"Rendition" is the fourth episode of the eleventh season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the one-hundred and fifty-seventh episode of the series overall. It premiered on September 12, 2021. It was written by Nicole Mirante-Matthews and directed by Frederick E.O. Toye.
Separated from the group, Daryl sneaks around an abandoned building. After distracting a Reaper with a thrown rock, he slithers away into the woods, but is soon attacked by another Reaper. Daryl struggles against the Reaper until Dog assists him by biting the attacker. Dog is quickly tossed aside, but is able to escape. Two more Reapers arrive to the scene. When one tries to attack Daryl, however, another prevents him from doing so. This gives Daryl enough time to escape after throwing a knife at the Reapers. In the morning, Daryl guts a walker to cover his smell, and then sets off to search for Dog. One of the Reapers from earlier is searching for Daryl, but discovers Dog instead. Daryl hears Dog barking in the distance and rushes towards the noise, but finds him sitting at the feet of the Reaper who was tracking him. Daryl orders the Reaper to release his pet, at which point the Reaper takes her mask off and reveals herself to be Leah. She is surprised to see Daryl again, and asks if he is alone. When Daryl confirms he is, Leah says that she saw him on the road with the others. She asks Daryl about them, this time holding him at gunpoint. Daryl claims this was a group he met on the road, but insists he isn't one of them. He attempts to deescalate the situation by leaving, and calls Dog back to him. When Dog doesn't go to him, Leah jokes that she always thought Dog liked Daryl better. Daryl says that, whatever the Reapers' problem is with the group, he's not a part of it. He tries to leave again, but is soon flanked by the two Reapers from earlier.
Daryl is captured and taken to Meridian with a bag over his head. He is taken into a shack and left alone with Leah. Daryl lets Leah know he did, in fact, come back and looked everywhere for her, adding that he is sorry she ended up with the Reapers. Leah asserts that the Reapers are her family. They, Leah says, never stopped looking for her and, when they found her, she came home. Leah than asks if the people on the road were Daryl's family, but he claims his people were wiped out in a conflict with another group, and insists he is alone. Considering Daryl's claims, she decides to clean him, but then smothers him with a rag until he is unconscious. When he wakes up, Daryl is waterboarded by two Reapers under Leah's supervision. One of the Reapers, Carver, interrogates Daryl about the others, but Daryl sticks to his story and claims he doesn't know. Eventually, Leah decides to stop the interrogation, despite Carver's protests. Leah implores Daryl to talk, as their leader won't be so nice when he interrogates him. Daryl clarifies that he merely traded with the group by transporting their supplies in exchange for food, and claims he knew the group for less than a week. Leah, however, doesn't believe him, and Daryl is taken back to his cell.
After a brief nap, Daryl wakes up to find Frost has also been captured, and is imprisoned in the cell next to him. Frost tries to converse with him, but Daryl shoots him down, pretending not to know or care about him or his friends. Picking up on the ruse, Frost likewise pretends to be hurt by Daryl's words, and tells him that they should have let him starve. Frost is then taken away to be interrogated. Sometime later, Leah visits Daryl and chastises him for being stubborn and lying. Daryl swears he has never lied to her, and that he is not about to start. Leah again asks him about the group, but Daryl maintains he doesn't know anything about them, and insists that he'd help her if he could. He asks to be released along with Dog, and promises that she'll never see him again. Leah asks if that's what he wants, but their conversation is interrupted by a pair of Reapers dragging a badly-beaten Frost to his cell. When Leah inquires what the commotion is about, Carver informs her they found Bossie. When Leah asks about Turner, Carver takes her down the hall, where she witnesses Bossie weeping over his failure to save Turner. Nearby, Turner lies dead, with Mancea preforming a sermon for him. Saddened, Leah preforms a small prayer for Turner. Clearly distraught, Pope proclaims that God is angry and so is he, and orders the Reapers to make the group they're hunting "feel their wrath."
Leah goes back to Daryl's cell and tells him that one of her brothers is dead. Michael Turner, she professes, was like the little brother she never had, and this was the first time she lost someone close to her since she lost Daryl. Daryl interjects that she didn't lose him, as he did come back for her, but she was gone. Leah protests that Daryl is the one who left in the first place, to which he admits that he was scared of letting go. After sitting in silence for a moment, Leah asserts that it doesn't matter, as their relationship wouldn't have worked out anyway in a world like this. Daryl wonders if this is her opinion or her family's. Leah snaps that Daryl has no right to judge them based on the things he has done himself, and claims that this is, and always was, who she really is. Daryl, however, doesn't believe her. Leah says that she can help Daryl save himself, and maintains she still cares about him despite everything. This is why, she warns, he needs to tell her something, or she won't be able to control what Pope will do, as her commander is angry about Turner and wants someone to pay. Finally, Daryl admits that the group was led by a "woman," with her lieutenants being "a tall, skinny guy who never shuts up" and a "priest who carries a shotgun." He also warns Leah that the group outnumbers the Reapers, with at least three dozen fighters. Grateful for the information, Leah promises to get Daryl out of his cell. Before she leaves, Daryl asks when he gets to meet Pope, to which Leah assures him it will be soon.
Leah goes to see Pope and conveys what Daryl told her. Furthermore, she suggests they recruit Daryl. She is frustrated when Pope ignores her, and demands a response. Pope calmly replies that not everything is about her, and blames her for losing a day of tracking so Leah could interrogate her "old boyfriend." After a moment of silence, Pope asks Leah about Daryl, to which she says that Daryl would be a good fit for their group due to being fearless. Pope, however, is skeptical, and thinks Daryl just wants to be with Leah. He then wonders why Leah didn't kill Daryl when she had the chance. Leah confesses that Daryl meant something to her at one point, but claims she severed all ties when she rejoined the Reapers, and doesn't regret her decision. Pope confides that he trusts Leah more than any of the other Reapers, and asks if she thinks they can trust Daryl. When she says yes, Pope is pleased, intends on finding out for himself.
Daryl is taken to the cabin he was tortured in earlier. The other Reapers taunt him until Leah arrives. When the others leave, Leah unties Daryl and says that Pope is on his way, and instructs Daryl to follow her lead. Hearing a thump on the other side of the door, Leah goes to open it, but finds it locked. She then notices liquid leaking from underneath the door, and jumps away just as it is set on fire. With the cabin in flames, Leah and Daryl scramble to find a way out. Leah is soon incapacitated by the smoke, leaving Daryl to find something to pry the windows open. Leah finds the waterboarding table, which Daryl then breaks and uses one of the legs to pry the bars off the windows. He helps Leah climb out, before evacuating himself. Outside, they find that Pope and the other Reapers watching them. Daryl is deemed "forged by fire, ordained by God" by Pope, who welcomes him into their ranks.
In a private meeting, Pope asks Daryl if he believes in God. When Daryl admits that he doesn't, Pope is disappointed. Confused, Daryl points out that he passed their test, but Pope reveals the test isn't over. When asked what more he wants from him, Pope simply tells Daryl he wants him to understand. Over a drink and a cigarette, Pope explains the backstory of his group. The Reapers started out as a military unit serving in Afghanistan, where they saw a great number of their comrades killed. Despite their sacrifice, the politicians didn't really care about them, and just used them as props. In those dark days, the soldiers didn't have much to hold onto but God and each other. After returning home, many Reapers found it difficult to reintegrate into society. Ultimately, Pope formed a mercenary group comprised of his old unit, and they served all over the world. During the Fall, Pope witnessed such carnage that his faith in God started to waver, just like Daryl's. When the military bombed the cities, the Reapers survived by holding up in a small church, as everything around them burned. Despite their perilous situation, none of the Reapers were even injured. It was then that Pope came to believe the Reapers were chosen by God to survive. He compares this situation to Daryl making it out of the fire unscathed, claiming that God chose Daryl tonight as well.
Pope brings Daryl to a bonfire where the Reapers are eating dinner, and orders Bossie to give Daryl some food. Pope then praises Bossie for carrying his fallen comrade for ten miles on his back, to which Bossie exclaims that he just did what any of them would have done. After inquiring about Bossie's wounds, Pope notes that the wounds are on his back. Despite Leah trying to calm him, Pope once again asks where Bossie was when Turner was being attacked. Petrified, Bossie claims he was there, facing the enemy. Acknowledging this, Pope tells Daryl that it's human nature to run when scared, and that it takes divine strength to risk everything for someone else. Pope commends Daryl got Leah out of the fire first, proclaiming that God baptized him in that fire. However, Pope warns Daryl that there is one rule he forgot to tell him: never turn your back on your brother. Pope then adds that God doesn't just use fire as His baptism, but also His wrath. With this, he throws Bossie into the bonfire and burns him to death for his perceived betrayal. Pope proclaims that the Reapers always run into the fire and towards the enemy.
- Michael Shenefelt as Bossie
- Eric LeBlanc as Powell
- Robert Hayes as Paul Wells
- Ethan McDowell as Washington
- Dane Davenport as Ancheta
- Zac Zedalis as Boone
- Lex Lauletta as Austin
- Seven as Dog
- C. Thomas Howell as Roy
- Marcus Lewis as Duncan (Voice Only)
- Unknown as Michael Turner
- Unknown as Reaper 1
- Unknown as Reaper 2
- First appearance of Brandon Carver.
- First appearance of Pope.
- First appearance of Mancea.
- First appearance of Meridian.
- Last appearance of Duncan. (Voice Only)
- Last appearance of Roy. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Agatha. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Michael Turner. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Bossie.
- Bossie died in the same way that Emmett Carson died, being burned alive in a fire pit by their leader after a perceived betrayal.
- The title of the episode, "Rendition", may refer to Pope's interpretation of God and carrying out His will.
- The word "rendition" is also used to describe the extradition of foreign prisoners to another country, typically one where fewer human rights apply, specifically so they can be interrogated. This may be a reference to Daryl getting waterboarded by the Reapers.
- This episode was made available for streaming to subscribers of AMC Premiere on September 5, 2021.
- Starting with this episode, Lynn Collins (Leah Shaw) is credited as a series regular. She is listed under "Also Starring".
- This is the eighth episode to feature only two main cast members, after "Still", "The Grove", "Slabtown", "The Well", "Bury Me Here", "Find Me" and "One More".
- Several promo photos released by AMC for the episode incorrectly credit Wells where Powell appears instead.
- Daryl once again uses the walker guts trick first discovered in "Guts" while on the run from the Reapers, presumably to avoid the attention of any walkers that he might run across.
- Leah's last name is revealed to be Shaw.
- Daryl confirms in this episode that he is not religious, although he was at one point.
- This episode features no on-screen walker deaths, only an off-screen kill by Daryl confirmed through him using its guts to disguise himself.
- Pope and Leah have matching tattoos. The tattoo on Pope's left forearm matches the one that Leah has on her right shoulder, which was originally featured in the episode when she and Daryl first meet.
- Agatha's corpse is strung up at the entrance to the Meridian, despite the fact that she was devoured by walkers in the previous episode. Furthermore, the corpse displayed is almost intact, but would certainly be badly mangled even if the Reapers were somehow able to recover it.