The Walking Thread: Some Guy (S8, E4).

TWD 8.4

Heavy is the head that wears a crown, indeed. With “Some Guy”, King Ezekiel finally gets his own episode, and TWD narrows its focus on him and his group (Carol, Jerry, etc.) and the completion of their mission against the Saviors, with a brief drop-in by Rick and Daryl. As a result, this episode feels more like a vignette than the larger-scale battles of the last three episodes, but this also gives it a fantastic balance of action and character that makes it the Season’s best episode so far, in my opinion.

The cold open starts with a brief but effective flashback to Ezekiel back in the Kingdom, putting on his kingly “costume” and gearing up for battle. He gives a brief inspirational speech that has some very Shakespearean overtones, and is high on “we can win!” optimism. Then it cuts back to the present, after all of his forces have been cut to pieces by the Saviors and their .05 cal machine gun (talk about putting cold water on that speech!). Ezekiel has survived, albeit with a nasty leg wound, and barely has time to grieve before his former friends start coming back to life and trying to eat him. He manages to get away, but is taken hostage by a surviving Savior, who plans to take him to Negan as a war prisoner.

Ezekiel has fallen into some pretty sudden despair after being brought so low, and The Savior, a creepy Jeffrey Dahmer-looking dude, rubs salt in the wound by taunting Ezekiel about what a liar and a failure he was as “King”. They get stuck at a chain-link fence that Ezekiel cannot climb in his wounded state, and the Savior is about to off him when Jerry appears (yay, Jerry lived!) and rescues him, offing the Savior in a most bloody and satisfying way.

Meanwhile, Carol has also survived, and is hunting down the Saviors who were firing the .50 cal. She stealth-kills some of them, and chases the rest into the parking lot, where she shoots it out with them. A couple of them escape with the machine gun to break Negan out of his Sanctuary, but she takes out the rest (with the help of some Walkers) and saves Ezekiel and Jerry just before a herd of Walkers overtakes them. They escape into the woods, where they encounter some more Walkers that have apparently been stewing in toxic waste for a while (although they sadly have gained no superpowers from this). Now at his lowest point, Ezekiel orders the others to go on without him. “I ain’t no king”, he says”. “I ain’t nobody. I’m just some guy.” His illusions of strength and optimism have been completely dashed, and he just wants to go out swinging, but at the last moment, his tiger Shiva appears and saves him, but is torn apart by the Walkers for her trouble. Ezekiel is even more saddened, but realizes that even if his greatness was an illusion to the rest of the Kingdom, he genuinely meant something to Shiva. He limps back home with Carol and Jerry, his mission completed but himself completely broken by it. We’ll have to see in future episodes what kind of a man, and leader, this makes him into.

Thankfully, the plot thread of the .05 cal machine gun is not left hanging, as Rick and Daryl track down the remaining Saviors on the road, shoot it out with them, and recover the weapon, which will likely be a game-changer in the war. Despite the unfortunate losses for the Kingdom, the war as a whole is looking up. Next episode looks to finally show us what happens back with Negan and the Saviors (who have Father Gabriel hostage now), so we’ll have to wait and see about that, and the rest of the story.

TWD 8.4.1

Random thoughts on this episode:

*Man, Khary Payton is fan-freaking-tastic as Ezekiel in this episode. His grief, despair and disillusionment are all so very palpable, and watching his spirit broken is heartbreaking. Hard to believe such a great actor has been hiding behind all those cartoon voices for all these years. I hope his career gets a serious boost after he leaves TWD.

*I find it hard to believe that, even wounded, Shiva went down that easily. Yeah, she got mobbed by Walkers, but Walkers are just slow humans. Try to imagine a dozen skinny humans jumping on top of an angry tiger, do you think that would be enough to subdue it?

*As sad as it was to lose her (and accurate to the comics), the show’s creators probably cheered when they killed Shiva off. Not having to painstakingly animate a CGI tiger anymore is probably a relief.

*I know they’ve gone over-the-top with Ezekiel’s speeches, but I really liked his “and yet I smile” speech. It was beautifully written, acknowledged the danger and risk of their mission, but communicated the optimism needed to get the job done with enthusiasm. Battlefield commanders don’t have the luxury to be pessimistic. These flashbacks also did a good job of foreshadowing that he could’ve been killed in this episode, and on a show where pretty much anyone can die, that made the later scenes very tense and involving.

*Carol’s stealth-killing game was on point. She took out half a dozen Saviors while hiding in the ceiling. A lot of people are saying she was able to do that blind, but it’s a dilapidated building after the apocalypse. It’s plausible that there were lots of small holes in the ceiling that she would’ve been able to see them through.

*It was fun seeing an honest-to-goodness car chase, something TWD has never done before. There were definitely shades of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Road Warrior, and the scene was a real kick. That said, I don’t really get why the .05 cal didn’t do more damage to Rick’s jeep, aside from the fact that the plot required he be able to keep driving it. Minor quibble, though.

*”Thank you, Your Majesty.” “For what?” “For being such a cool dude.” Damn, I love Jerry.

*Fan gripe I don’t get, #85,000: why is everyone asking how the Saviors have so many bullets in these battles? Let’s see: last season they made Eugene a part of their group. Eugene knows how to make bullets. Connect the freaking dots, people. Besides, last season they were complaining because there was not enough action, now they’re complaining that the plentiful action isn’t 100% realistic. Some fans will just never be happy unless they’re grumbling about something.

1 comment to The Walking Thread: Some Guy (S8, E4).

  • Rgallegos

    Great …I mean freakin’ GREAT EPISODE!!! You are spot on about Payton. His speechifying was getting to me a little, but this episode really made me see him in another light and understand his personality even more. Jerry!!! Kill of the season? Maybe…

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