The Walking Dead: Home

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by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.

That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.

“So you’re abdicating?”

In a world like that of The Walking Dead, new societies will rise and fall much more quickly than in the prior world. The mini-regimes have to, because society is set back so far that from a social standpoint, it’s ground zero. What happens when those leaders abandon their leadership roles for something else entirely is fascinating for story. While Daryl, Glen, the Governor and Rick all seemed to eschew their roles for at least one week, their reasoning for doing so were slightly different.

This week on Daryl and Merle in the Woods, the goal is catching squirrel! Putting them together was a very smart idea, as it shows how much different the two brothers have become. Daryl has really grown, showing a thoughtfulness and compassion for others in helping the survivors on the bridge that he didn’t exhibit when he was with Merle earlier. It came out that the two of them were plotting to rob the survivor camp, but it didn’t matter to Daryl because it never happened.

It was also extremely powerful in that a few simple scars showed that the two brothers are much more complex than previously revealed. The fact that they came from a broken home isn’t really a surprise, but the fact that they were more or less tortured and scarred as a result gives you insight into their pasts and present predicaments. Daryl had a really great line about Merle leaving and it looks like that just about everything is being aired out between the two. Daryl has almost grown out his anger, reaching a serenity of sorts that allows him to ruthless and brutally loyal. Their decision to rejoin the others pays off in the end, but it’s not without its drama.

Glen is looking for ways to channel his anger, starting with talking to Carl about how the other survivors got in. It’s interesting that he’s sort of losing it in his own way similar to Rick. While Rick sees Lori, Glen seeks vengeance for what the Governor did to him and Maggie. He seems to want to pick up responsibility that maybe he feels Rick is giving up–intentionally or unintentionally. He feels that he just needs something to fill the void that the Governor created, which is creating a rift with Maggie and the others.

He’s moving along a trajectory much like Rick’s. Rick was reluctantly thrust into the spotlight as the leader of the group and with Rick’s decision-making being questioned; Glen has taken it upon himself to step up. Of course, he’s still reeling from being tortured and continues to feel as if he’s crusading for Maggie for whatever reason. This is very similar to Rick’s survivor’s guilt regarding Lori and Shane. This is not very similar because Glen isn’t wandering the grounds hallucinating.

The Governor is clearly playing at grander ambitions. His trust in Andrea is something he’s leveraging to get her to do even more for him than she’s done to this point. He clearly doesn’t trust her and even tasks Milton with keeping tabs on her. There’s no way that he’s content with having his sacred cow violated in the way that Rick and the others blew through, caused chaos and freed the Governor’s prisoners.  How he responds is nothing short of a surprise, as it’s definitely something you likely didn’t see coming.

“Home” was all about leaders abdicating power for personal reasons. The Governor gave up leadership of Woodbury temporarily to pay back Rick. Rick gave up his leadership to chase ghosts. Daryl gave up leadership to rejoin his brother Merle. And Glen gave up leadership for a personal vendetta against the Governor. The void where leaders used to be simply leads to chaos at the prison, followed by madness and death.

Since the end of season two, Rick has been the leader and even told the survivors if they stick with him, it’s his way or they go another way. Rick has made truly devastating decisions and has positioned the group fairly well, but all the weight on his shoulders is starting to take its toll where he doesn’t really care any more. He’s lost his wife and best friend, both because of his decisions.  He’s coming to terms with the notion that his new life being built at the prison is the new version of home for him, despite its great difference compared to the home he formerly knew.

While “Home” doesn’t have the same emotional gravity that “Killer Within” had, it was an episode that provides yet another harsh reminder that life with zombies still manages to find time for revenge.  Rick spent the bulk of the episode wandering aimlessly and Daryl realized that his life at the prison was much better than anything blood can offer. The Governor is so blinded by the assault on Woodbury that he takes it extremely personally and Glen is so blinded by his anger at the Governor that he’s considering taking on Woodbury by himself. Revenge is a powerful, powerful motivator, but it’s often used for the worst reasons.

There are only a few episodes left in the season and where it’s going from here is anyone’s guess. It’s Rick’s move against the Governor and nothing short of an all-out war will satisfy both men’s thirst for blood.  Things are really brewing and more people will die. Rick does have the benefit of Michonne with a sword on his side, which is a very powerful resource to draw upon indeed. There’s also the possibility that the other survivors Rick chased off didn’t go far, because it looks like the prison needs all the help it can get if it wants to manage the Governor.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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