What happened to The Walking Dead’s storytelling? “Home Sweet Home” feels barren, like its tenants were already served their eviction notice and going through the motions.
This review of The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 17 “Home Sweet Home” contains very minor spoilers for context.
Gone are the days of finessed, multilayered characters like The Governor. Replaced with ‘insert’ gang of the day and long therapy dialogues that will have you checking your phone midway. There was a solid Predator homage though that unfortunately, vaporizes all too quickly.
The Walking Dead’s latest episode ‘Home Sweet Home’ is void of any pop or edge. Everything spirals into mediocrity after Maggie & Negan’s first 30 second stare-down, the episode’s only real high point.
It also pains me to say this as a long-time fan of Lauren Cohan’s acting work… The character of Maggie Greene has officially lost a step. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason.
Maybe it was when the series traded in any real character development for Maggie past being Glenn’s widow and thought a fancy new hat was enough. And I like the hat by the way.
The “Enough!” Maggie yells on “Home Sweet Home” is miles away from the unrelenting passion in those late TWD Season 6, early Season 7 scenes with Rick Grimes. There was real desperation there, real investment in giving yourself fully to being a vulnerable, pregnant Maggie Greene.
On “Home Sweet Home”, The Walking Dead has Maggie Greene recount what happened to her in conversation instead of show. Almost like you only get the Tell part of ‘Show and Tell’.
Sure, it’s probably a budget saver to have these 1-on-1 heart to heart conversations as opposed to a grand diorama of a flashback. But the formula for these sorrowful dialogues has been recycled to the point of exhaustion, to dilution.
One does not shed a tear when hearing these tales of woe anymore, it’s expected. Like meeting up with some schoolyard era friend still caught in limbo. You catch up over dinner and hear the same old stories and troubles from days gone by.
Instead of singularly focusing on reestablishing Maggie into the orchestra, picking up where we left off with Negan. Even giving us closure…
The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 17 once again focused on new characters to expand the universe. Like some toy line conglomerate. You’re simply expected to care about Maggie’s new pals, one of which won’t stop complaining under his breath all episode.
The viewer is expected to feel their pain when they’ve just met these characters and know next to nothing about them. Essentially, relying on Maggie’s halo over them to be enough. It just doesn’t work that way. It’s a good bet fans will feel more in the one second Maggie mentioned Beth Greene (‘Bethie’) out of nostalgia than hearing about the latest community in shambles.
At one point, Maggie has a few choice words to Kelly, although I won’t reveal why. Daryl Dixon goes out of his way to inform Maggie that Kelly’s sister is missing. It felt a lot like Daryl was breaking the fourth wall for casuals to be aware of what happened recently on The Walking Dead’s tenth season. The series didn’t used to have to utilize this method, the narrative spoke for itself.
You can already guess that this ‘sister’ revelation leads to the two semi-bonding in another deep dive conversation. Kelly’s line ‘I can tell you were the big sister because you’re so adept to being a leader’ to paraphrase is borderline cringeworthy. Too feel-good, sugary, and daytime soap opera for a show like The Walking Dead.
Social media will likely be ablaze at the prospect of potentially seeing Glenn and Maggie’s son but a curious visual is just a band aid. Instead of finally giving fans the Negan-Maggie showdown to finish all showdowns, it becomes clear it was just used as bait. No different than the much hyped Beta showdown that ended without any majestic undertaking.
“Home Sweet Home” is simply missing any oomph or ‘It’ Factor. It’s the kind of storyline you could see in dozens of shows, it doesn’t feel uniquely Walking Dead.
– Watch an extended trailer of The Walking Dead Season 10 right now.