What's this? Two entertaining episodes in a row? After last week's morality check in “Monsters,” “Some Guy” ramped up the action and brought tragedy to the people of the Kingdom.
And while there was a bit more context to this week's episode (which was strengthened greatly by the decision to focus on smaller stories within the larger war), it also made the prior episodes feel even more like a huge missed opportunity. The stakes would hold so much more weight if the show had decided to give viewers even a little insight into what the hell was going on.
Still, credit where credit is due: this war seems to be moving in the right direction. Can we keep the momentum going? Or will we inevitably end up with an entire episode stinkin' it up with Discount Milla Jovovich & the Garbage People?
From displays of dominance to faction elimination, a look at which characters saw their prospects rise this week.
Pritpaul Bains: Jerry
I've been waiting for this since last season, and tonight it finally happened. Jerry had his time to shine, and it was glorious. From axing Gunther in two to proving his loyalty to Ezekiel time and time again to admitting to listening to Hamilton on-set to pump himself up for fight scenes, Jerry killed not only this episode but everything in it as well.
And what's a Jerry segment without a verbal example of his absolute, zen-like chill? “Thank you, your majesty … for bein' such a cool dude.”
HM: AMC. The cable network has struggled to find a second show to amp up their 1-2 ratings punch ever since Mad Men and Breaking Bad went off the air (stop trying to make Into the Badlands happen, you guys), but at least they'll save some decent coin on post-production now that they won't have to deal with Shiva anymore.
Adam Wagner: Carol
Doing her best Metal Gear Solid impression, Carol almost singlehandedly saved the day—well, the mission … the day was still pretty shitty. Crawling around the ceiling vents like a more badass John McClane, Carol rained gunfire from above and took out a whole slew of Saviors. She then managed to track down the rest and would have finished the job if it weren’t for that meddling King.
But don’t fret the decision, Carol. I would always make the decision to save
the King Jerry. With Ezekiel now seemingly just “Some Guy,” will Carol have to don the crown in the Kingdom to keep everyone together?
Joe Brosnan: The Jeffrey Dahmer-Looking Savior
Don’t you just hate product placement these days? My Friend Dahmer came out less than two weeks ago, and already the main character has spun off into The Walking Dead! What’s next, a Lord of the Rings TV show?
Joking aside, this nameless “Negan” (IMDb says Gunther, but I never heard it mentioned) succeeded in one of television’s most difficult roles: memorable TWD extra. We knew he’d die before long—either at the hands of Carol or Jerry—but I felt myself appreciating him in a way I never feel towards the show’s overabundance of characters. In a short amount of time, he proved himself to be smart, calculating, and pragmatic. Unfortunately, like a dead magician or an Eli Manning-led offense, it was the chains that proved his undoing. At least he got a badass death.
From poor decisions to lost lives, a look at which characters lost ground this week.
I think the King is going to dread (see what I did there?) facing his Kingdom. He may not be solely responsible for how everything went down, but he is ultimately the one to blame for the significant loss of life of his people. Ezekiel has always inspired, but he is hardly battle-tested, as we learned in his conversation with Carol prior to the battle. All the training in the world can't prepare you for seeing your friends and family die in front of you—especially when they then reanimate and try to eat you.
We’ve seen the loss of loved ones and the toll of responsibility cripple even the strongest characters on this show, and it seems Ezekiel is wholly beat down and broken at this point. He’s already got a beard and dreads, how’s the show going to show his descent into depression and madness without facial hair to grow unkempt?
2017 will be defined by its many, many periods of outrageousness, but for me, it’ll be remembered as the year we lost our favorite CGI pals. First, there was Viserion, done in by an ice javelin and forced to live a reanimated life as the Night King’s chauffer. Then, there was Dart, the nougat-loving demidog forced to die a cruel, nougat-less death. And now you can add Shiva to the list. Everyone’s favorite zombie-killing tiger went out in a blaze of questionably-required glory last night in what was easily the most emotional death in TWD since Glenn was introduced to Lucille. I wonder how quickly we’ll see zombie Shiva?
PB: The Kingdom
Ezekiel's post-apocalyptic Ren Faire utopia is about to face its stiffest test. Their entire army has been wiped out, most of the settlement's families have been torn asunder, and the one man they all loved and trusted to get them through these difficult times is (understandably) a broken shell.
If Ezekiel can't pull himself back together relatively soon (and frankly, even if he does), there's every chance that what was once the most harmonious settlement in the post-apocalypse will be undergoing some civil upheaval.
HM: Ezekiel. I don't think he's smiling anymore.
A tribute to the late, great Hershel Greene, this section searches for the best displays of humanity amidst chaos this week.
Opting to forego securing a .50-caliber machine gun and instead rescue a hobbled zookeeper and his dandy axe-wielding punchline. If that’s not humanistic, I don’t know what is.
PB: Therapist Savior (aka Gunther)
Sure, Gunther didn't last long (thanks Jerry!), but he stuck around long enough to administer a heaping dose of reality to Ezekiel. A little on the nose, perhaps (casting him as some kind of hybrid of young Stephen King and Jeffrey Dahmer didn't help his cause), but he laid bare all of Ezekiel's doubts and insecurities in one fell swoop.
Did Ezekiel step up to fill a void for people who needed something, someone, to rally around? Did he just use Shiva and a story to take advantage of a lot of people in a vulnerable situation? Gunther drags this to the surface of the King's mind, openly taunting him: “You got them all killed, and they're still following you.” If Ezekiel manages to bounce back from this, maybe he'll take a slightly more democratic approach to the Kingdom going forward—if for no other reason than to spread around the responsibility a bit.
DUUUUDE!!!! Jerry has always been Ezekiel’s right-hand man, and this week he was also his left-leg dude. First, he split Dopey Dahmer in half just before he was able to commit regicide.
Then, he strung together enough “dudes” to rival a Trey Parker/Matt Stone argument. Finally, he continuously sacrificed his safety to ensure the King’s. Jerry’s the hero the world deserves and the one it needs.
- Screw the rest of the Kingdom. DID ANYONE SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO JERRY? … Never mind, there he is. (PB)
- JERRRRYYYY! (AW)
- Where did Rick and Daryl come from? (JB)
- SHIIIVVAAAAA NOOOOOO! (AW)
- How did Carol know Rick and Daryl were coming? (JB)
- How did the Saviors know this particular outpost would be attacked, and why was it important enough for them to transport the heavy weaponry there instead of just keeping it at the Sanctuary? Seems like it would've been a lot more useful just being there in the first place, rather than having to rush it around like they are. (PB)
- Where did Rick’s slow-ass Jeep come from? (JB)
- God, please grant Gabriel's pants the strength to hold on another week—he's approaching a month of sittin' in shittin' pants. #LaundryWatch (AW)
- When did Rick find the time to add bulletproof armor to the Jeep’s grill? (JB)
- I would watch an entire episode consisting of nothing but Carol fucking Rainbow Six'ing it through a Savior compound. (PB)
- Why do I still care about the finer details of this show? (JB)
Zombie Kill of the Week
Ezekiel's mercy kill.