‘Home’ is a very odd episode of The Walking Dead, one that puts its biggest flaws of the season on display. An episode that is supposed to convey the lack of direction of both the Woodbury and prison camps with two leaders running astray, ‘Home’ just kind of feels like any episode without any real direction, until it pushes all the pieces on the board into one area for The Governor’s bullet and zombie-filled retaliation.
Rick’s mental state continues to collapse, and everyone around him continues to stand around and wait – that’s pretty much the jist of ‘Home’. Men talk, females listen, and Glenn’s rage amounts to him driving away for a couple scenes while the camp was ambushed by The Governor. The most bothersome of these characters is Hershel, who seems perfectly content to speak his opinion to Glenn and Rick – both of whom are acting as ‘leaders’ in their own selfish capacities – but ultimately stand by and do nothing when they decide to ignore him.
The void that Rick’s unstable mind has left in the group is a bit perplexing: everyone wants to comment about what’s going wrong with Rick, but when push comes to shove, nobody is really trying to do anything at all. The most decisive in the bunch is Carl, and his little brain isn’t mature enough to handle the war breaking out between prison and Woodbury. If anything, ‘Home’ shows us that nobody else is capable of being leader except Rick – without really making a confident assertion why people should hold onto that belief. The Walking Dead‘s done a decent job painting Rick as a semi-competent leader whose prone to deadly mistakes like everyone else – but I’m increasingly worried about Rick’s psyche, which seems to bounce around for plot purposes, not as a fluid, continuous exploration of his mental decay.
At times, ‘Home’ feels less like the first half of season three and more like season two: characters do a lot of talking and not a lot of deciding, a character who reveals his back story is immediately killed, and relationships turn on a dime. Daryl and Merle’s back and forth throughout the episode is more than arbitrary (who cares what happened when they were kids? That world is dead and gone, a fact I thought both had embraced) and as always, Andrea is clueless. It was very odd how things played out: two major characters disappearing for chunks of the episode only to reappear conveniently in the final scene when the bullets start flying. It feels out of character for a number of reasons: would everyone just abandon normal procedure without Rick around (like having no lookouts)? Would The Governor just pack up, attack Woodbury, and then be content to go home (that would just be dumb, considering how dangerous everyone is) and wait for their retaliation? ‘Home’ frequently gets lost within itself, spending a lot of time in conversation with characters, without much to tie it all together except a shared gun fight at the end.
– I think The Governor knows the answer to the question “Would Milton take a bullet for me?”
– Maggie pushing Glenn away feels forced: Glenn’s sorry for assuming she got raped, which makes Maggie angry, because he wanted to avenge her? Whatever their issue is, it feels contrived and pointless.
– Carol forgets about Daryl as soon as Axel makes some googly eyes. Later on, she uses him as a meat shield. How romantic.
– Oh yeah… Beth and Maggie are related, aren’t they.
– The Walking Dead shows its budget restraints a bit: the zombie slaughter with Carl and Glenn happens off-screen. I wish this happened more often.