After the traumatic, brutal and unnecessary events of The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere, it was nice to take a backseat on Rick’s story in the favour of a slow-moving episode that seems to be how The Walking Dead has traditionally done things. One week there’ll be a quick, rapid fire episode that will have dramatic ramifications for the show followed by one with significantly less stuff happening, and “The Well” was no different. This should have been the season premiere, not the epilogue to Season 6 that we got last time out. There were so many ways they could have handled the cliffhanger better than they did. Perhaps have the first death happen in the finale of Season 6 while the second one happens in the premiere of Season 7. It would certainly have come as more of a shock and maybe less time would have been spent worrying who’s going to make it out alive. Eventually most of us ended up figuring it out anyway.
Anyway, this episode doesn’t spend much time dealing with the grief and Negan’s character, instead focusing the attention on Carol and Morgan and explaining what happened to these two last season. If you remember, they weren’t with the main group who were captured by Negan, so it was interesting to see where both characters would end up at the start of the season following their capture. As it turned out Morgan got to introduce Carol to the Kingdom, a thriving community living in a mostly Walker-free city. The Kingdom looks like everything everybody has always been searching towards, but knowing what The Walking Dead has been consistently doing to us time and time again, it’s unlikely that the show is going to keep this peaceful utopia in place for long. After all, we all know how well Alexandria turned out, don’t we?
It was a welcome refresher to have an episode of The Walking Dead that wasn’t entirely doom and gloom this week. Here we meet King Ezekiel, the leader, and his menacing tiger named Shiva. It’s something that could have totally backfired in how this introduction was handled and the portrayal of King Ezekiel could have come off as weak or over the top, but for the most part the show executes it pretty well. Khary Payton makes a neat addition to the show and depending on how long his character can survive in this horrifying reality of The Walking Dead, there are plenty of options to take with him. Will he be an enemy or a friend of Rick’s? Will he go toe-to-toe with Negan despite being willing to contribute to the Saviors’ required sacrifices? I guess this is one of the benefits of only having read the first volume of the comic: I don’t know what’s going to happen next. One cool bit was that the pigs that were being sacrificed to the Saviors were being fed zombie corpses which would mean that whoever eats them is going to get a nasty surprise.
Ezekiel is wanting to build up an army with the potential to defeat the Saviors. He believes that Carol and Morgan are going to be able to help him do so, especially when he’s seen how experienced they appear to be. Carol, however, is dealing with her own problems and needs convincing by Ezekiel to get out of her current state and stick around rather than heading off into the wild. Morgan finds himself sticking around to help teach others how to fight as well as looking after Carol, teaching Ben how to use a staff. This marks a significant change in the status quo to anything that The Walking Dead has shown us so far, a group of people who are apparently not twisted and screwed up and don’t have a really dark side to them like The Wolves, The Governor and Terminus. It may be early stages but for now Ezekiel’s addition is shaping up to be a good thing.
Now we just have to wait and see how long it will be before Rick inevitably finds a way to screw everything up.
The Walking Dead continues next Sunday at 9pm on AMC. Let me know what you thought of this episode in the comments section below!