The Walking Dead S10C

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Walking Dead.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Walking Dead.
Photo: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

SHOW:

The Walking Dead S10 episodes 17-22

WHERE TO WATCH:

Showmax

OUR RATING:

2.5/5 Stars

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

In these six new episodes, we find our survivors trying to pick themselves up by their bootstraps following the destruction the Whisperers left in their wake. The years of struggle weigh upon them as past traumas surface, exposing their more vulnerable sides. As they question the state of humanity, the state of their collective community, and the states of their minds, will they find the inner strength to persevere with their lives, friendships, and group intact?

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

WARNING: This article contains spoilers if you are not caught up on The Walking Dead, season 10, episode 16.

In March 2020, AMC announced that the season 10 finale of The Walking Dead would be delayed by six months due to post-production challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, AMC's problems didn't end there. And deep into writing season 11, producers realised that they would be unable to film a "big season opener," with a massive walker herd and close-up killings, due to health and safety concerns.

As a result, writers developed six character-focused "bonus" episodes, which aired between the already existing season 10 finale and the planned season 11 premiere. Sadly, the bonus episodes are a mixed bag of hits and mostly misses but scores a home run with episode 22, titled Here's Negan, which looks at Negan's backstory and the origin of his beloved barb-wired baseball bat, Lucille.

Each episode is a sort of a stand-alone episode focusing on a different character. In these six episodes, we deep-dive into the lives of Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Carol (Melissa McBride), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Princess (Paola Lazaro) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

In Home Sweet Home, which centres on Maggie, we learn more about her whereabouts since we last saw her in season 9. Maggie reveals more about her travels with Georgie as they searched for new communities to rebuild. Maggie also reveals the real reason she left Hilltop and why she hadn't returned sooner.

As we've come to learn after ten seasons of The Walking Dead, each season comes with a new threat- and this time around, we're introduced to a new group called The Reapers. Definitely not your typical season premiere, and although there is some walker action, the episode (and the rest of the season) is primarily character-driven and heavy on dialogue.

Find Me is Carol and Daryl centred, and although this episode moves really slow (get used to it, folks), it does fit the serious subject matter and provides some of the most beautiful cinematography we've seen on the series.

One More follows Gabriel and Aaron as they search for supplies, and again, despite being short on walkers, I really enjoyed this episode – a lot, as it really fleshed out these two characters. The Walking Dead isn't really about zombies. Yes, these events occur during the zombie apocalypse, but the show centres on people, their relationships - and what fear brings out in people. This episode returns to those "human" roots and brings out the best acting performance I've been in from both these actors since joining the series.

Splinter centres on one of the newer characters, Princess. I thought that it was a risky move to dedicate an entire episode to such a new character. But to some degree, it paid off. As with the previous episodes, scenes move at a snail pace, but once the episode finds its rhythm, it makes powering through worthwhile, as we learn about Princess' childhood trauma and her relationship with he mother. With mental health hardly ever addressed in the series, I appreciated the subject being handled so sensitively. However, I was expecting to learn more about the mysterious soldiers who took Princess captive and the intentions of the Commonwealth.

Perhaps the most disappointing of all the "extra" episodes is Diverged, which again follow Carol and Daryl and picks up from episode 18. I have no other words to describe what happens in this episode other than pointless, awkward, and very uninteresting. And just reaffirms my intense feelings of dislike toward Carol.

But following the total let-down episode, AMC hits a homerun with Here's Negan – truly saving the best for last. The episode moves effortlessly between past and present as we learn more about pre-apocalypse Negan and his relationship with his wife, Lucille. Despite being a bumpy one, the relationship between Negan and Lucille is beautifully poetic, and the chemistry between Jeffrey and his real-life wife, Hilarie Burton Morgan, is off the charts. The episode is a perfect example of when all the elements on great TV come together to create a true masterpiece.

We're still teased with a Negan-Maggie showdown, and hopefully, this and the many unanswered questions will be answered when The Walking Dead returns for its final, extra-long season sometime this year.

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