In a slow and less-than-stellar start to Season 8, we haven’t had a whole lot of character-defining moments, let alone full-blown episodes. Episode 4 seeks to change this and delivers an excellent episode focused on King Ezekiel. The Walking Dead hasn’t delved deep into this character much besides through conversation with other characters, like Carol, but “Some Guy” does a stellar job at showing us the man behind the king facade, and what it takes to break someone of such a crafted scheme.
*Episode Spoilers Ahead*
“Some Guy” starts with another braggadocios and positive speech from Ezekiel, delivering a great dialogue focused on still smiling, despite the adversity and upcoming trials Team Kingdom will face. After being surrounded and lovingly embraced by his “subjects”, the episode takes us to where we left off last week: with Ezekiel’s team being attacked by Saviors possessing 50 caliber machine guns. Last week’s episode showed a few of the king’s loyalists jumping in front of him to save his life, and we discover they literally took a bullet for him. The transition from Ezekiel being surrounded by those who would wish victory upon him, to an aerial shot of Ezekiel being covered by those who died for him spoke volumes. This man has developed an extremely close-knit community who willingly laid their lives on the line. As a leg injury kept the king from having good mobility, he tried escaping only to be outnumbered by his subjects rising from the dead and coming after his “royal” flesh. At this point, a strange character takes Ezekiel hostage because he knows Negan would love to have the king chained to the fence of the Sanctuary. This character was odd, and the portion of the show involving him kind of dragged, as it seemed like a way to simply extend the story a bit. This villain was almost cartoonish in his actions, and he honestly looked like Jeffrey Dahmer, so this kind of removed me from the episode slightly. It was at a point when Jeffrey Dahmer and Ezekiel came to a locked fence that Mr. Dahmer decided Ezekiel had to go, as walkers were closing in and chances of escape for both of them looked bleak. Right as he was about to execute Ezekiel with his own blade, we get an awesome death scene for the villain via being split in half with a battle ax by none other than Jerry, who was revealed to be alive. This effect and close up of the body being split was excellent. The two spent time trying to fend off walkers, and seemed prepared to die going out swinging. Another moment here showing how well-respected Ezekiel is by his people was a quick exchange between them, with Jerry saying, “Thank you,” to which Ezekiel replies “For what?”. “For being a cool dude.” Small moments like this really show the connection Ezekiel has with those he has sworn to protect.
A small side story also played out over the course of this episode, involving Carol storming the building in which the Saviors had attacked from in order to retrieve the machine guns. We got to see some badassery from Carol, as she took down roughly five Saviors with one assault rifle burst. The fight eventually ended up outside, with a standoff between Carol and a few enemies. It’s then revealed that the fence Jerry and Ezekiel were fending off walkers at was the gate to the same building Carol was at, and she was faced with a decision to either help her friends in desperate need or to kill the Saviors and secure the weaponry they were after. Following a flashback where Ezekiel lectured Carol on deciding factors in life causing them to be who they are, Carol decided to save Ezekiel and Jerry, effectively allowing the Saviors to get away with the machine guns.
Luckily, Rick and Daryl knew exactly where to head thanks to the lone Savior from last week’s episode, and ended up in a Fast and the Furious style car chase with the escaping Saviors. This was a pretty epic sequence and was something decidedly newish for the series. Ultimately, the weapons were saved after Rick pulled up alongside the Saviors’ vehicle and performed an Indiana Jones-esque leap to the adjacent car. This whole scene didn’t play out very long, making sure not to wear out its welcome, but proved effective in delivering some much-needed action to step away from the bleakness and impending doom the rest of the episode maintained.
Switching gears back to the team of Carol, Jerry, and Ezekiel, Ezekiel kept insisting they leave him behind, as he was only slowing them down and putting the rest of the gang in danger. The other two refused, with Jerry declaring that Ezekiel is his king, and he couldn’t leave him as walkers slowly encroached on their position. What followed was a poignant moment of self-awareness for Ezekiel, as he exclaimed “I ain’t no king! I’m just some guy!” Just as it seemed like Carol and Jerry may actually leave Ezekiel behind, the previously missing in action Shiva returned, mauling zombies left and right, while Ezekiel gleamed with satisfaction. Unfortunately, the small horde proved too much for our favorite tiger, and Shiva met her end at the undead hands of walkers. Ezekiel was noticeably beside himself, as we know he has a deep affection for Shiva, having been her caretaker at the zoo he worked in prior to the outbreak. It felt right that the roles were reversed, and Shiva took care of Ezekiel as if to pay him back for looking after her. Besides being Ezekiel’s friend and pet, Shiva was one of the major things that made Ezekiel seem larger than life, and she definitely played a major role in making his over-the-top play as a king feel more believable to his people, along with being his secret weapon. Shiva dying is just one more device that will see Ezekiel become humbled and likely, a new version of himself.
“Some Guy” was clearly an episode meant to strip Ezekiel down to his core. In previous weeks, we had witnessed confidence and at times cockiness from the king, with claims that not even one of their ranks would fall in the ensuing mission. Not only did they lose ranks, but those that were lost also gave up their lives for Ezekiel because they believed in him. Ezekiel lost Shiva, lost men, and has lost a sense of who he is, or was trying to be, rather. It’s going to be an interesting ride for Ezekiel now that he seems to be shedding the guise of king, and the events of this episode will almost certainly be felt for some time moving forward.
Overall, The Walking Dead delivered its first high-quality episode of Season 8, giving a much-needed deep look into the mind of one of its more interesting characters. While the episode did little to push the season’s over encompassing narrative further along, this type of episode was very welcomed, as character-centric episodes focusing on character development has always been one of TWD’s strong suits. I’m still wondering what exactly is going on with Father Gabriel and Negan, but given the episode we got this week, I’m fine with holding out for just a little while longer on that front.