The Walking Dead season 10, episode 17 recap – “Home Sweet Home” old face, new problem

February 22, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

Maggie returns in “Home Sweet Home” and brings a new problem with her in the form of a mysterious force known as the Reapers.

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3.5

Summary

Maggie returns in “Home Sweet Home” and brings a new problem with her in the form of a mysterious force known as the Reapers.

This recap of The Walking Dead season 10, episode 17, “Home Sweet Home”, contains spoilers.


It has been a while since The Walking Dead’s Season 10B finale, and that’s usually where things end. But the powers that be over at AMC have elected to bless us with six bonus tenth-season episodes, the first of which, “Home Sweet Home”, was released on AMC+ on Sunday, February 21, a full week ahead of its cable debut. A lot is asked of this 10C premiere, including handling the fallout of the Whisperer War, reintroducing Lauren Cohan’s Maggie, who has been absent since the show’s time skip, and suggesting where things might be heading in the near future – and that includes a new set of bad guys.

Because of all these obligations, The Walking Dead season 10, episode 17 can sometimes feel as if it’s being pulled this way and that, with a lot of slightly ungainly exposition on everyone’s lips every time they take a breather. In that sense, it’s smart to trim out any potential subplots and keep things focused on a small clutch of characters, with Maggie herself primary among them. After a brief opening in which Maggie catches sight of Negan for the first time, she spends the rest of the episode with Daryl, Kelly, and her two allies Cole (James Devoti) and Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari), looking for clues about who burned down her group’s latest settlement.

When Maggie fills Daryl (and thus the audience) in on her absence, it hardly seems worth the effort. She and her son, Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller), have been schlepping about various communities. She has become a natural leader and has several loyal followers, most of whom we don’t see. It’s strongly implied that the various communities she has “helped” have all gone slightly pear-shaped, and she’s suitably appalled to see Negan free and chilling with his fellow Alexandrians. When she finally returns there at the end of “Home Sweet Home”, the lingering camerawork suggests that this conflict is not just going to disappear, which is a shame since, narratively speaking, we seem so far removed from it. We have done Negan’s redemption arc already!

More interesting than what Maggie left behind is what she brings with her, in the form of both allies and enemies. Her compatriot Elijah, who wears a fearsome mask, is of particular interest and is a good excuse for Kelly to become slightly distracted from her fervent though thus far unsuccessful search for her sister, Connie (Lauren Ridloff is off filming Marvel’s Eternals). Elijah wears the mask because he’s also dealing with the loss of a sister and is, frankly, terrified of all the zombie shenanigans. It’s easier to wear something that strikes fear in others, rather than reveal his own, which is a cool angle.

On the villain front, there are brief mentions of the Reapers, whom Maggie and Cole believe torched their home base and have been stalking them since. This allows for some enjoyable action in “Home Sweet Home”, as the groups split up to search for survivors and end up falling afoul of a well-armed sniper who would rather blow himself up with a grenade than give anything away. His camouflage and tactical gear suggest a much better-equipped force than the Whisperers were, and thus a different kind of problem. Is this just a time-killing bunch of antagonists to give these bonus episodes an excuse for bloodshed? Are the Reapers associated with – possibly an offshoot of – the Civic Republic Military, last seen being all nefarious in The Walking Dead: World Beyond? Since we’re building towards the final season, and the big blowout culmination of the comics involves the Commonwealth, are the Reapers somehow related to that?

It’s hard to say at this point, though despite the Reapers not appearing in the comics, you have to imagine they have something to do with the show’s macro plotting, otherwise what would be the point? And all the military hardware and tactics can’t be a coincidence. I suppose you never know with this show. Either way, The Walking Dead season 10, episode 17 returns with plenty of compelling questions attached to it, and one has to hope that they get meaningful answers lest these bonus episodes descend into time-wasting filler territory ahead of the Season 11 main event.

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