Last week we saw the gut-wrenching season premiere of The Walking Dead, and mercifully we got a bit of a reprieve from the heaviness this week–also a TIGER. But let me first issue a spoiler alert before we jump in to talking about this week’s episode and the new community Carol and Morgan found themselves in.
While last week we spent the entire episode ugly-crying over the brutal deaths of both Glenn and Abraham at the hands of the brutal leader of the Saviors, Negan; this week we got to meet the eccentric and charismatic leader of The Kingdom, Ezekiel. To say that Ezekiel and The Kingdom feel a bit too good to be true is a bit of an understatement. After meeting communities like Woodbury, Terminus, Hilltop, and even Alexandria; it’s tough to trust any new community that touts any sort of safety and idyllic life. While I’m inclined to pledge fealty to any ruler who has a powerful, memorable pet (#TeamDaenerys), meeting Ezekiel and his Kingdom has raised quite a few, important questions.
Has The Kingdom Really Found a Way to Live Safely in the Zombie Apocalypse?
Ezekiel seems to be a man who truly wants to help the people living in The Kingdom, and they seem to have a pretty sweet set up with their animals, crops, and protection. Of course, we’ve seen other communities (even Rick’s own prison) that were eventually destroyed by encroaching walkers or other communities, but it looks like Ezekiel has found a way to live in harmony with both the walkers and those surrounding him. Of course, they also seem to already have an arrangement with Negan’s Saviors, but they seem to have a mutual respect for each other. Has Ezekiel managed a way to find harmony in this new world?
But Really…What’s the Situation with The Kingdom and The Saviors?
We know from Hilltop and last week’s episode that Negan makes new “subjects” pay a steep price for survival. If The Kingdom is working with Negan’s Saviors, they’re having to pay dearly to keep Negan and Lucille at bay, even though they seemed more than capable of meeting Negan’s demands with plenty to spare for their community. What kind of arrangement do they have?
When Rick’s group ultimately decides to fight back against Negan and The Saviors, they’re gonna need help. Will The Kingdom take up arms against Negan and join Team Rick, or do their loyalties lie with Negan? Ezekiel made sure to feed his pigs a hearty meal of walkers before turning them over to Negan’s men, so it stands to reason that Ezekiel’s alliance with the Saviors is an uneasy one. Still, Negan is a frightening leader, and that could override any anger that Ezekiel has towards Negan. Where do Ezekiel’s loyalties lie? WE MUST KNOW!
What Is Up With Morgan?
Morgan had been following a strict no-killing policy for quite some time, but we saw him break his rules after killing the Savior attackers that came after Carol. It’s not clear if he’s counting that as a relapse and getting “back on the wagon” or if he’s back to killing when he needs to. Ezekiel does have him training one of the young men in The Kingdom, Ben (anybody else holding their breath for Ben’s inevitable, tragic death?). Morgan is training Ben in a very similar way that Eastman trained Morgan, and he even offered Ben his copy of The Art of Peace. So is Morgan simply passing on knowledge to a new generation, or is he turning over his tools of pacifism and going back to his old ways of killing? Even more important, are we going to have another complex moral journey to go through with Morgan, or is he going to finally become the total badass we all know he can be?
Is Carol Coming Back to The Kingdom?
Carol’s been having a rough time lately, joining Morgan’s no-killing way of life paired with a hearty dose of self-hatred. So we were all 0% surprised when she bolted from The Kingdom as soon as she was healthy enough to run. Still, Ezekiel really pursued Carol. He not only saw through “sweater-set Carol” that we saw in the early days of Alexandria, but he also let down his regal guise to show Carol who he really was and found her after she ran. There is some serious chemistry between those two, and Ezekiel is working hard to convince Carol that The Kingdom is worth joining. Is she going to come back, or at least remain in her new little house on the outskirts of The Kingdom and form some sort of partnership (or romance) with Ezekiel? The sparks between them are undeniable, so I personally can’t see Carol leaving for good, but you never know with Rambo Carol.
Is Ezekiel a Good Guy?
This is the real question. Ezekiel is a lot to take in. He speaks in Old English, he has a giant tiger as a pet, he calls himself a king, and he’s got a persona that’s larger than life. While he let that persona go and revealed to Carol that he’s nothing more than a former zookeeper who rehabilitated an injured tiger and a former community theatre actor who took on the role of charismatic regent, leaders like the Governor have given us trust issues. Honestly, I want to trust any guy who takes the time to nurse an animal back to health in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, but the episode seemed to really lean on that “forbidden fruit” imagery with Ezekiel and Carol. Is that because King Zeke can finally make Carol let herself love someone again, or is it because he’s got something sinister hiding under the surface? Pleasebegood. Pleasebegood.