Don’t fear the Reapers…
The episode begins with Judith sharing a story with Maggie. Last night, she took RJ to the roof to show him the stars. She told him that, at that same time, their mother was looking at the same stars as them. Maggie said the same to Hershel.
They catch up with another group that’s headed elsewhere. Who is seeing them off? Negan. Maggie looks disgusted to see him- though I can’t imagine this is their first encounter since last time. Negan assures Maggie that he didn’t escape, if that’s what she’s thinking. Maggie, however, doesn’t respond. She just walks off.
Elsewhere in the woods, Daryl and Carol talk about their upcoming spin-off. I mean, Carol informs Daryl that Gabriel and Rosita left with the first group. Oceanside will take to their community, with Luke gathering up about a dozen.
The two are joined by Maggie, as well as two of her new friends: the masked man from before, Elijah, played by Okea Eme-Akwari, and Cole, played by James Devoti. Maggie and Hershel lived with their people until recently. But that community is lost, so Maggie’s thinking about bringing the two to Hilltop.
Yeah, about that…
Daryl and Carol show Maggie the smoldering remains of Hilltop. Carol informs Maggie that Negan was with the Whisperers during this attack. From this, Maggie somehow puts it together that Carol was the one who freed Negan. In Carol’s defense, Negan was their best bet to take down Alpha. With Hilltop in ruin, the next option is Alexandria.
Cole isn’t a fan of living in the same place as Negan. But people are still figuring things out. Plus, not like there’s a better option. As Maggie leaves, Carol tells Daryl that she owed it to Maggie to be honest about Negan. Daryl will go with Maggie to try and smooth out things, though Carol knows that Maggie will never come around on Negan.
In the woods, Kelly super-speeds in front of Daryl and asks to accompany him in picking up Maggie’s people. It would help in the never-ending search for Connie, after all.
They catch up with Maggie, Cole, and Elijah. Cole proposes at a nearby spot for shelter before it gets dark. Maggie, though, insists that they keep going. They finally stop at a parking lot. Daryl suggests heading higher up into the woods, but Maggie counters that they will sleep better in some shelter. Okay. Just need to clear out some walkers, first.
No problem. They run into a challenging when trying to seal a shipping container door shut. Though Maggie gets a cut on her arm in the process, they seal the door, squishing one walker’s head while doing so.
As night falls, Daryl joins Maggie, who is tending to her wound. He’s glad to have her back, as he thought she left for good when she stopped sending letters. As for Maggie, Georgie had a lot of good ideas. With things going so well at Hilltop, the idea of doing that for others felt good. So Maggie would find groups and do what they could. Things would always go sideways.
As for Georgie, Maggie has no idea where she is. A few summers ago, they were in a spot near Knoxville with a group they’d taught how to live. Georgie found out about a city out west, so she and the twins went to check it out. Maggie stayed with Hershel, but the place fell not long after that. Maggie ran, and she hasn’t seen Georgie since. As for the rest of Maggie’s group and their village, she doesn’t want to talk about that yet.
She’s fine opening up about a bit, but not everything. She confesses that she almost came home after Knoxville. Maybe she should’ve, but she didn’t because her group took a detour. Her nana had a spot by the ocean. After Beth died, Maggie and Glenn talked about going there for awhile, but never did. Obviously. Still, Hershel loved seeing the waves crash against the rocks. It was a peaceful sight with barely any walkers.
One night, the two stayed up late, with Maggie telling Hershel about his family. Soon enough, Hershel asked how his father died. Maggie knew that was coming, so she told Hershel that a bad man killed him. Hershel wanted to know if that man got what he deserved. Maggie left home because she couldn’t have Negan living rent free in her head anymore. She didn’t want to bring Hershel back to that.
The next morning, they encountered a community that needed Maggie as much as Maggie needed them. It felt like it was meant to be, but now that’s over, too. Daryl offers Maggie an opportunity to go home, as it’s not yet decided what to do with Negan. Maggie knows that Carol did what she felt she had to, as far as freeing Negan.
The next day, everyone is present and accounted for, except Kelly. Why? Because she’s out looking for Connie and happens upon an abandoned truck. Before she can check the roof, she’s surprised by Maggie, who admonishes her for leaving her post. Daryl informs Maggie that Kelly’s sister is missing. She’s got company in that regard, as Elijah has lost his sister. Still, Kelly just had to check.
Maggie acknowledges that even if they find Connie, they may not be able to bring her back. The five spot smoke in the distance and rush towards it. Cole immediately realizes that “they” have found them.
They rush towards the now burned out area, with Cole acknowledging that yes, they’ve been followed. Despite their best efforts to cover their tracks, “they” have found them and killed two of their people. “They,” as it turns out, refers to a group called the Reapers. These people are the ones who attacked Maggie’s home and wiped out everything in their path. Sounds like the Wolves, am I right?
Anyway, Maggie’s focused now on finding Hershel and the rest of their people.
Daryl notices some prints in the ground, indicating that these Reapers are scattered and headed north. Soon enough, the trail splits, with Daryl having lost where Hershel might have gone. Pulling a Scooby-Doo, Daryl suggests splitting up. He and Maggie will cross, while the others head north. If something finds them…just stay alive.
Cole, Elijah, and Kelly, meanwhile, hear something when they split off. Elijah is hesitant, so Kelly asks if he can remove his mask. He does, and Kelly assures him that he’s not alone. After all, Maggie’s counting on them.
Daryl and Maggie happen upon three people from Maggie’s group. Good thing Maggie recognized one of the women, as Daryl was ready to cut one her throat. I think Daryl just really needs to kill something that’s not a walker. The woman explains to Maggie that everything was fine until the area was suddenly on fire. Don’t you hate when that happens? Things just catching on fire.
They didn’t see who did it. Also, two members didn’t make it out, and they didn’t get a good look at who did this. No sign of Hershel for hours, though. One member believes this to be the work of the Reapers. He gets an arrow to the throat for his troubles.
The group of now four rushes through the woods while evading arrows. One of Maggie’s friends takes a hit to the gut, but Daryl realizes that this is a trap so they can be picked off, one-by-one. Maggie realizes this, too, but not her other companion, who quickly gets an arrow to the chest. As she lays dying, she tries to tell Maggie that she saw Hershel. At least, that’s how Maggie interprets it.
Daryl and Maggie realize that this is the work of one shooter who probably has to reload now. Maggie opts to go around and flank the target, but all she finds is a lone sniper rifle.
She’s soon ambushed by a figure in camouflage and ends up caught in a snare. As Maggie tries to free herself, the masked figure gets an arrow in the arm from Daryl. The assailant counters by throwing Daryl right into a tree.
So he’s dead, right? Or at the very least, paralyzed?
No, of course not. Rather than killing Daryl outright, the assailant removes his cover and heads for Maggie. She frees herself just as the assailant gets an arrow to the chest. Kelly, Cole, and Elijah arrive, but Maggie demands answers. Who is this man and why did he attack Maggie’s people? The assailant’s only words are “Pope marked you.” He drops his blade and pulls a pin from a grenade. In no time at all, boom.
Well, that got us nowhere. Anyway, Hershel’s in a damn tree.
That night, Maggie thanks Kelly for helping Elijah, given everything he’s endured. She makes small talk with Kelly about her sister, with Kelly saying that Connie is the older sister. Connie kept an eye on Kelly and even shared her life with her sister. Without even knowing for sure, Kelly correctly guesses that Maggie not only had a sister, but that she’s the oldest. It just feels like Maggie’s been leading people her entire life.
That or Kelly read the script. You decide. Still, Connie is the same way, and Maggie hopes she’ll get to meet her. Well, at the time of writing this, The Eternals has wrapped filming, so it’s possible.
As Kelly leaves, Daryl enters and tells Maggie that the assailant was just trying to fuck with her head. They’ll stay here a few more days to make sure he really was alone. Nothing should follow them back to Alexandria. Daryl suggests they take the long way back and cover their tracks. So yes, this means Maggie is coming home.
Her people deserve a home, and she’ll deal with Negan later, if it comes to that. Right now, what matters is Alexandria.
But when the group arrives at Alexandria the next day, they find it in ruin. A parting gift, courtesy of the Whisperers, as Carol tells them. Some people at least wrap their presents. Despite this, repairs are underway.
Maggie, Hershel and the others enter the wrecked Alexandria Safe Zone as the episode comes to a close.
So we return to The Walking Dead to finish up Season 10 through these additional episodes. While the previous episode could have worked as a finale, this one definitely wouldn’t work as a premiere. That might be why AMC has added these episodes to the back half of Season 10. They work as a way to fill in some gaps and set the stage for the upcoming final season.
In essence, “Home, Sweet Home” functions as a reintroduction for Maggie. We get some tidbits about where she’s been and what she’s done. Her drive to help others feels like the natural continuation of Georgie’s plan for the future. In addition, it emphasizes Rick’s need to find others in order to help rebuild the world.
We don’t get everything, of course. Some things, Maggie’s not ready to talk about just yet. It’s nice that her time offscreen didn’t revolve entirely around tragedy. There’s enough of that in this series. So it’s nice that she got to help people and spend time with her son.
Of course, we all knew Maggie would have a problem seeing Negan out in the open. She’s got every reason to still hate him. Then again, she made the decision to not kill him when she had the chance. That doesn’t excuse what Negan did, and Maggie will never forgive him for that. Even though she spared him, she doesn’t have to like the fact that he’s walking around as a somewhat free man.
So I see this working out one way. Negan has proven himself multiple times to the others, whether it’s speaking up for Lydia or saving Judith. Even with what he’s done, he has proven his worth and shown his willingness to change. Again, it doesn’t excuse his past actions, nor erase them. But it does demonstrate that this Negan is far from the same man who bashed in Glenn and Abraham’s brains.
Oh, and did I forget to mention killing Alpha? So what are the odds that Negan proves his worth to Maggie by helping her with these Reapers? I doubt the Reapers factor into the final season, so I would put good money on them being dealt with by the end of these extra episodes. After taking care of, I guess, all of the Whisperers, any incoming threat should be small potatoes.
But these Reapers have been a major headache for Maggie, based on what we learn. In concept, they feel no different from the Wolves. Only more civilized, at least. They kill and lure victims into traps, set communities ablaze…okay, the more I say it out loud, this isn’t something exclusive to the Wolves. But I wouldn’t equate them to the Saviors, either.
Based on the one dealt with in this episode, they’re efficient when it comes to killing. Plus, rather than talk about their plans, it seems they’re willing to die for their cause and keep their motivations shrouded in mystery. Nothing novel, but the fact that they’ve been so destructive at least paints them as a credible threat.
We don’t know how many there are, their end goal, or how they managed to follow Maggie back to here. But after the Whisperer War, the survivors will have another conflict on their hands. This is while they’re still trying to recover from the Whisperer battle.
Not a lot happens in this episode, but the slower pacing allowed for some quieter moments. Maggie found a kinship with Kelly, who is still searching high and low for Connie. I’m glad these two forged a bond. Maggie might be focused on her people, but she knows what it’s like to lose a sister. Plus, I’m all for members of Magna’s group getting more to do in the series.
Including the quick moment she had with Elijah. I hope there’s more of that. Not just to give Kelly something to do, but also so we as an audience learn more about Cole and Elijah. If everyone else from Maggie’s group is going to be expendable, then I hope at least these two pull through.
True, not a lot happened in this episode. But the introduction of the Reapers sets up a new threat. Meanwhile, the reintroduction of Maggie allows us to catch up on what she’s been up to, what she’s planning, and how, if at all, she’ll deal with Negan. Time will tell how this all unfolds.
Until then, see you next time and welcome back, however briefly, to The Walking Dead.