The Walking Dead: Some Guy

"If you're asked to be the hero, be the hero."

I've been brooding about this episode since I saw it last night, and not in a positive way. (Is there a good way to brood?)
It made sense that an episode centered on King Ezekiel would be about a test of his character, but seeing him lose nearly all of his soldiers, followed by the loss of Shiva, was just too depressing. Even for The Walking Dead, whose subtitle might as well be "Depressing Shit R Us."

The nasty Savior with the glasses saw Ezekiel as a despicable con man that had enslaved his people. (And by the way, "despicable con man who enslaved his people," who does that sound like, hmmm?) Early in the episode, we saw an exhausted and depressed Ezekiel alone, washing his face and putting the finishing touches on his "costume" before giving an uplifting, inspirational speech to his people. "And yet, I smile." I think that early scene was there specifically to show us that Ezekiel doesn't smile when he's alone. Ezekiel is an actor, very conscious of the fact that he's playing a part, and how important it is to the Kingdom.

It didn't surprise me that Ezekiel kept insisting that Jerry go on without him. It also didn't surprise me that Jerry refused to do it. Jerry is aware that Ezekiel is just "some guy," but also sees him as a strong, smart leader who cares deeply about his people. For me, the best exchange in the episode was:

Jerry: "Your Majesty."
Ezekiel: "You don't need to call me that."
Jerry: "Dude. Yes, I do."

Shiva has always been a symbol of Ezekiel's power. Just by existing, Shiva made Ezekiel impressive, larger than life. She was so delightful, an element of joyful near-fantasy for such a gloomy show. The episode that introduced Shiva last season was the first episode of The Walking Dead that made me repeatedly laugh out loud. So Shiva's death was too predictable. I knew they'd do it and honestly, I'm somewhat grateful they did it before I became too attached to her. (Yes, I'm a cat person.) I'm also glad they didn't show her dying. I guess it would be harder to show a CGI tiger dying than, say, a horse or a dog.

So now, Ezekiel has to go on without his army, and without his beautiful tiger. It's so sad. But I guess we'll find out for sure what sort of man Ezekiel really is, even though I'm pretty sure I know already. Shiva was gorgeous and fabulous, but it wasn't Shiva who made Ezekiel who he is.

I really liked Ezekiel's pre-battle discussion with Carol about fighting, bravery and strength. Carol is most certainly another person who was changed dramatically by the zombie apocalypse. Wasn't it wonderful seeing her as such a badass again, like her one-woman attack on Terminus? She even did her "I'm so helpless" act when she ran out of ammo, saying in a scared little voice that she'd tell them where her people were if they would promise not to kill her. And they fell for it, just as if she hadn't just killed half of them.

But even after all that effort and risk, the practical, pragmatic Carol was ready to give up those very important guns to save Ezekiel and Jerry. She knows that it's the people who are important.


Fortunately, Rick and Daryl took up the slack, giving us an enjoyable Indiana Jones chase sequence, complete with the guy with the gun in the back of the jeep, and Rick doing a daring leap from jeep to jeep. A victory of sorts, even for a devastating episode like this one. That sequence almost felt like it didn't fit into the rest of the episode, but it was still great so I'm okay with that.

Bits:

-- They made sure we saw the soldier putting her little boy's flower into her armband, like a knight's favor, and that she didn't make it. Maybe a little too heavy on the symbolism there, guys.

-- Jerry axed the Glasses Savior in half. And we got to see it from the inside.

-- Glasses Savior told Ezekiel what Negan has planned for Ezekiel, Rick and Maggie: the walker moat in front of the Sanctuary.

-- A Savior named Joey died. Is that the other Joey? I remember that Fat Joey was called that because there was another Joey.

-- Come on. They had to kill off Shiva in a creek full of toxic waste? Really? Her death was ugly enough.

Quotes:

Glasses Savior: "Take away that tiger, and what's left? Just some meaningless con man in a costume."

(when they thought the end was approaching)
Jerry: "Thank you, your Majesty."
Ezekiel: "For what?"
Jerry: "For being such a cool dude."

Ezekiel: "...and then at work, a 500-pound tiger needed my help. And as she bled, I did not just leap into her enclosure. I was not seized by any deep-seated instinct. There were only a few seconds that passed, but I deliberated. I thought about doing it. Weighing the risk of approaching such a beast. And I thought about not doing it. I stood there, considering who I'd be in either iteration. And I decided I wanted to be the one who leapt."

Rick: "We got the guns."
Daryl: "You look like shit."

Can I skip the rating on this one? It might be irrational, but I'm pretty upset about losing that great big fake tiger,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.

2 comments:

Patryk said...

I bet the tiger was too expensive to keep so no wonder they killed it in hte most brutal way they could think of. Just to destroy the one still 100% good man on the heroes side.

Katerina said...

Just fyi, Chris Hardwick mentioned on The Talking Dead after the show that, if you read the comics, you saw Shiva's death coming. I stopped reading them after the main group arrived in Alexandria, so I don't know if it happened just like in the comics, or if they changed the circumstances. It was a tough episode to watch, I thought. But I loved Jerry and Carol coming to the King's rescue.