After last week’s brutal installment in the adventures of our favorite post-zombie apocalypse survivors, it was completely expected that this week would be a little bit lighter. That isn’t to say that we were expecting something quite as light as what was presented, but not every week can be filled with incredibly dark brutality. Besides, some of our heroes didn’t make it to Negan’s hands, and we were bound to catch up with some of them sooner or later. This week, it was time to revisit Morgan and Carol, and see the aftermath of their adventures from last season.
If you recall, last season Carol left Alexandria and Morgan had gone in pursuit of her. She suffered serious injury at the hand of the Saviors. That sets the stage for Carol once again needing to be sort of taken off of the board, as she recuperates. Morgan stumbled upon a group that helped get her to a safe space, and that space looks almost idyllic compared to everywhere else that our survivors have been. Welcome to The Kingdom, and say hello to King Ezekiel and his pet tiger, Shiva. It all feels like a disconnect from the reality that Carol had previously experienced, and her hallucinations from her injuries made it even less likely that she would believe what her eyes showed her. However, The Kingdom is very real, and Ezekiel wants to make sure that those who drink from The Well refill it. Now it’s our turn to drink, and refill it we shall.
Okay, so nothing Jerry does in this episode is overly lacking in intelligence. If there’s anything about Jerry that gets him on this list (other than my personal desire to make a list of 5) is that Jerry is just a little too jovial. Especially with as skittish as Carol is around Ezekiel, maybe Jerry should just dial back the goofy happiness just a touch.
Alright, I sort of get your desire to forge your own path. After all, when Rick kicked you out, you were able to do just fine on your own, eventually making your way back at just the right time to save everyone. Your experiences within Woodbury and Alexandria have you on edge with regards to any sort of encampment and semblance of civilization. All that said, why would you try and get the best (?) of both worlds by living outside of The Kingdom, but close enough that Ezekiel can stop by and deliver you fruit? Ezekiel even told you his history, which should have been an indication that maybe he wasn’t a new Governor, but you just have to be different. Or are you planning on creating a new version of suburbs for the zombie world?
When the Saviors and members of the Kingdom meet up for the pig exchange, it seems like everything is going to go smoothly. Even Morgan is somewhat on board with the plan. Sure, he doesn’t like the Saviors, but he seemingly gets why Ezekiel is doing what he’s doing. In steps Richard, the man who seemed to be part of the brains before the pigs in the first place. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, Richard has taken a swing at Gavin, one of the Saviors, and Ezekiel has been forced to step in to remind his people their place. Maybe it was all constructed to show Morgan who had the final authority, but Morgan wasn’t really questioning. It seemed more like a moment where Richard was tired of playing along, and became, instead of a hero, an example.
Morgan’s new pupil is learning. He isn’t good with a machete, and is apparently also pretty terrible with a gun, so Ezekiel thinks he might be better with a staff. None of that is bad, as everyone has strengths in different things. However, Benjamin is also very aware of the fact that Ezekiel doesn’t want the people of The Kingdom to know about the deal he made with the Saviors. After all, that could spur the people to fight back, and the amount of death that would follow is too high of a number for Ezekiel to be willing to give. So when does Benjamin make a point of speaking the most about the interactions with the Saviors? How about in the cafeteria, mere feet away from people who, one can assume, don’t know about the deal? Yes, he’s telling Morgan, and, by extension, the audience, but the setting of the conversation was odd.
Weakened by injury, Carol also was suffering from hallucinations before she made it to The Kingdom and was able to heal up. In the middle of a battle with some walkers, Carol saw them both as the dead they had become, and as the living they had once been. This disconnect drives her distrust of The Kingdom, initially. However, she seemed to clearly recognize her eyes weren’t necessarily trustworthy, and she barely had the strength to move. Of course that’s the best time to try and break away from the people trying to help you. Oh, Carol. At least trust Morgan in this one. After all, you know his stance on people and survival, and he isn’t being forced to go with the people on horseback.
That closes out this week. Next week we’re going to visit The Cell, and our friend Daryl Dixon appears to get to show Negan and Dwight what he’s capable of. See you then!