“And yet, I smile.”
After last week’s ending, things were looking uncertain for Ezekiel. He’d walked right into a trap and come under fire from a very large and very powerful gun. This episode spends the vast majority of it’s running time focusing on the King, and that was a good decision. It’s a thrilling episode, with plenty of action. But it is also one of the sadder ones, with a big character death straight from the comics.
The episode opens with a speech from King Ezekiel. A lot of episodes open with big speeches, but Ezekiel can get away with it because it just furthers the character he’s playing – The King. There’s a great moment early on in the episode as his followers (Kingdom-ers?) all gather around him and then it cuts, and he is swamped by corpses and guts and limbs instead. It’s a really effective scene, and starts the action on a horrific note. Also a shout out to the makeup department for this one. Gore and blood effects have always been the show’s bread and butter, but this episode was like Saving Private Ryan. It felt real and disquieting.
Things went from bad to worse for Ezekiel though. He was soon found by a Savior who looked like a cross between Jeffrey Dahmer and iDubbz, who lectured him on all the ways he was a schmuck. Things looked bleak for the King, when all of a sudden everyone’s favourite character cleaved the Savior in half. That’s right, it was Jerry, one of the most surprising characters on the show. He’s picked up a real fan following thanks to his constant sunny attitude and badass war axe – both of which don’t make it out of this episode unscathed.
The scene everyone is talking about however is Shiva’s death, exactly like it happens in the comic. A few people have said that a tiger obviously couldn’t be taken down by a dozen walking corpses. But I think I will wait until corpses walk the earth before we debate on what’s stronger out of that and a tiger. Khary Payton is really stunning here, as he watches his beloved friend die. Especially when you consider he’s acting to a CGI cat (great job on that too). It’s particularly touching when you remember that Ezekiel saved Shiva when she had busted her leg, and now she returns the favour for him.
We get some badass Carol in this episode, as she returns to her murdery ways for good – machine gunning a room full of people. She kills a good chunk of people, and then saves Ezekiel’s life. Her reputation as the most useful member of the group remains. Hopefully she can help Ezekiel get back on his feet after this episode. We know there’s a connection between the two, hopefully they can work on that.
After the guns and Saviors get away, there’s a really cool moment where you hear a motorbike in the distance, and Carol reassures us that the gun won’t reach the Sanctuary. It’s like the bat signal, but for Daryl.
And that brings us to the kickass car chase with Rick and Daryl, again using their co-op moves to get the better of the enemies. The Walking Dead has never really had cause to do a car chase, but I thought the whole thing was awesome, especially Rick’s jump to the enemy truck. I’ve seen some people complaining about the 50. cal not taking out the jeep, which brings me to a group of people I’ve really started to detest – gun people. You know the guys I’m talking about, the neckbeards online complaining about ‘trigger discipline’ and ‘recoil’. I’m sure these people will be very useful in the actual apocalypse, but right now I kinda wish they’d just let the rest of us, who don’t expect every shootout to be like Heat, enjoy the show.
Another action packed episode of an action packed season. Shiva’s death was well done and will not disappoint fans of the comic. Ezekiel gets brought back down to the level of an actual human and not a mythic figure. Hopefully this will win over some of his detractors. I’m certain that it’ll be a while until we see him smile again.
I’m glad to see that next week’s will be a quieter, Negan-centric episode. Hopefully we get some of his backstory, I know I’ve missed him.
Reviewed by Jack