Away from Negan’s chaos, Morgan and Carol are approached by a couple of young men checking if they are alright. They lead Morgan and Carol back to an unknown community for her to recover. When she wakes after 2 days, Morgan takes her to an auditorium, where she meets Ezekiel and his pet tiger Shiva. Taken aback by the medieval presentation, Carol goes into survival mode while she continues to feel out her safety and look for a chance to escape. Meanwhile, Morgan continues to explore the intentions of Ezekiel and find his place as part of the Kingdom.
Carol’s Trust Issues: When we last left Carol, she was ready to die. Taking lives just weighed too much on her, so to be dragged into a new community left her in a state of distress. She cannot accept Morgan’s attempts to try to save her physically, emotionally, and morally. While she can be real with him, she also refuses to listen to anything he says. The sweet persona works on the residents of the Kingdom initially, but Ezekiel saw right through it. He told his story in an effort to make a connection, but it was actually his refusal to let her live in peace outside of the Kingdom that may have finally taken a brick out of the wall.
Morgan’s Purpose: Throughout the episode, Morgan spent much of his effort trying to protect Carol and convince her not to leave the Kingdom. Since leaving Rick, he has made it his mission to protect a member of his new family. Now at the Kingdom and with Carol trying to make her escape regardless of his effort, he has decided to spend more time with Ezekiel to understand how this community seems to work so well. It was a shock to him to find out that the Saviors know about and syphon off resources from the Kingdom, but he also seemed to understand Ezekiel’s hesitation with revealing the reality of the Saviors to the rest of his people. While he first believed that Ezekiel brought him along because of his last encounter with a Savior, he discovered that Ezekiel actually respected Morgan’s desire for peace.
Ezekiel’s History: For fans who have not read the comics, the presentation of an overdramatic king and his tiger probably felt like the show has lost its way. Not until Ezekiel revealed his backstory did he seem to have a true sense of understanding of the world he was in. Being a zookeeper seemed like an odd place to have started from to become the leader of this community, but anyone walking in with a tamed tiger makes sense for becoming the king of the kingdom. What his story truly revealed was that he was just trying to find a sense of purpose like everyone else after the apocalypse. Being able to help people feel safe and be productive made him feel good. He looks to be a significant influence on Carol, helping her try to recover her broken connection with the world and with those that care for her.
Palate Cleanser: A couple of quick things…this episode was necessary after the season premiere. It was quite gruesome and many actually had significant issue with it. There were even some groups that wanted to attack the show for going too far and being too gory for children. The show airs at 9pm on Sunday and is rated for more mature audiences. The comics provided the roadmap for the deaths of Glenn and Abraham (even if only slightly altered). I agree that the images were hard to get out of my head, but that moment was so iconic of the show that I can accept it for what it is. Just like the Red Wedding for Game of Thrones, Glenn’s death and Negan’s reveal are critical for pushing the story forward.
If you are too put off by the first episode of season seven, then do not worry about continuing with the show. Things are only going to get more gruesome in a zombie apocalypse.
Question of the Week: Given Carol’s attempt to distance herself, do you think there is opportunity in her meeting Ezekiel to find a meaningful connection to the world?
In Memoriam: a handful of walkers