leave Morgan alone once he has the key. Grace and Athena fight Riley's gang. Morgan kills Riley's gang until only Riley is left. He stabs Riley in the shoulder. Riley flees. Riley grabs Athena and slams her against a wall. He grabs the key from her neck.
In Grace's dream, Morgan stabs Riley and helps Grace up. Riley crashes a truck through the barn wall and holds them at gunpoint. He demands the key. Grace urges Morgan to hand over the key and says that the future lies in Athena, not the key. Morgan hands the key over and Riley takes his leave.
Riley enters the room and asks Alicia if she's ready to accept Teddy's word. She doesn't answer. Riley leaves and locks the door. Teddy's message plays repeatedly on the P.A., declaring that humans must break the pattern or they are doomed to repeat it. Riley and Teddy enter Alicia's room. Teddy tells Alicia they are leaving soon for their new home. He seeks Alicia's dedication to his cause. Riley aims his gun at Alicia and says she will never see the truth. Teddy declares that Alicia is coming with them. People found on the cult's scouting runs, including Dakota, are transported to the school as the cult prepares to leave.
Teddy informs Riley that he's tending to a personal matter and that if he doesn't rejoin the group by tomorrow, Riley knows what to do. He gives Riley the key that they obtained from Morgan. Later, Riley, Mike and a number of other cultists arrive in response to Teddy's earlier radio call for help. Alicia passes along a warning about the cult's plans to Strand before Riley takes the radio. Pleased with Alicia's actions and with Dakota sure that Strand will simply run away rather than pass on the warning, Teddy is convinced that Alicia is in fact the person he has been looking for and takes her with him.
The cult drives to the Franklin Hotel where the government had built a doomsday bunker in the 1950s which was forgotten about until Riley discovered it in an article talking about the resort's bankruptcy. Riley reveals that the bunker is much better than the Holding ever was. Riley confirms that everyone is inside and Teddy leaves Dakota behind with Mike while he leads Alicia inside.
Riley is first seen powering up the submarine from the control room alongside Teddy and Dakota. When questioned on his knowledge of the sub, Riley reveals that he once worked as a weapons officer on it. Later on, as Morgan and Strand near the entrance to the room, Riley and Teddy prepare the missiles for launch, both equipped with one of the two keys. As Morgan and Strand breach the room, Riley and Teddy successfully launch one of the missiles, equipped with several warheads, though are unable to shoot the rest. Riley is held at gunpoint by Strand, while Morgan demands that Teddy stops the missiles. Riley says to Morgan, "I told you it was inevitable!" as the missile exits the sub. Defeated, Morgan allows Riley and Teddy to leave.
Rollie arrives at the Texas Naval Base with Wes and a captive and beaten up Riley. Rollie reveals that Riley is willing to lead them to the bunker where Alicia is and where they can all ride it out. Charlie is surprised that Riley would tell them where to find the bunker, but Rollie states that "it's surprising what you can get a true believer to spill when you get them away from their leader." Daniel Salazar is dubious about trusting Riley, instead suggesting that they go to the coordinates that an unknown voice on the radio had given him to a safe location. With Daniel being unsure of having actually heard the voice, the group decides to let Riley lead them to the bunker instead.
On the road, a suspicious Daniel questions why Riley would tell them about the bunker now instead of remaining silent and dying for his cause. Damage from Rollie hitting a walker brings the SWAT van to a stop and Daniel continues his interrogation of Riley as Sarah works to repair the breaks and the others protect her from a herd. Daniel continues to press Riley for answers and he claims that he just wants to see Daniel's face when it all turns to ash. "I know you doubt us. You think we're -- we're all insane. But it's just the beginning. The phoenix will rise, and quicker than you think." Having had enough, Daniel leaves Charlie to watch Riley as he heads outside. When Rollie also mentions the phoenix moments later, Daniel realizes that Rollie is a cult spy and executes him on the spot. Riley attempts to attack Daniel and grab the gun, but Charlie shoots Riley through the back, mortally wounding him. Riley confirms that Daniel was right, explaining that Rollie had lost his faith following the events at the dam with Daniel causing everyone to turn on each other. As the missile separates in the atmosphere, Riley reveals that they were only leading the group to a place where they would have a prime view of the end. Now knowing the truth, the group decides to trust Daniel's coordinates instead and sets off.
The coordinates lead to a desolate stretch of road with no signs of anything helpful in any direction. Laughing, a near death Riley taunts the group that he'd told them that there was no escaping the coming destruction. Enraged, Daniel yanks Riley out of the SWAT van, but Wes stops him and checks Riley's pulse and discovers that Riley has succumbed to his wound and died. As a CRM helicopter arrives to rescue them, Wes spray paints the message "This Isn't The End" on the roadway, writing the word "End" on Riley's back.
As the helicopter takes off, Riley reanimates and wanders off towards a nearby nuclear explosion.
While searching for a better radio signal near her stranded SWAT van, Al encounters a zombified Riley who has, in the months since his death, had his face partially burned and all of the skin on his chest burned off. Al stabs Riley through the head, putting him down. Looking at the faded "END" still written on his back, Al quips "you're telling me."
- Killed By
- Charlie (Alive)
As Riley attempts to charge Daniel Salazar and take his gun, Charlie shoots him through the back to save Daniel, mortally wounding Riley. He later succumbs to his wound and is left to reanimate.
- Althea Szewczyk-Przygocki (Zombified)
After encountering the zombified Riley near her SWAT van, Al stabs Riley through the head and puts him down.
This list shows the victims Jason has killed:
- Friedman (Zombified)
- Bacon (Zombified)
- Park (Zombified)
- Arnold (Zombified)
- Renwick (Out of Mercy)
- Farley (Zombified)
- Randall Perez (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- Sullivan Daniels (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- Michael Jenkins (Caused, Alive)
- Mary Anne (Caused, Alive)
- Johnson (Zombified, Alongside Teddy, Dakota, and Cultist)
- Dakota (Caused, Alive)
- Acolyte (Caused)
- Emma (Caused, Alive)
- Rowan (Caused)
- Muhammad (Caused)
- Possibly many enemy combatants (Pre-Apocalypse)
- 13 unnamed funeral home survivors (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- 15 unnamed office workers (Caused, Alive)
- At least 30 unnamed Tank Town workers (Caused, Alive)
- 1 unnamed CRM soldier (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- Many unnamed captives (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- Many unnamed Texas survivors (Caused)
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed people (Caused and/or Direct)
|The Althea Tapes|
|Dead in the Water||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|✔||Appears||✔||Voice is heard|
|👁||Appears with no lines||✔||Appears in a flashback|
|✔||Appears as a walker||🖼||Appears in a photograph/video|
|✔||Appears as a corpse||✔||Appears in a hallucination/dream|
|✔||Appears||✔||Voice is heard|
|👁||Appears with no lines||✔||Appears in a flashback|
|✔||Appears as a walker||🖼||Appears in a photograph/video|
|✔||Appears as a corpse||✔||Appears in a hallucination/dream|
- In "In Dreams", Riley has two non-canon deaths, killed in Grace's dream state while alive by Grace and then zombified by Morgan.
- His zombified appearance marks the second time across the entire The Walking Dead franchise to feature talking zombies, albeit in a dream state.
- Riley is the first living character that Charlie has killed since Nicholas Clark.
- Riley's zombified state in "In Dreams" can be considered foreshadowing of his ultimate fate, including the fact that he was later put down.
- In Dead in the Water, his rank is given as Lieutenant.
- Riley is one of eight characters in the TV universe to have dropped an uncensored f-bomb.
|Language||Dubber||Other Characters Voiced|
|Czech||Petr Burian||Pete Dolgen|
Eugene Porter (10B)
|Spanish (Latin America)||José Gilberto Vilchis||N/A|
|Spanish (Spain)||Marc Zanni||N/A|