Following the record-shattering premiere of the seventh season, the latest episode of The Walking Dead stayed very far from the action and took a very strange tone to introduce a unique character and place to the show: The Kingdom and King Ezequiel (Khary Payton).
“The Well” did an excellent job presenting the Kingdom as a functioning community and depicting Ezequiel as a different leader from Rick, Negan, The Governor and Deanne. However, it did a poor job in pleasing the fans because it abandoned the tension-fueled plot for gimmickry.
Episode 2 was slower, lighter and so full of itself it was completely disjointed from the despair of Rick and crew. It wanted to be a fun breather, but the story did not move forward, and the slow storytelling only made viewers angry.
The anger was not just on social media. The episode took a big rating hit as it fell from 8.4 million adult views for the season premiere to 6.1 million views. That is a 27 percent decline, the biggest drop yet for the #1 show on cable TV.
“The Well” is the perfect example of how tedious The Walking Dead on the episodes resting in between the finale, the premiere and the mid-season opener.
“Drink from the well, replenish the well.”
Perhaps the most frustrating things about the episode are the writers’ continued reluctance to make some sense out of Carol (Melissa McBride).
She is a character that started as an abused housewife, then burned two people alive because they had the flu, turned a merciless command, then back into a desperate Christian, and, finally, a con artist.
On episode 2, despite learning countless of times how bad an unknown leader can be, she decides to break the only rule of the community: contribute and earn your keep. Instead, she manipulates, steals and tries to run away.
Right before, she expressed The Kingdom was a big joke even when the community is so self-sufficient it makes Alexandria look like the Thunderdome. There is a choir singing Bob Dylan tunes, cobbler for every meal, fields to grow vegetables, and people ready to defend their lifestyle.
So it is very hard to understand why was King Ezequiel so interested in Carol, even when he warned her not to bulls***t a bullsh****r.
Morgan’s bits were the only parts of the episode that were not a filler
Morgan (Lennie James) crossed the entire country on foot to find his friend, Rick Grimes, only to abandon him for another woman. The Aikido master needs to find a plot where he finally plays the important role he deserves.
He did follow Ezequiel in the only relevant pieces of the episode and saw how the leader works with Negan’s bullies to protect his people. The former zookeeper thinks rationally and carefully, so his only weapon is getting the pigs full of rotten and comply.
The Kingdom is the only place that is not actively seeking violence in the TWD universe. It will change when Rick Grimes finds them. Wherever he goes, despair, chaos and death follows.
The Walking Dead’s next episode, “The Cell” will feature Daryl’s arrival at The Sanctuary, Negan’s base.