The Walking Dead: season 7 episode 2 review – The Well
After the brutal season 7 premiere, The Walking Dead opted for a more lighthearted viewing experience for this weeks follow up. While the change of pace was welcome, I have to say that never once in all the years I’ve been watching this show have I wished that they would do a musical episode. Okay, that’s admittedly an exaggeration, but there were people singing. A whole damn lot of them. More than I’m comfortable with. Below is our spoiler-heavy review.
Through Carol and Morgan, viewers are introduced to a beloved comic character named King Ezekiel and his collective known as The Kingdom. The community appears to be extremely large and self sufficient, growing their own crops and orchards, raising farm animals, and generally functioning as a close knit faction. They even have cobbler with every meal. And sing. Much like Carol, viewers unfamiliar with the source material may be leery of the new location and it’s inhabitants. Stranger danger and all that. However, this is indeed a group of good people who, inspired by their peculiar leader, remain happy, positive, and well functioning. There’s no dark undercurrent lurking in the shadows here as there were with places like Woodbury and Terminus. Ezekiel helps keep this alive by withholding distressful information from his followers, such as the fact that The Kingdom, like other communities, are also being forced to provide for Negan and The Saviors. He feels this knowledge would only induce fear and conflict for his people and that it’s in their best interest not to know.
While Carol is recovering from her wounds, Morgan has been contributing in his own ways and seems to be quite settled in. He even gets recruited by Ezekiel to train a young man in his fighting style, and their growing friendship proved to be one of the highlights of the episode. Ezekiel trusts him already, even including him when they head out to meet Negan’s men to hand over their share of supplies. Morgan would prefer to get Carol back to Alexandria, but she’s clearly not interested and he eventually accepts that it’s her choice to make. By the end of the episode, he’s even adjusting to the notion that he may, in extreme circumstances, be required to take lives.
Once well enough, Morgan introduces Carol to the eccentric leader and his tiger Shiva. Carol is yet again donning her Suzy-homemaker act, this time to an absurd degree. While her act was convincing in Alexandria, here it doesn’t even feel remotely believable. Thankfully it’s short lived, and the scenes between her and Morgan are genuine and fare much better. The pair are still at odds with their philosophies for the most part, but ultimately agree to disagree while maintaining respect and even appreciation for one another.
The stand out scene of the episode takes place when Carol is caught sneaking out during the night, and Ezekiel and her call one another out on their farcical affectations. Both characters are far more likeable when they’re truly being themselves. Ezekiel reveals his past to her and how he came to be the leader and in the possession of a tiger. His backstory is virtually identical to his comic counterpart, and Ezekiel himself is well done, if not a little over the top. His background in theatre explains why he presents himself so dramatically, but I have to say this translated better in the comics and seemed far less ludicrous. However, I am enjoying the relationship between these characters and look forward to seeing how it develops. It’s worth noting that the Carol and Ezekiel dynamic in the series seems to be replacing that of him and Michonne in the comics, down to having nearly identical scenes and dialog. For those who don’t follow the source material, Andrea is still very much alive and her and Rick are an item, leaving Michonne a free woman who has a romance with Ezekiel. It seems this is the direction the series is heading with Carol and Ezekiel. Despite their newfound connection, Carol is still determined to leave and be on her own. They manage a compromise, and she is allowed to remain in a small house a short distance from The Kingdom, which seems to satisfy her.
The majority of this episode felt, quite frankly, ridiculous. As a comic fan I have been eagerly anticipating the appearance of King Ezekiel for ages, and this introduction was not quite what I expected. While the theatrics are necessary to the character and his community, it really feels as if they took it a little too far by making things overly dramatic. The episode only becomes enjoyable once the facade is dropped and Ezekiel and Carol are both being real with one another. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of promise and potential for these characters, I just hope in the future it plays out a little less hokey. However, it will be fascinating to see Rick’s group interact with them later in the season. Speaking of which, as this was a bottle episode, so no other groups were seen (not a fan of this method of storytelling, but that’s a discussion for another time). In the meantime I look forward to seeing how this all unfolds.
Image credits: AMC, FOX TV