Due to the pandemic restrictions, filming of season eleven was delayed, but all was not gloom and doom. For one, the previous season was extended by six, full-length episodes, making a total of twenty-two instead of the typical sixteen episodes. On the cusp of that, we soon learned that season eleven would be their last. I think this is, in fact, a good thing, as the series can’t go on indefinitely, and TWD has been harshly criticized for years regarding the lack of closure. I’m eager to see how they wrap it up.
Synopsis courtesy of AMC:
Maggie returns, to the dismay of Negan; the trails she endured since leaving have made her harder in order for her and her son, Hershel, to survive; Daryl and Maggie unexpectedly fight an unseen and unknown threat.
What made this such a stand-out episode wasn’t its revelations or even its action-packed sequences, of which there were few, and I’ll address that momentarily. No, what made Home Sweet Home so great was the exquisite acting by Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier,) Lauren Cohen (Maggie Rhee,) Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon,) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan.) There were a few addition actors who contributed, but the hour mostly centered around those four powerhouse actors/characters.
Written by Corey Reed and Kevin Deiboldt, and directed by David Boyd, Home Sweet Home featured some truly nail-biting action sequences, which made for a fair amount of suspense, and was topped by an impressive and unexpected psychological components.
It’s been less than a day since AMC aired it, and already I’ve found online complaints about it being “too slow, not enough action,” and they’re entitled to their opinions. However, it is my opinion that the episode was intentionally a little slower, which actually worked to their benefit, as it allowed those heartfelt and emotional scenes between the aforementioned characters to take center stage and really thrive. Immediately following the episode, AMC aired a short, behind-the-scenes segment (which always fascinate me,) featuring showrunner Angela Kang, and she said that during the tense scenes between Negan and Maggie, there was originally dialogue, but they felt the scenes spoke so much more without them; that their body language and facial expressions spoke volumes, and were actually much more impactful. I could not agree more. I’m so glad that they omitted the dialogue and let the silence speak for itself. The same can be same for the great, great interactions between Daryl and Maggie.
I went into the episode with minimal expectations. I simply sat back and enjoyed it. Before too long, the hour was over. A solid five stars.