After last week’s trauma on The Walking Dead, it was nice to have a moment to breathe. As the show likes to do, we caught up with the adventures of Carol and Morgan after their shenanigans from last season. In case you forgot, towards the end of lasts season, Carol and Morgan came to blows (literally) over their conflicting ideologies. Carol started to become unraveled and left Alexandria. Morgan went after her. Bad stuff happened and we learned that Morgan and a wounded Carol have ended up in the company of the Kingdom.
Just so you know, there will be MILD SPOILERS for this episode. The spoilers are so small, that they do not warrant a large visual aid like last week. Instead, we will all pretend like the internet is full of responsible people who understand what spoilers are.
So this episode was all about Carol and Morgan. Oh yeah and it was about The Kingdom and King Ezekiel too. More on those idiots later.
Many people disagree with the direction Carol’s character has taken lately. Let’s be honest: Carol is at her best when she is a full blown bad-ass. When the Wolves broke into Alexandria, Carol was the one who took one of their disguises in order to turn the attack on them. Carol ambushed the ambushers. It wasn’t Rick or even Daryl “The Tank Killer”. It was Carol. Carol who started the series as the battered wife of that one guy who got eaten by the walkers early on. Carol who put down a psychopathic child that would have surely grown up to be a serial killer. Carol who has always done what was needed in order to survive. After all that the character has been through, she starts to revert back to being useless? And even then, we aren’t entirely sure why she is having this apocalyptic mental breakdown. She was once one of the strongest of the survivors but now she is hallucinating while there is a battle going on. Another thing that is annoying about the current state of Carol, is that everyone knows that it will take all damn season for her to get back to the ass-kicking character that she is. She will probably have a heart to heart with Morgan and figure things out. Odds are that we never see Carol return to the level of badassery she had before, which is an absolute shame.
The path that Morgan is on seems to be a little more interesting. After pushing the “all life is precious ” agenda for so long, Morgan found himself face to face with his own conviction. In order to save Carol, he had to kill someone and we all know how crazy Morgan gets when he kills someone. Remember the roped off circles that he would “clear”? Yeah, crazier than a bag of squirrels. Thankfully, this time he just seems a little confused. There was even a line in the episode where Morgan is talking to his new Padawan where is says that now he is just “fumbling through”. That also sums up fairly well how Morgan is being handled. He started off as Rick’s (and the audience’s) guide to the apocalypse. Then he went nuts. Then he was sane. Then he went nuts. Now he is mostly sane. Granted, it seems as though the character is coming to terms about killing while maintaining the sanctity of life, however, it leaves little room for anymore growth. There are only so many times you can have a character lose his mind before the audience gets tired of it. To be honest, Morgan was the most interesting when he first showed up in Alexandria. Somehow, he had become a Jedi Master with that twisted walking stick, yet, like Batman, he would not kill anyone for any reason. Having a character with a belief that flew directly in the face of the zombie apocalypse was refreshing.
So, after her first meeting with King Ezekiel, Carol summed things up in the best possible way by saying, “You have got to be shitting me.” No one could have said it better. The sheer amount of ridiculousness presented by Ezekiel is maddening. The guy speaks like he is King Arthur reborn. You know who speaks like a king in modern times? Crazy people. Honestly, Ezekiel is way too over the top to be taken seriously. Which begs the question, why do the people in the Kingdom accept his craziness? Granted, the guy has a tiger, but still! He sounds like a lunatic. The fact that everyone in the Kingdom is fine with Ezekiel, says a lot about what kind of people live in the Kingdom. Even when he spoke normally with Carol and shared his background, one still couldn’t get over the fact that he sounded like a madman. Plus, the difference between his two “personas” is not quite large enough. One thing that can’t be denied about Ezekiel is that he called Carol out very nicely. He was one of the very few people to see through her “happily confused simpleton” role that she was playing. Admittedly, there was a moment of fear that she truly had no idea how to handle the situation. Her solution of running away left much to be desired and made the audience want the old Carol back.
The only real complaint about the tiger is that the CG effects were somewhat obvious. This ended up becoming more of a distraction, than a plot device. Still, the tiger was instrumental in part of Ezekiel’s background which he revealed to Carol.
The performances didn’t really allow the actors to let loose like last week’s episode, however, Melissa McBride did a superb job of conveying raw confusion at her first meeting with Ezekiel. For a second, it was completely believable that she was going to say that Ezekiel was stone cold crazy. Yet, nuances in her delivery told the audience that she was still in some sort of control. So when she met up with Morgan after meeting the king, we all knew what she was going to say before she said it. Ok, maybe not the exact words, but we were definitely cognizant of her motivations before she spoke with Morgan.
Overall, the episode was a great way to relax after the events of the season premiere. It was good to see Ezekiel and the Kingdom be introduced, even though Ezekiel seemed like a cartoon character instead of a leader in the free world. Carol and Morgan’s characters need to be heading to a better place than simply being broken again. Bring back bad-ass Carol and pacifist Morgan in order to make them interesting again.