AMC’s The Walking Dead Review: Season 3 Episode 10 – Home
This week’s episode entitled “Home” had some strong moments, but it has some weak ones, too. This is typical for The Walking Dead. The moments between Merle and Darryl as well as Hershel attempting to counsel Glen and Rick were strong. Scott Wilson does some fine acting. I’d even give a nod to Axel and Carol’s exchanges, though they were a little standard. Still they offered some humor and flirtation that the show rarely has. I was beginning to like Axel, too. The Walking Dead’s writers seem guilty that Axel had not had much character development, like T-Dog, so right before he gets a bullet in the head, from the eagle-one-eyed Governor, we learn something about him. He’s a nice guy, and flirting with Carol was sweet even. We learn something so we can mourn his death more, I suppose.
Darryl has changed, because of his experience with Rick this episode clearly shows and maybe the reason it is called “Home.” His decision to help out a group of threatened survivors for altruistic reasons creates dissonance for his older brother. Why help out someone for no benefit is Merle’s position. Merle has not grown emotionally at all in the apocalypse while Darryl has found his sense of compassion and loyalty. As Darryl turns on Merle forcing him to let the family go without taking anything from them, we understand that Darryl has not lost his humanity—of course he does have a soft spot for children. Another decent moment in a world full of hostile humans.
Darryl understands that he should return to the prison and while I do think this turnaround was a too little quick and convenient, it still offered a great moment of confession from Merle. He reveals his intention was to kill Glen, Maggie and Michonne and why he can’t return to the prison. It is a deep, emotional moment for Merle. He pleads with his little brother to not go “home.” I liked it. And even Darryl’s reply seems trenchant—if you go, you are the one leaving. Good scene.
The other strong moments occurs as Hershel desperately attempts to persuade Glen from taking foolish and dangerous risks. Hershel can see and perhaps understands Glen’s rage and knows men do not make smart decision fueled and animated by it. Scott Wilson’s acting was also strong when, after failing with Glen, he attempts to bring Rick back from the outside—physically and emotionally. Hershel’s patience pleading effectively struck a chord. He knows what it is like to lose his wife and sympathizes. However, sympathy cannot protect his daughter or Glen or anyone else. Rick clearly leaves the group in a desperate state with his mental instability. Rick’s craziness adds a realistic element to the show, but how can anyone lead when he sees dead people? Well, you know what I mean—not really, real dead people just imagined dead ones.
The Andrea narrative sort of was just there. Clearly, The Governor manipulates her with his “we, err, I need you” pep talk. But she must understand what is going on. Her motivation is still odd, but self-preservation might be the ultimate motivator for her. What can she do? Leave? Well perhaps. I think she could make it to the prison.
But still there were some big problems. Why is the group simply standing outside sunning themselves when they know that there’s a major threat from another group? This is patently absurd. In fact, the entire attack on the prison seemed silly and unrealistic. What was the point after all? Sure, the zombie-van attack was cool in a Trojan Horse kind of way, but it seems tactically stupid. I guess it is simply to terrorize the survivors.
Another problem with the attack (and this is an all-too-familiar trope for many an action scene) was the varying degrees of shooting accuracy displayed by the warring group members. This is a problem not confined to only this episode, but it is starting to become more of a distraction now. When a survivor needs a head shot to a stop a shuffling zombie, no problem, first shot. However, when a human is stationary (man in guard tower) and one person has a semi-automatic rifle (Carol) and another has a gun (sharp shooter Carl), neither have a chance to shoot the person. Well, okay at least not initially. It takes several attempts to kill the faceless sniper. How did he get up the tower anyway? Suddenly he is there.
Likewise, Rick and Michonne have no chance shooting any of the Governor’s people as they have no chance at shooting them despite unloading many rounds between them. A little hackneyed, but perhaps not the worst trope: Darryl’s just in the nick of time saving of Rick’s certain zombie devouring takes that crown. That was too convenient and trite.
Obviously the war is not over as the ending scene lingers on Rick’s scowl looking toward what we assume is Woodbury. Oh now that he’s clear headed, I guess his focus is now on The Governor. Pay back? Of course.
Tyrese and his group must have heard the ruckus. But where were they? Have we seen the last of them? That can’t be the case, can it?