This article has some content you might find disturbing!Reason Face-slicing and other grossness.
The Kingdom Comes To The Walking Dead And It's A Little Weird
You might get tonal whiplash in this departure from the season premiere's misery parade.
Carol packed up her shit and left Alexandria for vague traumatic reasons. Then she got involved in a shootout with some very bad hombres and was wounded. Morgan, meanwhile, split off from Rick's group (good move, by the way!) to go after her. Morgan found her and also found some knights on horseback who offered to help them both. Oh, and some incredibly unpleasant stuff happened last week to Rick's group, but you know, we're not even going to worry about any of that this week.
Cart, But Not Carte Blanche
Have you ever traveled by horse-drawn cart? It's the only way to travel if you've been grievously injured or if you're, you know, going to a haunted house or something. Carol is drawn along by Morgan and his new armored friends and things seem peachy until they suddenly aren't.
The Undead Are Made Of People! People!
Alert Type: Gratuitous Fantasy Sequence Alert.
Issue: Carol's cart is overturned by a zombie ambush and as she scrambles away for safety, she imagines each of the undead as they were when they were still alive, including a zombie in the window of a little house.
Complicating Factors: Carol is not well and she's been having super-guilty feelings about all the deaths she's caused, plus some pretty gnarly shit is really happening around her as she's imagining this.
Resolution: Morgan and his new friends find Carol and she returns to normal for the most part. Then Morgan carves a signal in a mailbox post to find his way back because fuck GPS in this world.
Spoiler: Carol's ambivalence about life versus death has not gone away during the hiatus. And the showrunners clearly have a thing for fantasy sequences about people getting whapped in the head.
From the desk of
Doctor Scott M. Gimple
The patient has suffered severe character shift and dramatic drift and is also showing early symptoms of narrative end-game and expositional episode stall. Also, she got beaten up pretty badly and has actual wounds and stuff.
The patient must be confined to temporary bed rest or a wheelchair following two days of sleep for the duration of one commercial break. Patient will also be on a strict diet of fruits and skeptical dialogue for the rest of this episode. It may only take a few days of story time, but it will feel like weeks.
Refill motivation 3 times
Re-evaluate character goals
Check in with Rick Grimes
Put on sweet act for dumb rubes.
Mutual of PTV's Animal Kingdom
The Eyes Of The Tiger
What would seem completely out of place and weird in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where everyone is dead or dying? A healthy, gorgeous, and fierce tiger named Shiva, that's what! And King Ezekiel, the guy running the town that's housing Morgan and Carol, has one. Raawrr.
My Own Private Ren Faire
Name: King Ezekiel. Age: Late 40s. Occupation: Ruler. Goal: To put on a community-theater version of Arthurian court in a bustling small town called The Kingdom. And to make Carol feel welcome to a place that apparently has an armed force, farming, working classrooms, and a monarchy for its government with Ezekiel in charge. Sample Dialogue: "Jerry, you are a faithful steward, but your words leave me pitch-kettled."
Granted, It's A Pomegranate
The Scene: While meeting King Ezekiel, Carol is offered a delicious assortment of fruits.
The Symbol: A pomegranate, which Carol refuses because they don't seem worth the effort.
The Meaning: As Ezekiel points out, they are sweetness surrounded by bitter and require some extra effort. Oh, hey, like Carol!
At Least At The Circus You Get Cotton Candy
Carol's reaction upon meeting King Ezekiel (and Shiva!) is to put on her "Aw, shucks!" persona and to humor him, but as soon as she and Morgan are out of earshot, she turns into Hardass Carol. "You're shitting me, right? This place is a damn circus. It's make-believe!" she tells Morgan. Yup, and it's also a weird 180 from last week's ultraviolence.
Mutual of PTV's Animal Kingdom
Maybe Not The Best Bacon
Pigs (or are they boars? Pig-boars? Bored pigs?) now roam the cities and are easy pickings for Ezekiel and his crew. But the twist is that they're luring the animals by letting them feed on zombies and then trapping them. Now why would they do that? One of the Kingdom folks, Richard, explains that he wants rot in their belly. And that Morgan, who is tagging along, is not to tell anyone back in The Kingdom about this little mission. I'm wondering if these pigs are for feeding the townspeople or someone else entirely!
We Also Have A Mentorship Program, You Should Totally Apply!
Who called the meeting? Ezekiel.
What's it about? Ezekiel likes the crook of Morgan's rod, at least in terms of taking on the undead. He wants Morgan to train Benjamin, a young man who was having trouble killing anything undead back at the pig roundup.
How'd it go? Morgan is reluctant; he's still not thrilled about guns or killing. Ezekiel seems to sense this and already trusts Morgan to train Benjamin, whom he says will become a very important member of his court. Morgan finally agrees.
Plot Lightning Round
A town choir sings a version of Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice It's All Right."
Carol starts stealing stuff from around town including a knife and some chocolate. She finds out the town serves cobbler all the time and puts on a big show about how impressed she is. Then she steals some clothes.
Morgan the sensei begins training young Benjamin, who takes an interest in a philosophy book Morgan is carrying around. Their training is interrupted when they're asked to go somewhere with Ezekiel. Morgan is asked to bring his gun.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Jared vs. Richard
Morgan has been brought along for a little weekly payment meeting. The Saviors show up, sans Negan (who is a little occupied at the moment bashing heads, probably), to retrieve goods from The Kingdom. The eight pigs that were rounded up earlier have been slaughtered and are ready to be given over. But trouble begins when some long-haired dude named Jared asks Richard to smile. When that request is refused, a fight between the two men breaks out before Ezekiel can calm things down. The leader on the Savior side, Gavin, is pretty slow to break up the fight on his end, but ends up semi-apologizing for wasting Ezekiel's time. Still, it's pretty tense with all the guns drawn and everybody's nerves jangling. Morgan, at least, is probably thrilled that nobody has to get killed over some zombie-eating pigs. The scene also produces the incredibly unfortunate pun, "It's produce week, so...produce." Almost as bad as last week's "Vampire bat."
Winner: Jared, who gets not just one free punch at a submissive Richard, but two before being pulled away. And he gives him the finger, too.
Name: Benjamin. Age: Early 20s. Occupation: Trainee. Goal: To raise a child, who might either be his son or younger brother (probably younger brother, given his age) and to live up to his dad's memory. His dad was killed a year before with a group of eight others who were trying to clear out a building. Apparently his dad and Ezekiel were very close. And to get to know Morgan a little better, who may become a surrogate father to him. Sample Dialogue: "I don't know if I know enough to know."
That Quote"Sometimes we change our minds."- Morgan, explaining away his defining character trait as it's disappearing -
Situation: Carol is picking apples on her way out of town and is caught by Ezekiel and his assistant/court jester Jerry.
What makes it awkward? Carol is literally dragging a cart full of stuff she was planning to take with her from the town. And Ezekiel has figured out that Carol's Little Miss Innocent act is just that: an act.
How is order restored? Ezekiel asks Carol not to bullshit a bullshitter and explains that his King Ezekiel spiel is also an act. He reverts to his normal voice and tells her in detail how a little community theater experience and luck made him leader of these people in The Kingdom and that, while it does benefit him, it was something they needed. He reminds Carol that the contradiction of the fairy tale is the point. He also explains how as a zookeeper, he saved Shiva by healing her leg and that she's been loyal ever since. And as if in direct response to last week's bloodbath, he tells her that it's worse out there when you're alone. Then he suggests that if she really wants to leave The Kingdom, she should leave without really leaving.
That Quote"It's not all bad. It can't be. It isn't. Life isn't. Where there's life, there's hope, heroism, grace and love. Where there's life, there's life."- King Ezekiel, one week too late -
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Good Thing We Didn't Kill Each Other, Huh?
Morgan trots Carol out of town as they ride horses and they have a nice little moment of peace. Morgan tells her, "I think you're my favorite person I ever knocked out." However, rather than set off on a dangerous journey, Carol takes up residence in the house she saw earlier, killing the walker inside, and following Ezekiel's advice to leave, but not really leave the area.
It's A Date
Carol is tidying things up in her new home when she hears a knock at her door. And a tiger growl. Guess who?
Who's on a date? Ezekiel has showed up as a sort of housewarming.
Where has he taken her? It's more of a stay-at-home date.
Are things headed in a horizontal direction? Ezekiel extends a pomegranate in Carol's direction and says, "You really gotta try one of these." It sure seems sexy and Carol's mouth betrays the hint of a smile as the episode ends.