In the latest episode of The Walking Dead, Morgan and Carol meet the King.
So, it took over a week for me to finally watch this episode, as last week’s premiere had me shook. Not only did the premiere exceed my expectations, but it made me realize that I won’t be seeing Glenn’s pretty face or hearing Abraham’s brilliant swear quotes anymore. Ever again. Dammit! At least this week there was very little carnage. And I am so thankful for that.
After Carol and Morgan were rescued by the dudes in strange gear (wearing their version of a knight’s armor), they were all making their way to safety before walkers attacked. As Morgan and his new companions fought off the walkers, Carol made a slow run for it, hallucinating with each step. She was seeing the walkers as they were: fully human, alive. Luckily, Morgan and his crew were joined by more dudes (and dudettes) in strange gear to save the day. Carol was given the medical attention she needed and, after being asleep for two days, Carol woke up, Morgan sitting by her bedside.
As Morgan pushed Carol in her wheelchair through a seemingly thriving community, she had questions. Where were they? A place called The Kingdom. Who ran the place? Ummmm. “Morgan?” So, about that. Apparently, the Kingdom was run by a man named King Ezekiel. Yup, that’s right. King. Ezekiel. And man, was he a different kind of something.
Carol and Morgan arrived in a building that housed an auditorium where the King and his pet tiger Shiva were waiting. Oh, did I forget that part? Yeah, the man has a pet tiger. A tiger. As a pet. King Ezekiel’s pet tiger Shiva. Ok, we’re clear? Let’s move on.
King Ezekiel (played by the very handsome Khary Payton) was fond of the English of old, using words like “fair maiden,” “mad” instead of “crazy,” and my favorite, “pitch-kettled.” WTF??? Is he crazy? Why does he speak that way? What is going on?
Carol plays along and does her “I’m just a sweet, older white woman” routine, which seems to work. “I don’t know what the hell’s going on in the most wonderful way,” she says to the King. How she could say anything with a tiger staring her down is beyond me. I guess once you’ve spent enough time killing walkers and dodging psychopaths, a tiger doesn’t mean squat.
After their meeting, Morgan wheels Carol outside and before he comes to a complete stop, it seems, Carol is ready with the “are you shitting me?” comments. She doesn’t buy the whole act and thinks the Kingdom is a joke. But Morgan wants them to stay for a bit anyway, just in case. But Carol is leaving, no matter what. She begins to make her plans, while the rest of the Kingdom (including the choir), are living and trying to enjoy the crazy world that exists.
Later, Morgan, King Ezekiel and some of his guards head out to go hunting. They round up some pigs, who they trap using walkers as bait. Morgan asks about this strategy and Richard, one of the guards says, “Because I want their bellies full of rot.” Okaayyyyy. We find out why shortly. Apparently, the King has a deal with the Saviors, who he meets with to deliver the slaughtered (and walker-fattened) pigs. Yeah, Negan may have the King by the balls, but damn if the King isn’t screwing him over in his own unique way. I hope Negan gets a big ole helping of those pigs after what he did to Glenn and Abraham.
After the drop-off, Morgan confronts the King, since he knows all about the Saviors. Ezekiel tells Morgan that the deal with Negan is a well-kept secret from the rest of his subjects and he’d like to keep it that way. Sometimes you have to make a deal with the devil to have peace on earth. Morgan gets it, but wants to talk to Carol. But she’s long gone, as she said she would be.
Later that night, Carol is caught swiping food from the garden by the good King himself. He asks Jerry to leave them be (who obliges with a cheerful “deuces”) and the real Ezekiel speaks. No longer does he speak like King Lear, but just a regular dude trying to keep it all together. He explains how he became the King and how Shiva became his pet. But he also offers Carol an alternative to leaving. And she takes him up on his offer.
The next day, Carol and Morgan ride back to the house where Carol saw a walker standing in the window (and hallucinated what it looked like when it was still human). Morgan leaves her there and Carol makes the place a home. As she lights a fire, she hears a knock at the door and then a roar. The King and his kitty have come for a visit.
Will Carol and Morgan remain at the Kingdom? What will they do when they learn about Glenn and Abraham? More importantly, are Carol and King Ezekiel getting together? Because that would be OUTSTANDING.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. Photos courtesy of AMC.