This week on The Walking Dead, we see the aftermath of the slaughter of the Kingdommers by the Saviors’ 50 caliber rifle, Ezekiel comes to some realizations, and Jerry continues to be an awesome dude.
Ezekiel in character
We open on Ezekiel in what I think must be his pajamas. His hair is in a night cap. He’s tending to his dreads, donning his armor like kingly robes, staring himself down in the mirror like he’s psyching up for a big game’
We see the Kingdommers bidding farewell to their families and loved ones. Ezekiel watches and nods approvingly. This is how quests begin.
He gives his “and yet I smile” speech and they are eating it up. He tells young Henry to be brave and the kid looks at him skeptically. “You trust the King. We will win.” And they do trust him. They are joined in purpose and vision. “We are one!” he cries.
After the ambush
Ezekiel crawls from beneath a pile of his dead soldiers. It’s a landscape of horror. His leg is messed up. He frantically examines the bodies of his friends and howls in anguish. And then, they start to turn. He’s forced to crawl away, dragging his ruined leg.
A Kingdom soldier named Alvaro shows up to rescue him. “Can you walk, your Majesty?” he asks. Ezekiel says he can, with his cane. “You endanger yourself for me,” he says. “Your Majesty, I have to,” Alvaro replies.
A Savior, Gunther, is hiding nearby and shoots Alvaro. He takes Ezekiel hostage. Remember, they have instructions not to kill him. Gunther realizes that he forgot to confiscate Ezekiel’s sword. Ezekiel says it’s how he’s able to walk. It’s interesting that Ezekiel’s showy weapon is what keeps him upright. Gunther takes it away. He says Ezekiel can keep his cane.
The zombie herd is getting closer and closer. Ezekiel falls and refuses to get up. “Better the dead be my end than a despot’s meaningless foot soldier. Tell me, does Negan know your name?” “I’m Negan,” says Gunther. Ezekiel says he won’t be used to hurt his own people. Gunther thinks this is rich. His people? Those are sheep Ezekiel tricked into believing he was king. Ezekiel would be nothing without Shiva. The tiger gave him an angle and a story. “I got to hand it to you. You played your cards good. You played your people good.” Ezekiel is a meaningless con man in a costume without that tiger.
They reach the barbed wire fence of the outpost. The gate is locked. Ezekiel is not making it over that, so Gunther decides to shoot him. Negan had hoped to have Ezekiel, Maggie, and Rick chained in the yard in front of the Sanctuary, but Ezekiels’s head on a pike will do. Just then, Jerry attacks! YAY JERRY!!!! He chops Gunther literally in two with his battle axe, like a Viking berserker.
Big Swinging Guns
Carol is still on task. She’s inside the outpost where the Saviors are packing up the big guns and ammo. She takes out four of them from the ceiling! Carol is a ninja.
More Saviors come after her but their main priority is to load up the gun and get it back to the Sanctuary.
Carol watches them loading up the truck. She makes her move and engages them in a firefight. The Saviors have Carol surrounded, so she plays her helpless housewife card. I love that that’s become a weapon for her. She tricks them into venturing closer, telling them she can give them intel on where the rest of her people are. She takes a hostage (Joey), demanding the rest of them drop their guns, but the Saviors don’t care. They shoot Joey. Carol grabs a ring of keys he drops. Always thinking, that Carol.
She tells the other Saviors they need to end this. The main guy, Yago, tells her to walk away, but no dice. Carol is not letting them leave with those guns.
Jerry is the man
Jerry politely asks if he can borrow Ezekiel’s sword and quickly dispatches a couple of walkers. He returns it, saying, “Your Majesty.” Ezekiel tells him he doesn’t have to call him that. Jerry says, “Dude, yes I do.” Can we just pause for a moment to bask in our love of Jerry? Because he is so pure.
Jerry starts attacking the chained gate with his axe. The head breaks off, and the herd is closing in. He squares up with his broken axe handle and orders Ezekiel to get behind him. Ezekiel refuses, drawing his sword. He and Jerry have their backs to the fence and prepare to take on the walkers together. “Thank you, your Majesty.” “For what?” “For being such a cool dude.”
Flashback to Carol and Ezekiel preparing for battle. Ezekiel tells her he’s ready to become what he must. To will himself into what he must be. After all, he went from a timid zookeeper to becoming a king. The first step was when he saw Shiva bleeding and decided to help her, leaping into her enclosure. He made the conscious choice and decided he wanted to be the one who leaped. He tells her what Benjamin said to him. “If you’re asked to be the hero, be the hero.” He says he’s finally ready. He asks if she has ever made this kind of decision or she’s always been such a tough cookie. Carol says she decided, just like him. “But life decided some things, too.”
As Ezekiel and Jerry continue to fight desperately, Carol spots them and makes the decision to rescue them and unlock the gate. Which means the Saviors escape with the guns. Ezekiel says they have to get word to Rick, but Carol hears the sound of a motorcycle in close pursuit of the Saviors’ truck. She smiles and tells Ezekiel those Saviors aren’t getting into the Sanctuary.
Rick and Daryl ride again
Sure enough, it’s Rick and Daryl, speeding after the Saviors! Daryl, on motorcycle, pulls out his gun and fires. Then the tailgate on the Saviors’ truck lowers to reveal the mother of all guns. Daryl lays his bike down to avoid fire, but Rick keeps going. Yago, glancing in the rearview while his buddy works the gun, is distracted. He crashes into some wandering walkers, swerving wildly and knocking the gunman off balance. Rick closes the distance and as the gunman resumes firing, Rick pulls to the side because TADAHHHH! It’s Daryl! He’s back on the motorcycle and blazing away. He shoots the bad guy dead. Rick jumps from his jeep into the Savior’s truck and stabs Iago in the stomach. The truck crashes.
Daryl pulls up to investigate as Rick crawls from the weeds. “Hey.” “We got the guns.” “You look like shit.” It’s basically a love fest.
Just some guy
Carol, Jerry, and Ezekiel are fleeing the herd. Ezekiel is at the end of his rope. Jerry tries to encourage him. “Your Majesty…” he says. But Ezekiel is done. “This ain’t gon’ work.” OH SNAP, HE BROKE CHARACTER. “You gotta leave me. I’m slowing you down.” Carol says no. They head into the woods where they come upon a huge drainage ditch filled with walkers and what might be toxic waste. Ezekiel literally cannot. Carol, however, insists. Ezekiel grabs his sword back from Jerry, saying for them to go. He’ll hold them off. Jerry will not leave him. “You’re my KING!” he yells. Ezekiel screams, “No, I’m not! I’m not your king! I’m not your Majesty! Look at what’s in front of us.” He points to the crawling walkers. “That’s what’s real.” He tells them, “Go! Go. I ain’t no king. I ain’t nothing. I’m just some guy.” He’s about to say he’s just some guy who found a tiger. At that moment, said tiger emerges from the trees and leaps on the walkers. This time, Shiva is the one who leaps. And then Ezekiel and the others watch as she is devoured. It’s horrific and heartbreaking. Ezekiel wants to go to her, but Jerry won’t let him. He begs and sobs but Jerry says, “I can’t.”
The closing sequence is Jerry, Carol, and Ezekiel returning to the Kingdom. They’re greeted by confused people. Henry approaches Ezekiel to ask what happened, but Ezekiel simply limps away.