By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
A Plot: Long Live The King
Tonight was without a doubt Ezekial’s episode. From beginning to end we focused on where his head was in the moment interspersed with flashbacks that showed how he came to be the confident leader he was up to the moment he lost all of his people. In the flashbacks, I feel like we re-explored material that we’ve already covered in the past but I was fine with that. Ezekial isn’t a character we’ve spent nearly enough time with so the flashbacks were helpful in reminding us of his backstory plus they did their intended job of juxtaposing the confident king with the beaten king.
Everything about Ezekial’s identity was taken from him in this episode. He lost his people, his will to lead, and his tiger. That last one was particularly hurtful to him. Ezekial is many things and one of those is “the guy with the tiger,” but Sheva was so much more than. She was symbolic of his ability and empathy as a leader. She was a constant reminder and he has tamed and won the trust of one of the earth’s fiercest beasts. As long as Sheva was there to follow Ezekial then everyone else would fall in line not out of fear but hope. Realistically, people could still follow Ezekial without Sheva, but this is the writers’ way of telling us that this is no longer King Ezekial. The man didn’t die tonight but his identity did.
B Plot: Carol to the Rescue
Carol continued the fight tonight by taking out some Saviors while ultimately preventing them from getting their guns to the Sanctuary. She was also able to rescue Ezekial and Jerry. If it wasn’t for the way Ezekial’s story hit us in the gut this would have been Carol’s story. We spent last season watching her hiding out while doing everything possible to push everyone away and avoiding the conflict. She’s been back for a few episodes now but this is really the one where we saw her come back. She’s a fighter and a survivor and she doesn’t have an ounce of quit in her anymore. I think after tonight we’re going to see her step up in Ezekial’s place and lead the Kingdom. This episode did a lot to set up the idea that both her and Ezekial weren’t born fighters, they chose to be who they are. Now that Ezekial is choosing to not be the king it’s only natural that she picks up where he’s leaving off.
C Plot: Rick and Daryl
After last week’s episode, I expected to get more of Rick and Daryl. That didn’t happen but the way things were written worked out well. I really have to reiterate that the writers have finally learned how to write a show sans Rick without making it a boring slogfest. If you’re going to do things without Rick then less should be more and that formula worked tonight. When the Saviors got away with the guns we all knew Rick and Daryl would come to save the day, but not having them in that episode up until that point allowed the sound of Daryl’s revving motorcycle engine to excite us. We knew it was coming yet it was done in a way that still hit us in the best possible way. This was some good writing and good editing and I hope this trend continues on this show.
Thanks for reading!