Aaand we’re back! The Walking Dead has returned to our screens with six bonus episodes to tee up the show’s 11th and final season (which, real life pandemic-permitting, kicks off later this year). The Whisperers have been defeated, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is back and our battle-hardened band of survivors are starting afresh once again. Anything could happen in this half-dozen block of adventures (apart from finding a cure for the zombie apocalypse, probably). Here’s what went down in The Walking Dead season 10 episode 17, ‘Home Sweet Home’.
What happened in The Walking Dead this week?
The key action:
- Maggie wastes no time after a season away. Whether she’s facing off with sometimes-good-sometimes-bad Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) or just trying not to lose her young son Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller), Maggie’s actions this week make it clear she’ll be a key figure going forward.
- After learning that the Hilltop colony is no more, Maggie leads Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride) and Kelly (Angel Theory) to her group’s camp. This being The Walking Dead, though, there’s trouble afoot. Their outpost has been reduced to a heap of burning rubble and Maggie’s friends slaughtered by the ‘Reapers’. Later, this new enemy are described as “people-hunters”. Charming!
- A tense stand-off with one of the ‘Reapers’ ensues, with three of Maggie’s pals getting the chop before she and Daryl can subdue him. Armed to the teeth and dressed in full camo gear, the man refuses to confirm he’s “one of them” or say much else (he does cryptically state “Pope marked you”, which doesn’t sit well with Maggie) before pulling the pin on a grenade and blowing himself up. Out with a bang, at least…
- Little Hershel emerges unscathed from the attack and he, Maggie and the rest of the gang set a course for Alexandria’s safe zone. “I’ll deal with Negan if I have to,” Maggie says, not best pleased that her husband Glenn’s murderer (season seven) is now firmly ensconced with the Survivors.
And the rest…
- We learn a bit about where Maggie’s been since she absconded in season nine with fellow survivor Georgie’s group: “I left home because I couldn’t have Negan taking up any more space in my head.” Unfortunately, the apocalypse isn’t any more bearable out in the wide world, and her new life eventually went “sideways”. Georgie headed to “a city out west” with the two mysterious sunglasses-wearing twins we met back in season eight – and Maggie hasn’t seen her since.
- After a Hilltop-like survivors’ settlement in Knoxville fell, Maggie and Hershel left to hide out at her grandmother’s place “by the ocean… [where] there were hardly any walkers”. Then she found her latest community of survivors “who needed us like we needed them”.
- Kelly, meanwhile, continues her search for long-lost sister Connie (Lauren Ridloff), who we know actually survived the cave collapse that has caused her to be missing from the series since last February’s ‘Squeeze’. Their reunion is surely imminent – island-dweller Virgil (Kevin Carroll) stumbled upon Connie in season 10b finale ‘A Certain Doom’ after she collapsed in Oceanside.
- There’s also a very fitting cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘You Want It Darker’ which plays out as Maggie returns to Alexandria in the final scene – credit to Melbourne artist Anita Lester for her atmospheric rendition.
Any new faces?
While we briefly met them in ‘A Certain Doom’, ‘Home Sweet Home’ properly introduces us to Maggie’s two new compadres. There’s the gruff, distrusting Cole (James Devoti) and masked warrior-type Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari), who takes off his scary hockey mask in one rather touching scene with Kelly to shed some tears. “He’s been through a lot,” Maggie tells Kelly later.
Goriest walker kill of the week
Mega-heavy container doors and decaying zombie skulls are not a good mix. One walker was put out of its misery this week by Daryl, Maggie and Elijah pushing with all their collective might against said container door to prevent a zombie overspill. As a result, the walker’s skull was squished into a thousand tiny, bloody pieces.
This week’s biggest question: how will Maggie and Negan get along?
“I told [Hershel] that a bad man killed [Glenn],” Maggie confide to Daryl during the episode. “He wanted to know if that man got what he deserved. He wanted to know if that man is dead.” Negan, of course, is very not-dead – and both Hershel and his mum will have to learn to live with him during their stay at Alexandria. But how will that go down? Are we set for a climactic fight down the line?