The Walking Dead peeps gave us a moment to breathe on Sunday’s (Oct. 30, 2016) episode, free from any horrific, heart-wrenching deaths (save for a few walkers), and a chance to meet some new characters we think we’re going to really like.
[Stop now if you haven’t caught up on The Walking Dead]
At the end of Season 6, we saw how Carol had pretty much given up. She left Alexandria because she knew she didn’t want to kill anymore and she wasn’t going to stand around and watch her friends die. Morgan found her nearly dead and ended up killing a Savior to save her. Suddenly, men on horses showed up and offered their help.
This is how the episode “The Well” begins, with a wounded Carol being transported on a cart by what looks like knights on horseback. When they are attacked by walkers, and Carol tries to run off and hallucinates seeing live people who are really dead, the knights and Morgan are there to save her again.
When she wakes up, bandaged and in a comfortable bed, Morgan is there to explain the deal. He tells her they are in the Kingdom – a place that seems very idyllic with gardens and people living in peaceful conditions. Yeah, right. Carol has seen this all before, and it never really works out. Then, she meets King Ezekiel, sitting on his throne in an emptied theater, with a giant ass tiger named Shiva beside him, growling.
Ezekiel speaks as if they are in King Arthur’s realm. Carol and Morgan give each other looks as the big kitty walks around. “Perhaps you think me mad? That this place is just a mirage. What do you think of me, Carol?” asks Ezekiel. Then she breaks out in a huge grin, and we immediately know the Suzy homemaker game is on. “I think you’re amazing!” she exclaims. “I don’t know what the hell is going on in the most wonderful way!”
The king is very gracious to her, and offers her whatever she wants. As he puts it, “Drink from the well, replenish the well.” She coos, “Maybe just a hairbrush. I didn’t know I was meeting royalty.” But once Morgan takes her outside, she drops it. “You’re shitting me, right?” She wants to just go, and even though Morgan vows he isn’t going to let her die out there, she just doesn’t care. When the moment presents itself, she’s outtie.
Meanwhile, Morgan goes hunting with the Ezekiel and some others. They gather up wild pigs and feed them zombie meat, so their “bellies are full of rot.” Then they slaughter them, but all in secret from the rest of the Kingdom. Can you guess why? Yes, they are also servicing the Saviors and must provide goods when they are required (and giving them tainted pig meat is just a kind of an extra f**k you).
Morgan also befriends a young squire named Ben, who he trains with the rod because Ezekiel asks him to. Ben explains why Ezkiel doesn’t want the Kingdom to know about the Saviors because then people might want to fight them. We all know how that can go.
Carol gathers what she can from the Kingdom, playing her happy game, so when Morgan comes into her room, she’s gone. Well, not quite. She runs into Ezkiel on her way out, and he calls her on her “bullshit.” She keeps it real. “This place is a joke. You are giving people a fairy tale.” This is when Ezekiel drops his act, too.
No, he’s not crazy thinking he’s King Arthur. He is only playing his part so he can lead the people who look up to him. He was a zookeeper before the apocalypse, and he explains how he saved Shiva’s life and in return, the tiger will never harm him or anyone else (unless he says so). This is how he came to lead. “Dude with a tiger? Shoot,” he laughs.
He wants Carol to change her mind and stay. “I’m sorry, for all the bad you’ve been through. There’s so much of it out there. Too much. It’s all bad out there, especially when you’re alone… but it isn’t all bad. Where there’s life, there’s life.” Carol asks, “Why do you care?” He replies, “Because it makes me feel good.”
This tactic works a little. Carol leaves the Kingdom but takes up residence in a house nearby. She can be alone but not too far from safety, if she needs it. And her first guest? Ezekiel and Shiva the tiger. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Still, we wonder how Morgan and Carol will react when they find out what happened to Rick and the crew. Daryl is being held captive and in serious trouble, will Carol rescue him like the badass she is? Will Morgan convince the Kingdom to team up with Alexandria and wipe out Negan and the Saviors for good? This is, of course, what we hope. Maybe this series will end with everyone safe and happy.