This week’s episode was called “Some Guy”, and was essentially a chronicle of the deconstruction of King Ezekiel. We jumped back and forth between the eve of battle, when Ezekiel was a confident leader, assuring his troops that glory would be theirs, and the aftermath of the Savior ambush, where Ezekiel was left buried under a pile of his loyal subjects’ bodies. Bodies which would soon be reanimated.
Wounded and with only his sword cane for protection, Ezekiel had real issues defending himself, and throughout the course of the episode his bravado was stripped away, even his affected accent slipping as he pleaded with Jerry and Carol to leave him behind, and not to refer to him as ‘your majesty’. Ezekiel, when faced with the reality of battle, realised what we’ve all been thinking – his charade was ridiculous. In a post-apocalyptic world where the dead vastly outnumber the living, what’s the point of pomp and ceremony?
At one point, captured by a Savior who had a distinctly ‘Jeffrey Dahmer played by Jim Carrey’ vibe about him, Ezekiel was faced with the prospect of becoming one of The Sanctuary’s trophy exhibits, slowly rotting on a pike at the gates. It was Jerry (ah, Jerry. If anything happens to him, I’m throwing my TV out of a window) who came to the rescue, and Jerry who reiterated the importance of having something or someone to nail your colours to, and made it clear that the people of The Kingdom follow Ezekiel because he’s a ‘cool dude’.
But after Jerry and Ezekiel were confronted with a seemingly unbeatable mob of walkers, it was Carol who came to their aid. Carol was unabashedly badass in this episode, not only outwitting and out-surviving a group of Saviors single handedly, but managing to get her hands on some of the machine guns which Team Rick is so obsessed with. Of course, saving Ezekiel and Jerry meant letting the remaining Saviors get away with the weapons, but luckily Rick and Daryl were close behind to give chase. It could have gone either way with Carol. Pragmatic to the point of callousness, it would have been just as believable had Carol gone after the guns for the greater cause. But the show has made Ezekiel’s fondness for Carol pretty obvious from day one, and now it seems Carol maybe returns his affections. The scene in which Ezekiel confessed to having made the choice to become this persona and Carol admitted the same, illustrated their growing commonality and trust.
There was a lot of mention about how instrumental Shiva was in enabling Ezekiel to ‘step up’, and a good deal of foreshadowing of the tiger’s sad demise. She died heroically, saving her master from a horde of swamp-bloated zombies, and symbolically the creature’s death was the icing on the cake for Ezekiel, who lived to watch almost every living thing loyal to him destroyed. While Ezekiel may have been able to get over the loss of his army in battle, it’s unlikely his regal alter ego will survive the loss of his beloved Queen.
While it was interesting to see beneath the King’s veneer, this episode highlighted many of the problems I’ve been having with the series this year. Firstly, there is the amount of repetition. We have heard Ezekiel give the same rallying speech in almost every episode so far this season. This is largely a structural issue, but even the story about Shiva and his zookeeper roots has been told before.
Secondly, it’s nigh on impossible to work out who is where and what is even happening from a purely narrative perspective! Messing with the time frames, skipping backwards and forwards, leaving gaps in the various plot strands, confusing geography, and spending whole episodes focusing on just a few characters whilst leaving others out of the picture for weeks – all of these factors are making this season quite hard to follow and denying the audience the chance to really understand the stakes. Without context, it’s difficult to get a handle on what’s important and what’s throw-away in the scheme of things.
“Some Guy” took pains to explore how the world and events present people with choices to make about who they’re going to be when push comes to shove. The trouble is, we’ve heard it all before. It remains to be seen how the devastation of The Kingdom will affect the bigger picture, but The Walking Dead really needs to avoid repetition and confusing, drawn out threads if its to avoid the same pitfalls as last season.
Final Grade: D
+ Jerry and his axe were the stars of the show.
+ Carol proved herself to be the most capable person in the show yet again.
+ There were some of those well-designed walkers I was bemoaning the lack of last week!
– I get that Shiva was a totem of Ezekiel’s belief in his own leadership, but it seems a waste that the poor thing went down so easily. RIP, the prettiest and sassiest character in the show.
– There was more clunky dialogue in this episode, with a lot of rehashed speeches and platitudes.
– Much of the action seemed almost comically slow. Yes, Ezekiel was injured, but him falling over the walkers and begging Carol and Jerry to leave him when at other points he was basically running, seemed really awkward and jarring.
Extra Thought: Is Ezekiel’s fall from grace a taste of things to come for the alliance? His people out in the field seem faithful, but will those who have lost loved ones back at The Kingdom be so forgiving?
What did you think? Did this episode put a tiger in your tank? Or did it just tank? Sound off in the comments, or over on Twitter!