Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What's The Song That Plays At The End Of The Walking Dead 'Home Sweet Home'?

Contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 10, episode 17 — "Home Sweet Home"

The Walking Dead is back for a mini addition to season 10 that will include six brand-new episodes — the first of which hit AMC+ on Sunday, February 21. 

The episode is an action-packed chapter that gives Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) a proper reintroduction to the series. In typical Walking Dead fashion, Maggie has a lot of immediate walker and adversarial human concerns to deal with throughout "Home Sweet Home," and has an emotional journey to go on too. By the end of the hour, she realizes she will once again be living in the same town as Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), perhaps the greatest villain in the entire series.

The bad blood between Maggie and Negan can be traced back to a little incident where Negan bashed Maggie's husband Glenn's (Steven Yeun) head in with a baseball bat. Things have changed quite a bit for the former leader of the Saviors since then. Negan was imprisoned for many years in Alexandria, but due to the recent threats posed by the Whisperers, he's been out on a sort of work release system. While Maggie understands why this is, that doesn't mean she's happy to see him out and about like everything is normal.

In the final moments of The Walking Dead season 10C's premiere episode, Maggie returns to Alexandria with her and Glenn's son, Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller), by her side. As she walks into the city, Negan watches Maggie trepidatiously. A haunting song plays over the scene, and the tune's lyrics provide the perfect underscore for the intense moment: "You want it darker / We kill the flame."

Although the version that plays in the episode is a cover, the lyrics themselves were written by one of the great songwriters of the 20th century.

"You Want It Darker" scored Leonard Cohen a Grammy before it was used in The Walking Dead

The song that plays in The Walking Dead season 10, episode 17 is a cover of "You Want It Darker." The original version of "You Want It Darker" was the first single from Leonard Cohen's 2016 album of the same name, the last to be released before the acclaimed (and weirdly prophetic) Canadian singer-songwriter died at the age of 82. The album and song were heralded, with the song itself winning a Grammy for Best Rock Performance in 2018.

When listening to the song, it's not hard to see why it was chosen for this particular moment of the episode. While Maggie has agreed to return to Alexandria and live in proximity to Negan, her feelings toward him are clearly not resolved. Maggie is a rational and fair-minded person, but she's also fiercely loyal to her family and those she loves. Negan is a living testament to the forces that would do her family harm.

Typical of Cohen's songwriting, the lyrics to "You Want It Darker" are rich with allusion and specific meanings. But even to just take some of the words at face value, we can see how they match and intensify the mood of Maggie's walk back into Alexandria: "There's a lullaby for suffering / And a paradox to blame / But it's written in the scriptures / And it's not some idle claim / You want it darker / We kill the flame."

We'll have to wait and see what the rest of The Walking Dead season 10C holds for Maggie and Negan, but it seems likely that some of these intense feelings will come to a head one way or another, sooner or later.