Building King Ezekiel’s regal facade has been given little screen time on The Walking Dead. The “king” with a knack for role-playing to build a sense of escapism and confidence for his “Kingdom” only took on a pivotal role deep into last season, and with the way the show is structured the writers have had to speed through his otherwise intriguing approach to the undead apocalypse with piles of thin, expository dialogue. Spending an entire episode stripping all of that away would have been much more effective had their been more than two or so scenes getting to explore why he does what he does. Although, “Some Guy” does a decent job at taking the King’s righteous fantasy and letting the reality of a caustic combo of walkers and Saviours completely eat away at it all.
We pick up from last week’s cliffhanger, where The Saviours used high-powered artillery to obliterate Ezekiel and his men. The result is a brutal and bloody battle field with very few survivors – Ezekiel included, of course – while Carol has managed to duck away and into The Saviours’ hide-out, because of course. But just when it looks like we’ll be getting another entry into the “unstoppable Carol” saga – which is always fun – the episode mostly focuses on punishing the King, giving him a strong series of reality checks, the last of which is a painful way to close out this season’s darkest episode yet.
The King keeps taking hits as the action rolls on, first taken hostage by an unnamed spec-donning Saviour (let’s just call him “goggles”) and taunted throughout until Jerry comes out of nowhere and splits goggles in half with his trusty battle axe. Jerry is a fan favourite here, no questions about that, and giving him more to do than just say “dude” was the right choice. While Ezekiel is having an existential breakdown throughout, Jerry is there to try and keep the fantasy going, acting like he’s serving his King while slicing up walkers. Albeit the horde proves a bit too much for two men, which presents Carol with a tough decision: save her friends or stop The Saviours from transporting the high-powered weaponry to Negan.
Carol’s slice of the episode is fairly linear, with the aim of bringing her to the aforementioned decision. She takes on multiple Saviours at once – even getting a sweet multi-kill from a vent – and has the upper hand when she spots Ezekiel in trouble. She chooses to save the King of course, but the decision doesn’t prove to be disastrous as deus-ex-duo Rick and Daryl show up to give us the show’s first and probably last high-speed car chase. While not quite Fast & Furious, the “dream team” do give us some nice back-and-forth action here as they follow a car while a Stormtropper-esque Saviour unloads on them with the high-powered weapon from the back of a van. It doesn’t kill or even injure Rick and Daryl (Raryl? Dick?) of course, because they have very thick plot-armour on.
Things aren’t wrapping up so neatly for Ezekiel though, who tries to beg Carol and Jerry to leave him behind because he’s just “some guy” who just got everyone killed by leading with an unfounded sense of victory. It seems death isn’t done following him, as when all three just make it through a bog full of walkers the expected out-of-nowhere leap from Shiva comes through. The beautiful CGI tiger sacrifices herself to save her King (although they were past the walkers anyway and, saving Ezekiel’s breakdown, were in the clear) and is sadly ripped apart by the undead much to Ezekiel’s horror.
A broken, depressed, dismayed and ashamed Ezekiel returns to The Kingdom, unable to face the families of the men that just died for him. It’s effectively dark stuff to put a wedge in an otherwise optimistic run; though we all knew Rick’s plan had to backfire on someone sooner rather than later. Did it make for a good episode though? Sadly it’s another average outing for The Walking Dead, which has shown just slight improvements from their muddled seventh season. There’s not enough happening here to restore complete faith in the once-great show just yet, but at least the fundamental idea of “Some Guy” was interesting enough.
What it comes down to it is this – and I’ve written this before – it’s becoming obvious that not everything that worked in the comics will end up working on TV. Glenn’s death, Negan’s schtick, and Ezekiel’s kingly speeches; all of these – bar Glenn’s death; I will never be cool with that, unless it leads to something more than lingering looks at pocketwatch – would be interesting if they were executed in different ways, but so far these textures are jarring the hell out of the show’s once-grounded aesthetic.
Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
- Jerry strikes hard
- Carol mows down The Saviours
- Rick and Daryl on the road
- Ezekiel give a harsh reality check (and then some)
- Shiva sacrificing himself when Ezekiel wasn’t even in danger
- That high-powered gun sure was effective against dozens of Kingdomers; not Daryl and Rick though – too far-fetched
- Needs more badass Carol
The Walking Dead Season 8 screens in Australia on FX/Foxtel every Monday at 1:30pm and again at 7:30pm.
Image: Gene Page/AMC.