The Walking Dead SN7 EP02-‘The Well’

The introduction of a brand new community brings a welcome respite to the doom and gloom.

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Wasn’t that fun? That, I think, is the best way to describe this week’s episode. A light and breezy hour of television unlike anything we’ve really seen on The Walking Dead before. That’s not to say it was devoid of drama, but that took more of a backseat whilst the show expertly introduced us to the relative absurdity of The Kingdom and its leader King Ezekiel. Oh, and also his pet tiger. So yeah, like I said, like nothing we’ve seen before.

It would have been easy for this episode to be too absurd, but things were kept grounded by showing it through the eyes of two characters we’re already invested in, Carol and Morgan. Watching them both react to the fantastical nature of The Kingdom was at times hilarious, and injected some much needed humour into the series. This episode was the exact opposite of the last, and was exactly what we needed.

So what exactly is the root cause of The Kingdom’s fairy-tale existence? For the answer to that we look no further than to its leader: King Ezekiel. We get to witness several sides to Ezekiel throughout the episode. The whimsical and benevolent King revered by his people. The calm and tactful leader keeping his forces in check and holding off war. Then there’s also the real Ezekiel. The one that drops the act and opens himself up to Carol. Each were interesting to watch in their own ways, but whilst King Ezekiel was funny, and Leader Ezekiel impressive, it was Normal Ezekiel I was most interested in. Like most leaders in the apocalypse, he didn’t really choose to be one. Instead his keen acting abilities and pet tiger built him up in the eyes of others, transforming him into the King. His candid chat with Carol presented a man who knows he’s got a good thing going, but is still struggling. This attitude, combined with the different ways we saw him carry himself throughout the episode, indicate a character I have no problem investing in.

Whilst Ezekiel may have been the big new take away from this episode, we still got to see just where Morgan and Carol are at now, and it seems they’re both in a relatively stable place considering the events of the last season. Morgan in particular seems to have found a place where he belongs. We see The Kingdom also has dealings with the Saviours, but it’s a much steadier relationship than what we’ve seen with the other groups. The Kingdom doesn’t actively seek out violence, but knows there’s always a chance it will be necessary. Because of this, it is a place where Morgan fits right in. Indeed, Ezekiel respects Morgan for his stance on peace, and it’s not long before he asks him to mentor a young man. That Morgan and his values were so easily accepted into The Kingdom was encouraging to see. Morgan’s philosophy was often a point of frustration last season, however it seems he’s finally turned a corner, finally accepting that killing is sometimes necessary. Being at The Kingdom he’ll have time to work on that, whilst still being encouraged to remain true to himself.

Unfortunately, Carol didn’t take quite so easily to The Kingdom, still adamant she was going off on her own, but she seemed to soften a little by the end of the episode. The beginning of the episode however saw her hallucinating Walkers as actual people, yet it wasn’t really made clear whether this was as a result of her injuries, or her current psychological state. I’m leaning more towards the former, but it would have been a good distinction to make. The episode saw the return of sweet Carol, as she put on her act once again to blend in and gain trust. It’s always great to see Carol like this as it’s just such a stark contrast to her usual persona, but it was an act Ezekiel wasn’t buying. It was interesting how the two connected, but it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to keep her around. There was certainly the hint of chemistry between the two, as there was between her and Morgan as well, but it looks like they might be building towards something between Carol and Ezekiel. Certainly when he showed up at her house at the end it was a surprising but telling moment, and if that’s where she plans to reside from now on, it seems that Ezekiel was instrumental in keeping her at the very least close by to The Kingdom.

Of course so much was introduced this episode there is plenty to talk about, so other notable highlights include:

  • It’s interesting that Ezekiel keeps the deal with the Saviours a secret from most of his people, especially because he mentioned they’d want to fight. Most the people there didn’t seem like the fighting kind, so I wonder who the Saviours killed to force Ezekiel into submission? I have a feeling the person Morgan is mentoring doesn’t know the whole truth about his father’s death. Perhaps rather than Walkers, it was the Saviours who killed them?

  • Speaking of that kid, I can see his relationship with Morgan going one of two ways. Either he’ll become a better fighter under Morgan’s teaching and everyone will be happy, or the Saviours could kill him providing Morgan with the push he needs to go psycho on them. Knowing this show it’ll be the latter.

  • Though The Kingdom has a fairly calm relationship with the Saviours, it’s obviously not somethings they’re happy about. Allowing the boars to feast on Walker flesh and then giving said boars to the Saviours is a very intelligent idea, though I wonder if it works? In any case, this was probably the most civilised group of Saviours we’ve met. Clearly The Kingdom’s seeming cooperation encourages the Saviours to be a tad nicer.

  • So The Kingdom has a choir, breakfast and lunch cobblers, movie nights and Ezekiel has a Steward who was so ridiculously over the top he might as well be named a Jester. Meanwhile, the main group is quite literally picking up the pieces of their broken lives. Two completely different worlds.

  • It has to be highlighted once again, because it really is the best line: “I have no idea what’s going on in the most wonderful way!”

  • Though it’s heartbreaking Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz will never be a part of them again, it was awesome to see Alanna Masterson, Christian Serratos and Josh McDermitt in the opening credits. Let’s just hope they get to stay there for some time.

With The Walking Dead Season 7’s second episode came a whole lot of new faces. Khary Payton as King Ezekiel is a fantastic addition to the cast, bringing a refreshingly abstract character and tone to the proceedings. The change in tone was perfect following last week’s episode, with the more humorous feel giving us a chance to see Carol and Morgan in new ways. Both characters are evolving in exciting directions, as Morgan felt somewhere he actually belonged and Carol started to slowly come back around. The world of The Walking Dead continues to expand in fascinating ways, and with next week set to introduce the Saviours home of The Sanctuary, things only look set to continue being interesting.

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