Daryl Killed Off The Walking Dead’s Worst Character – and It Was Personal

The following contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 16, "Acts of God," which aired Sunday, April 10 on AMC.

The Walking Dead has had its fair share of unlikable characters. All Lori Grimes ever did was treat Rick badly and worry about Carl. Ron Anderson was another one; he shot Carl for no reason. Then there was Gregory -- the narcissistic leader of Hilltop, who decided to betray his people and try to kill Maggie. Season 11’s worst character was definitely Leah. Luckily, though, she was killed off in the midseason finale, proving that her character's potential was completely wasted.

Leah first showed up in Season 10C, as a love interest for Daryl. That concept was revolutionary for Daryl’s character, and fans didn’t hate the idea. However, by the end of their episode, the two of them had split up, seemingly for good -- until Season 11. In Season 11A, Leah reappeared as one of the Reapers. When they attacked, Daryl only survived because of Leah, and he spent the rest of 11A trying to feign allegiance to Pope’s religiously fanatic group.

While 11A’s Commonwealth arc was interesting (even if their soldiers were a bit on the Stormtrooper side), the Reaper arc was pretty much a waste of time. Though it did help develop Maggie’s character, the storyline didn’t further the series’ plot in any way, and fans had had enough by the end of 11A. However, when 11B rolled around, The Walking Dead didn’t end the arc: Daryl let Leah live. It was immediately clear that that decision was going to come back to bite him, and sure enough, as last week’s episode ended, it did.

In "Acts of God," Lance Hornsby hired Leah as a bounty hunter and instructed her to kill Maggie. By the end of the episode, Leah had Maggie tied to a chair and could have killed her; however, Maggie stalled long enough to escape. The two of them fought until Daryl showed up to shoot Leah in the back of the head, moments before she would have fatally stabbed Maggie. But Leah's death wasn't mourned because her character never really worked. She was at her best when she was with Daryl at the cabin in the woods, but the series made them fight and pushed them apart. Everything after the cabin was redundant and unnecessary, and didn’t develop Daryl’s character at all.

Walking Dead Maggie and Leah

For that matter, Leah never really came off as the military expert that her character was supposed to be. "Acts of God" made that problem even worse. She was a mercenary whose contract was to kill Maggie -- so she should have killed Maggie, not taken her somewhere, tied her up and waited for her to wake up. Revenge may be sweet, but finishing the job should have been more important. Her military expertise should have also meant that she could tie a secure knot; yet Maggie freed herself after 20 seconds of trying to escape.

But the most obvious flaw in Leah's final episode was that her emotional connection was to Daryl. The two of them should have had some kind of moment, or at least made eye contact, before Daryl killed her. But he dispatched her without a second thought, and her death did nothing to him emotionally. Despite actress Lynn Collins' best efforts, Leah was never the character she could have been, either as a love interest for Daryl or an adversary to Maggie, so it's for the best that she won't be making another appearance.

To see how the series concludes, watch The Walking Dead Season 11C. It will likely air later this year on AMC and be available to stream early on AMC+.

Walking Dead Daryl and Mercer Header
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