TV review: The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 17 (Home Sweet Home)
4 / 5 ( 1 vote )
Written by Lizette
Tales of the Apocalypse
3/10 Rating 3.7/10
With The Walking Dead wrapping up with its 11th season, the producers felt that there was still lots of story to tell so have graciously given us six new episodes to tack on to the end of the 10th season. These stories are an opportunity to delve deeper into characters who may have relegated to the sidelines during last season, such as Ezekiel (Khary Payton) suffering from cancer. When the series knew that Andrew Lincoln would be leaving, the remaining episodes before his departure were tight, well-paced, dramatic and made the series almost the best it has ever been. With the same foresight and limited hours of time, these episodes should follow suit. Unfortunately, the first one falls far short of that.
After the return of Maggie (Lauren Cohen) in the now-no-longer Season 10 finale, Home Sweet Home fills us in a little on what she’s been up to as she, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Kelly (Angel Theory) go to fetch the rest of Maggie’s party and bring them to Alexandria. Instead of being a celebration of a returning character, this Maggie-centric episode opts for a more villain-of-the-week format as a hunter, who has already terrorized Maggie’s new comrades, returns.
Taking place mostly in woodland this creates some moments of tension and the main fight sequence is beautifully accentuated with a thrilling musical riff. However, this is not enough to save Home Sweet Home from being a dropped ball. Exposition in used throughout for each character to introduce themselves and explain their personal situation – which, this far into the apocalypse, is quite frankly all the same. Everyone has been through some trauma, everyone has lost someone they loved. What haven’t they all got in common? Well, not everyone has had to witness their husband brutally murdered in front of them with a baseball bat, sought revenge on said killer but instead of killing them in retaliation, be forced to have them imprisoned in their own community for them to serve justice, later finding out that that killer is once again walking free but this time on your side.
This should have been the focus of the episode, growing tension and emotions between two big personalities. Instead, all we get is an intense stare-down between the two as the show begins. To be fair, Maggie and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) did have a conclusion to their relationship before Maggie left the show and she thought he was no longer a threat or the person he used to be, so this may be seen as repeating itself. But Maggie left because she didn’t want to have to see him. It feels like a huge, missed opportunity.
The Walking Dead has failed to learn from its past mistakes. There is no emotion attached to this episode because we do not know who this new group of people are. Even knowing Maggie’s son may be in danger isn’t enough for us to care because we’ve never met him; the most intense battle sequence or the most anxious hunt is never going to create the drama that it needs to when all the characters are essentially red-shirts marked for death.
It is unfortunate that this is how The Walking Dead returns, not with fire but with smoke. The few gruesome special effects (which are always incredible) aren’t enough to help what almost equates to a talk show as everyone bares their soul. Maggie, who used to be so full of passion and emotion – remember the look on her face after she killed that walker back in the Season 3 opener? – has lost her gumption. Even the qualities that made her such a good leader seem to have been lost as she now makes rash decisions that once she may have thought longer on. The Walking Dead may be Home Sweet Home, but this episode is anything but.
Innards and entrails (spoilers)
The mysterious masked-man that caused much excitement when he was revealed with Maggie in the Season 10 finale is unveiled and… it’s just another disappointment to go with the rest of the episode. It is not a character we know (sorry, not Morgan returning again) or even a famous face. It’s just another scared survivor named Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari), who has to have a pep talk from Kelly during the hunt.
We learn that Maggie’s mentor, Georgie, left to go out west after they helped several communities in their survival. So, is this not the same Georgie who leads the Commonwealth that we may get to see more of shortly?
Maggie’s latest entourage were recently attacked by a group known as the ‘Reapers’ who destroy everything in their way. Just your average Walking Dead back guys, really. And they’re back, or someone is. But we never find out who this guy is. He manages to pick off a number of the red-shirts before finally Maggie and Daryl overpower him, but instead of talking he blows himself up and nobody else gets hurt despite being stood right by him. Really, quite ridiculous. If this groups is in any way associated to the wider Walking Dead world or will even return in these six episodes, we await to find out.
We meet Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller), briefly. Maggie even has him in a little Glenn cap. Maggie tells Daryl that Hershel asked what happened to his Daddy and Maggie told him that a bad man killed him. Continuing his line of questioning, Hershel wants to know if the bad man died. Now Hershel has a chance to meet that bad man as they’re going to be living together!
It’s an opportunity for Negan to bond with another child of a person he’s tried to kill, but it’s also a chance for Hershel to have his revenge. It is unlikely that Maggie will ever let Hershel near Negan willingly, but knowing how well Negan interacts with children, it would be wise for the show to go down this path…