Bonus First Episode Brings Maggie Home


Lauren Cohan as Maggie on The Walking Dead

Lauren Cohan as Maggie on The Walking Dead
Photo: Eli Ade / AMC

TV ReviewsAll our TV reviews in one place.

Episode 17 of season 10 of The Walking Dead does not play shyly with the purpose of its existence. Right from the start, the first thing we see is Maggie Rhee, back at the Hilltop, the place where she ran for several years, accompanied by Judith Grimes. Maggie’s return dictates not only the arc of this episode, but sets up what appears to be the next big threat to our heroes, and potentially the last true villains they’ll face, given how close we are to the final season and finale of the series. Yes, to the list of threats dubbed the Wolves, the Saviors, and the Whisperers, we can add one more group of antagonists that still breathe: the Reapers. Maybe Maggie’s homecoming wasn’t so welcome after all.

It was an especially unpleasant appearance if you’re not a fan of watching Lauren Cohan walk in slow motion, because boy, did they hit that visual button repeatedly throughout “Home Sweet Home.” Admittedly, it was important to give some weight to the return of the longest-running character on the show outside of Carol and Daryl, and overall the episode did a good job of making Maggie’s reintroduction feel won and deliberate, giving it a heart-to-heart nice to Daryl and even an unexpected sorority bond with Kelly. (Although the latter may have been as much to the benefit of the viewer when it came to knowing who Kelly was and where she was, given how little we saw of her last season, especially in the later half.) Maggie’s story was predictable: she and her son Herschel traveled, lost contact with Georgia, and finally ended up with a nice community before an attack forced them back this way, along with new friends Cole and Elijah; However, her meeting with Daryl was undeniably moving, as was her realization that Carol was the one responsible for Negan’s freedom, which made for an icy exchange. But while the relentless pace of his march away from the Hilltop was a good way to signify how he took the destruction of his former home as a punch to the stomach, it also led us to the next danger terrifyingly soon, one that came in a shower of bullets.

If anything, the episode stumbled by rushing to reintroduce a new threat so quickly, rather than giving us a chance to reenter this world and take stock of where everyone left off. The Walking Dead It often gives the impression that it is unsafe to go too long without putting our heroes in danger in the forest against a garden variety human threat, and this was the most recent evidence that the show is still afraid to take risks, even when you’re given an additional six episodes to essentially do whatever you want. I was hoping to experiment a little more; instead, the introduction of Reaper actually had the unintended effect of making this feel more like a standard episode; We could have used a little more than “just hanging out” with these people. Especially when the Reapers, so far, basically look like a militarized version of the Saviors, or whatever other dangerous group we’ve encountered.

Illustration for the article titled The Walking Dead welcomes Maggie with her first bonus episode of season 10

Photo: Eli Ade / AMC

Speaking of awkward introductions, the show decided to quickly undermine what could have been an intriguing new character. Don’t get me wrong: I kind of admire the decision to take the masked question mark, Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari), and immediately reveal that he is nothing more than a scared young man, hiding his trauma and fears behind his suit. mysterious. And there’s some potential to explore what sent the guy down this road, in the same way that the show decided to contain any disastrous encounters with the Reapers that sent Maggie and her few remaining companions back to Alexandria in the first place. But it turned out uneven and jarring: all of a sudden the character we’ve seen does nothing but kick butt without blinking (metaphorically) too scared to move and needs a pep talk from Kelly? (A pretty bad pep talk, too). It’s not that it doesn’t necessarily track the character; it’s that we don’t know it at all, much less well enough to be meaningful in a real way. The series will have to spend some time shedding its protective layers before any of that means much.

Part of what made the episode a bit lackluster is that it’s all based on a question we already know the answer to: “Are you coming home Maggie?”, So structuring it as if the outcome was in doubt did. that some scenes felt more like floating on water than necessary. Especially when there are so many rich things to play with: Maggie’s understanding that Negan is free and part of the community, the arc of her journey that brought her back here, the friction with Carol … it’s all promising. At the very least, Maggie’s return is a good reminder of just how full of character studies the series could be after 10 seasons. We hope the remaining bonus episodes will do a little more with the freedom you have to experiment.

Illustration for the article titled The Walking Dead welcomes Maggie with her first bonus episode of season 10

Photo: Eli Ade / AMC

I will say that one of the most interesting aspects of “Home Sweet Home” was seeing how The Walking Dead dealt with the new COVID-19 reality. When these additional episodes were first announced, showrunner Angela Kang acknowledged that the large zombie horde-filled sequences that the series is known for are simply not feasible at a time when people need to be six feet apart. And apart from speaking roles, everyone seemed to be keeping their distance; When Maggie and company enter the parking lot to clean up a group of walkers, episode director David Boyd’s orchestration managed to cleverly hint at groups of the undead without showing them, through the use of shadows, ajar container doors, etc. It was an ingenious, low-budget solution to what will undoubtedly be a pressing problem for the program until everyone is vaccinated.

Missed observations

  • Negan’s “Well shit” after Maggie passed him in the pre-credits sequence was perhaps the best possible way to reintroduce her to everything that happened in his absence.
  • I liked the way the Reaper was essentially portrayed as a horror movie villain, first showing his wide eyes hidden in the undergrowth and then marching him off like a camouflaged Jason Voorhees, knocking Maggie down and throwing Daryl into a tree.
  • Confession Time: I rewound it a good half dozen times and could never understand what the last words of Mr. Military Reaper Guy were. Sounds like, “Pope’s ball chip”? Commenters, any information would be appreciated.
  • Elijah must constantly be on the verge of passing out from heatstroke in that outfit, right?
  • The last song that plays when they approach Alexandria is “You want it darker”From Anita Lester.

.

Source link