The Walking Dead returns on February 28 with the first of six new bonus episodes extending Season 10, where the survivors pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the Whisperer War. The extended tenth season, filmed over a six-week shoot as the first episodes to go into production during the COVID-19 pandemic, is an interquel to the 24-episode eleventh and final season now filming for a late 2021 premiere on AMC. As the zombie drama ramps up for its blockbuster sendoff season, Season 10 of The Walking Dead returns to life with character-driven episodes that are smaller in scope — but big in stakes.
In The Walking Dead's Season 10C premiere, "Home Sweet Home," Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and her eight-year-old son Hershel Rhee (Kien Michael Spiller) return to Virginia after years away on the road. Their homecoming is bittersweet: Maggie reunites with Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) before crossing paths with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who widowed Maggie and left her son without a father with a few swings of his barbwire-wrapped baseball bat.
When Daryl and Kelly (Angel Theory) join Maggie and her friends Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) and Cole (James Devoti) on a trip to pick up Maggie's people, she explains her years-long absence was spurred by Georgie's (Jayne Atkinson) "key to a future" that built up her home at the Hilltop colony in Season 8. Revealing only pieces of a story she's not yet ready to share, Maggie is haunted by her travels and confesses to Daryl in an emotionally weighty scene why she almost — but couldn't — come home before the events of "A Certain Doom."
The scene scripted by Corey Reed ("A Certain Doom") and Kevin Deiboldt ("The Tower") is indicative of the poignant tone of these bonus episodes, and what the Angela Kang-led Walking Dead does best: highlighting the humanity of the people surviving in a world of the dead.
Like classic episodes of The Walking Dead, that humanness gives way to horror when someone goes missing and a silent predator stalks Maggie's group. Hunted by an unseen threat who picks them off in slasher movie fashion, an explosive encounter with a new enemy pushes Maggie to make a decision once thought unimaginable. For Maggie, going "home sweet home" means having to co-exist alongside Negan inside the walls of the last community standing — leaving viewers with the promise of a confrontation years in the making.
With these deeply compelling and contained character pieces that play like 45-minute movies — including the March 7 episode taking Daryl back to the years after Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) disappeared, and the anticipated Negan prequel airing April 4 — the extended Season 10 bonus episodes are unlike anything The Walking Dead has ever done before.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars