It was quite an anti-climatic episode on the heels of last Sunday’s S7E1 horrifically violent and soul-shattering opened on “The Walking Dead”. A tamed tiger was quite the symbolism of this.
This new peaceful and thriving village of “The Kingdom” that Morgan and Carol have entered into is quite the opposite end of the spectrum of what Rick and his people were thrown into last week. The episode titled “The Well” encompasses the commune’s collective code of dutifully sharing and contributing to the common cause of survival within their walls.
Being that I have not read TWD graphic books I just don’t know how the Kingdom’s and King Ezekiel’s storyline plays out. However, there are a couple takeaways from that subplot’s birth in last night’s episode…
1.) Carol continues to play the vulnerable, innocent and naive post-apocalypse survivor as she is introduced to King Ezekiel and his big kitty-cat. But you can see and sense her baiting him a bit in the cat and mouse introductions. Upon leaving the formal audience with The King Carol informs Morgan this is all bullshit. Later in the episode Carol has managed to collect some bare essentials, while faking her wheelchair-bound status, in her quest to leave The Kingdom and breakout on her own from all people.
King E catches her in his personal royal garden snatching apples. Carol becomes honest with him about her and the world outside’s reality that she thinks he’s not grasping while living this lie. In a fireside chat with her King E reveals himself to her suspicions of “bullshit”. He was a meager zookeeper who rescued the wounded tiger that is now a loyal watchdog for him. King E feels giving the people of his kingdom hope and a productive life to look forward to keeps the evil and violence down. The sage and battle-worn Carol scoffs a bit and lets him know they are basically dabbling in a false sense of security and the outside world will eventually catch up hard with them because they are unprepared to fight for themselves or each other. She wants to leave. He wants her to stay. They come to a compromise with Carol being escorted to a small, fenced in house not far from The Kingdom. At the end of the episode he visits her with a pomegranate and his kitty.
2.) Morgan seems to have come down a little from his non-violence grasshopper stance, but it is evident that he may feel a bit more at home in The Kingdom than he does in Alexandria. Under King E’s request Morgan has taken a young guy under his wing to teach him the way of the swinging stick since the kid is having a difficult time managing other defensive weapons. Morgan has also found himself caring for Carol and wanting her to understand the mental and emotional conflicts she is currently experiencing, as he had in his recent past.
3.) King E and his knightly circle are not untouched by Negan’s violent Saviors cult. The Kingdom must pay a weekly tribute to Negan’s henchmen. This episode it was meat in the form of pigs/hogs that, unbeknownst to Negan’s people and the people of The Kingdom, are intentionally being fattened up with the rotting tainted meat of Walkers.
It begs pondering if this will have an effect on the Survivors as they ingest the poisoned pork over time. Will this accelerate sickness and deaths within Negan’s clan? I also have to wonder if this meat is being served to the people in The Kingdom, as it is pointed out by Morgan’s student that he has only taken vegetables and fruits on his meal trays, no meat. Has Morgan sworn-off The Kingdom’s meat, or is he just a convert to vegan-ism along with his anti-killing stance?
4.) This subplot can’t be some fantasy stagnation of the season’s whole direction. At some point this village, the Hill Top community that Maggie has set out for, and Alexandria will realize they will need to form an alliance to battle Negan and his Saviors, and gain their independence. In searching for this episode’s photos I did come across this comic book graphic that depicts Rick and King Ezekiel together in a defensive action scene. Obviously The Kingdom and Alexandria have a connection now via Morgan and Carol. Meanwhile, in next week’s S7E3 it ain’t Avon calling at the gates of Alexandria…