In 2020, The Walking Dead he had two pandemics to deal with. The first, of course, was zombie virus, which has proven to be such an annoying problem for survivors (and ex-survivors) of the show over the past decade. Then there was covid-19, which the cast and crew of the show have been trying to navigate since last spring while making six “bonus” episodes for season 10. If tonight’s comeback is any indication, they were unevenly successful at best.
“Home Sweet Home” is a very strange episode of The Walking Dead, and if the coronavirus isn’t responsible for that, I just can’t imagine what it is. The episode is disjointed and aimless, with a shocking number of minutes devoted to people silently walking through the woods. Even the highly touted reunion between Maggie (Lauren Cohen) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who killed her husband Glenn (He still-Steven Yuen missed), is almost disconcertingly superficial when the episode begins. Maggie sees Negan and gapes at him angrily. Negan sees Maggie and looks uncomfortable. Maggie walks away. Negan says, correctly, “Oh shit.” And we’re finished, hopefully, with a bigger, more intense gathering planned for when the show gets its pandemic legs.
Cohen is the star of the episode, designated by a giant monologue which is half exposition (what he’s been doing during the time jump) and half exaggerated drama test piece. She explains to Daryl that she doesn’t have much to do other than search for her people, that they were on the run after their village was destroyed by a new group of villains who called themselves the Reapers or were called Reapers. Maggie was hoping to return to the Hilltop, but is sadly surprised when she discovers the Whisperers completely. burned it to the ground early in the season. Then, he has another sad surprise: he goes to get his people back, including his son Herschel, and discovers that the place where they were staying has been burned, with everyone scattered throughout the forest.
Maggie’s New People They include Cole (James Devoti) and Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari), aka the scythe-masked guy who appeared last episode to save Aaron and Alden (who are notoriously absent, but, you know, covid). Cole is arrogant when it comes to killing zombies and extremely nervous when it comes to Reapers, who he is sure have followed them from their village. Elijah, who is a kicking wrestler, removes his mask to reveal a very nervous boy underneath. Maggie, with the help of Daryl and Kelly, manages to locate some of her people, many of whom Almost immediately he dies courtesy of the aforementioned Reaper and his sniper rifle.
The Reaper is weird too, but in the traditionally ridiculous Living Dead villain’s path. He is portrayed as an invisible killer, a consummate hunter, a guy who can completely ignore knife and arrow wounds, and who can throw Daryl like a rag doll. He’s dressed in a really fun amount of camo clothing that is so thick that it looks just like Marvel. Man thing. When he’s finally caught, instead of answering Maggie’s questions, he pulls a pin from a grenade in his pocket, showering everyone in blood. (All were standing Really close to that grenade, right? Too close to be completely unscathed but still drenched in blood?)
It’s impossible to know if this guy is really representative of the Reapers and they’re a group that tracks people down and kills them for sport, or if he’s an especially murderous freak, but after the wonderful nonsense of the Whisperers, I hope they do. . They’re not just deadly nihilists, which would be pretty boring. I mean, say what you want about whisper principles, buddy, but at least it’s an ethos.
With that settled, it’s time to finally find Maggie’s son, Herschel, who is hanging out in a surprisingly tall tree carefree in the post-apocalyptic world. Herschel is adorable, from his baseball cap, a tribute to his father Glenn, who was wearing one when he was introduced in season one, to his little slippers. How much will Judith get a run for her money in the cuteness department remains to be seen, but if The Walking Dead takes another big leap, I think it is absolutely inevitable that they end up becoming the most important power couple in Alexandria.
The real question is whether the other five episodes of season 10 are going to be as forced as “Home Sweet Home” or if the show’s production was able to return to some sense of normalcy. Given that filming had to be stopped multiple times last year, I guess it will be the first. Of all the many times The Walking Dead has given us shit, I just don’t dare to sustain the episode’s troubles, at least for now.
- Did something happen to Maggie’s accent during the timeskip? I feel like Cohen’s accent might have risen up to “CORAL!” levels during your stay outside of the show.
- Man, that part of Maggie’s speech where she talks about how Herschel asks if the man who killed her father paid for it with his life was just … terrible. But I’m going to assume that the coronavirus forced the writers to do some very quick rewrites to create scenes that they could film safely.
- Someone else thinks of Herschel’s cheery “Hi Mom” had a whiff of “Now is it’s podracing! “cloying about it?
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