There was a break from the angst tonight on The Walking Dead! It’s time to enter The Kingdom and meet Ezekiel. Here’s our recap of “The Well”…
After last week’s episode, we sorta knew that this week would be a bottle episode that just focused on The Kingdom. I admit, I wasn’t super excited about that and not getting any closure from last week, but after watching this episode, it was so necessary.
Here’s what happened on The Well!
We open where we left Carol and Morgan last season. They’ve just been rescued by members of The Kingdom, and they’re on their way to the community. They get attacked by a herd of walkers, causing the cart that Carol is laying in to tip over.
While she’s on the ground, she starts seeing the walkers coming toward her, and they flash between being walkers, and what they might have looked like as humans. It’s disorienting with the way it’s shot, and eventually Carol gets up and starts to run away.
As she’s running, more walkers around her begin to look like they did as humans. She makes it to an abandoned house with a wrought iron fence around it, and when she looks into the window, she sees and old woman waving at her. That imagine turns into a walker, clawing at the glass.
Carol turns around to see more walkers coming from the field and she leans against the fence and slides to the ground. Backup comes from the Kingdom, and as they are killing walkers and Carol keeps seeing their human faces.
Morgan makes another mark on the mailbox outside the house that Carol was in front of to mark his path then he follows the new group down a road where a city looms in the distance.
While Morgan is carving into the wood, a score starts playing in the background. This is one that they’ve used on the show before, and I can’t place it. If you know what episode it’s been on, please let me know because I think it’s something important.
The next scene opens with a rabbit’s foot in focus and then we see it’s hanging beside Carol’s bed. Morgan has been connected to the rabbit’s foot once before in the series. Back in Season Five, it was one of the gifts he left at the altar of Gabriel’s church.
We find him keeping watch over Carol as she lays sleeping, and when she wakes up, she finds out that she’s been asleep for almost two days.
Finally Carol turns to him and asks, “Where are we?”
That’s when we get a tour of The Kingdom…sorta…
Morgan is pushing Carol around in a wheelchair through the community, and we see massive amounts of food production. Morgan tells her that he thinks they can stay there about a week then head back to Alexandria to see how things are going there.
“What is this place?”
“The people here. They call this place The Kingdom. They’ve been helping you, so I’ve been helping them.”
Carol asks Morgan what he told them about who they are, and Morgan tells her that he only told them that a man tried to kill Carol, and he killed that man. That’s all they need to know. He’s trying to show Carol that she can start over. She doesn’t have to be who she was before.
When Carol asks who he told that to, Morgan tells her that he’s taking her to see him, and that he’s called King Ezekiel.
“He does his own thing, see…”
“What does that mean?”
“Well, here we are.”
From this point on, Morgan is trying to work up to telling Carol that Ezekiel is a bit eccentric, but can’t get it out before we come face-to-face with Ezekiel and he’s darling pet, Shiva.
“Yeah, ah, I forgot to say that Ezekiel has a tiger.”
Shiva roars at Morgan and Carol, and Ezekiel remains cool, calm, and collected on his throne.
“Shiva, enough. The fair maiden has been through a myriad of trails.”
Carol’s face throughout this scene is priceless, and I’m pretty sure a majority of the fandom shared her general feelings of: “What is happening here? Have I finally lost my mind?” Remember, Carol had been hallucinating earlier anyway.
“I don’t know what the hell’s going on in the most wonderful way!”
SAME, CAROL. SAME.
Ezekiel exudes confidence and control as he speaks to her. He even brings up the fact the she can live in the community, but she has to contribute.
“Drink from the well. Replenish the well.”
His right hand man, Jerry, is there to offer fruit to Carol, but she declines. When Ezekiel presses her to take a pomegranate, she says she’s never liked them. He offers her entertainment in the form of a guitarist or choir, but Carol declines.
She then makes a show of calling him “your majesty” before Morgan wheels her out. As soon as they are outside, she lets loose.
“You’re shitting me, right?”
“Now it’s alot. He’s–I don’t know–”
“Stop. Stop this. This place is a damned circus. All of it. These people? This is make believe. This is play time.”
Carol tells him that she’s not staying, and as soon as Morgan is out of her way, she’s leaving. She then tells him that it isn’t up to him. She gets to decide her future, and Morgan can’t control that.
Morgan tells her that he won’t let her die alone, though.
The next scene has us following Morgan on a trip outside with Ezekiel and several other members of The Kingdom. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any stranger, we find out that Ezekiel’s man, Richard, is herding wilds pigs into rooms where they have a walker tied up. He tells Morgan that he wants their stomachs full of rot.
At this point, I was flailing around, hoping that those pigs were tributes for the Saviors. This was the moment that I started to trust Ezekiel a little bit more.
They start to leave as walkers pour out of wooded area around the building. Apparently, the city here is a very dangerous place. Richard tells a young man named Ben that he’s up, and he goes forward to kill a close walker, but misses and ends up needing help from both Jerry and Ezekiel to take him down.
What happens next is quite unusual for this show. Ezekiel demonstrates patience and understanding with Ben. It’s like we’ve finally found our first stable, level-headed leader in a long time in Ezekiel.
Richard tells Morgan that no one back home needs to know anything about what’s happening here. Morgan asks him if he means the pigs eating the dead or the amount of walkers still coming from the city, and Richard tells him both.
As they walk to the truck, a walker almost gets Ben again, but Morgan uses his staff to kill it. Ezekiel is taking all this in then turns to address the walkers.
“May we one day cease you all from this curse. Until then, know that we live on in your place full, festive, faithful, and free.”
“Only halfway free.”
Morgan and Ezekiel take a vehicle one direction back to The Kingdom, and the truck with the pigs and Richard goes another way.
Back at The Kingdom, Ezekiel questions Morgan on how he got so good with the staff, and Morgan tells him a little about the cheesemaker. Ezekiel doesn’t seemed phased by the odd name, and comments that he would have been proud of Morgan today for using that skill to save Ben’s life.
From there, Ezekiel asks if he’ll train Ben with the staff like he was trained. He knows that Ben will be an important part of his group, but he hasn’t developed an affinity for any weapon, and this could be his break.
“The man I shot to save Carol. The stick couldn’t have saved her.”
“Has it saved you?”
Ezekiel seems like a caring, thoughtful leader at this point, and if the pig thing turns out to be right, he’s also very sneaky and strategic.
Morgan agrees to help Ben after Ezekiel makes a plea, telling him that he needs “the boy to live.” There’s obviously a story there, but we don’t get it yet.
The camera pans through camp, and we hear the choir as Carol sit in her bed and stares at the wheelchair. On her wall is stenciled Ezekiel’s words.
“Drink from the well. Replenish the well.”
As the singing continues, we see Morgan helping Ben work with the staff. Then again we go back to Carol who is in her wheelchair, moving through camp. She passes by two men talking and a table with a bar of chocolate on it and a knife. She grabs both as she passes.
We cut back to Morgan helpig Ben who is getting much better with the staff. It turns out Ezekiel was right after all.
At the end of the day, Carol’s in her wheelchair, talking to a man folding clothes. Everything is so peaceful in this place. People are working together. There’s plenty of food, and even if Ezekiel is a little strange, it’s the easiest they’ve had it in a long time.
When the man tells Carol that they have cobbler with ever meal, she loses it and asks him to grab her a tissue. When he steps away, Carol grabs a change of clothes and hides them under her blanket.
We cut back to Ben and Morgan, and Ben notices a book in Morgan’s bag. The one that Easton gave him, and after begging for the book to read, Morgan hands it over. Ezekiel walks up and tells Morgan and Ben to follow him.
The got to a deserted parking lot, and Ezekiel tells them that the pigs are slaughtered away from The Kingdom so no one can here.
“What we are doing here is a secret I keep from my people. Some see secrets as a privilege of ruling. They are burdens, not part of the reward. They’re part of the cost.”
At that moment, several trucks roll up, and Saviors get out and walk to meet them. The leader of the small group makes a comment that he thought they were early to which Ezekiel responds in the same unaffected manner that he respects their arrangement with the utmost respect.
If you heard my laughing, I apologize, but I couldn’t contain my pure happiness that Ezekiel is actually feeding the Saviors pigs that have been feed walkers. It’s just beautiful.
One of the women from The Kingdom tries to tell Morgan who they are, but Morgan cuts her off, telling her that he already knows who they are.
During the trade, though, one of the Saviors gets a little mouthy with Richard which leads to a scuffle. Both sides draw weapons, and Ezekiel, ever the voice of reason, calls for everyone to put down their weapons. He tells Richard that’s not how they work.
The Savior hits Richard, and Ezekiel calls for Gavin, the leader, to call his man off. The other Savior lands another blow to which Ezekiel asks Gavin to tell him to stop, and finally Gavin says, “The man said stop. He’s been good to us, and we’ve taken up too much of his time.”
Is it possible that Gavin is aware of the difference in leadership between Ezekiel and Negan? We already know that Dwight can’t stand Negan and tried to run once. Would others turn their loyalty away to someone like Ezekiel? To quote Hamilton because I just have to…could Ezekiel have ‘a spy on the inside?’
Better yet, could that spy be Daryl Dixon?
Once they load up, Gavin tells Ezekiel that if he doesn’t have the full list next week, he’ll have to go first as he looks to Richard, and we all know what that means.
Ezekiel asks Morgan if he’s ever encountered them before and he tells him the truth. Ezekiel presses him and mentions the men who were after Carol, and Morgan tells him they were Saviors.
“Is that why you wanted me here because I could do it again if I had to?”
“No, Morgan. Quite the opposite in fact.”
That evening at dinner, Ben is sitting at the table with a young boy and Morgan. The kid gets up to clear his plate, and Ben makes him finish it. This is when we get the backstory about why Ezekiel is so protective of Ben.
Ben’s father was very close with Ezekiel and one of the best fighters in The Kingdom, but the year before he was killed. Then he tells Morgan, that Ezekiel is keeping the deal with the Saviors quite because too many people would want to fight, and that they can’t win.
We know they couldn’t because we’ve seen what Negan can do, and I honestly think that Ezekiel is the only person to approach the Saviors with caution. He’s not just waiting for this to keep happening, though. Ezekiel’s biding his time when it comes to Negan.
Ben asks Morgan about the handwritten inscription in the book that he borrowed and if he wrote it. Morgan tells him no, he didn’t. Ben then remarks that Morgan doesn’t eat meat and that he’s teaching his aikido.
“It’s not about what I think. People can try and set you in the right direction, but they can’t show you the way. You have to find that for yourself. I thought I had it. I thought I did, but I’m just fumbling through. Sometimes we change our minds.”
So, it seems like Morgan has changed his mind about violence?
He leaves to talk to Carol, but she’s already gone. He sits down on the bed and stares at her wheelchair.
Night has fallen, and Carol is going through the orchard and picking some apples to take with her when Ezekiel and Jerry find her. He excuses Jerry, and this is when all the truths comes out as Ezekiel tells her:
“You can’t bullshit a bullshitter.”
He mentions the Saviors, and Carol sits down. She tells him that what he’s created here is a fairytale to which Ezekiel says:
“Maybe they need the fairytale.”
Then he loses his affected accent as he sits beside her. He tells her his story. About how a man who had a tiger became a legend, and that he just went with so he wouldn’t burst their bubble.
“I faked it until I made it.”
We then learn that he was a zookeeper, and how he came to save Shiva after she fell into one of the concrete moats in her exhibit. Ezekiel tells Carol that he knew the risk, but he had to try and save her and she did. After that, Shiva become his companion. He went back to the zoo after it all went down and found her.
They were both hungry and alone, but they’ve made it.
“She was the last thing left in this world that I loved. She protected me. She got me here and made me larger than life.”
Then he turns back on the accent, telling Carol that he was in the community theater, so he knows how to play it up.Now that his cards are our on the table, he asks Carol to keep it just between them.
“I don’t care. You do what you want. I just want to go.”
“Go where? Carol?”
“For whatever bad you’ve been through.”
Ezekiel appeals to her to stay with them there, and she asks him why he even cares.
“‘Cause it makes me feel good.”
And this is when Ezekiel solidifies his place in my heart as a geniuenely good guy. Those don’t last long in this world, and since I don’t know what happens past this point in the comics, I’m worried for him.
In the end, Carol and Morgan take horses back the abandoned house from before. Their goodbyes consist of Morgan telling Carol that she’s probably one of his favorite people he had ever knocked out.
When he leaves, he pushes down the red flag on the mailbox, signaling there’s nothing left there. Carol opens the door and kills the walker inside.
By the time she gets the fire going, there’s a knock at the door. She pulls her weapon and opens the door to find Ezekiel standing there with Shiva. He holds out a pomegranate and tells her that she really needs to try it.
It goes without saying, I really like Ezekiel. He seems like a good balance for Rick’s certain brand of unhinged right now, and that’s what Team Family needs. They need a strategist, a larger than life hero, and a tiger certainly doesn’t hurt either.
I’m honesly excited to see more from Ezekiel, but it looks like next week will be another bottle episode. This time the Saviors are front and center and we finally get to see what Daryl is up to in their compound.
This one won’t be for the faint of heart. Daryl’s guilt and pain are epic, and we could finally be seeing the beginnings of a dark!Daryl arc. This has me very, very afraid.
What did you think of “The Well”?
Stay turned later in the week for our preview of next week’s episode titled, “The Cell.” Right now, all promo points to Dwight leading this one.