If last week’s season premiere of TWD left you a puddle of emotions you can’t quite recover from, this week you were given a respite. Episode 2, “The Well,” focuses on Morgan and Carol, the two people we were certain were not going to perish at the hands of Negan.
When we last saw the zombie apocalypse’s favorite frenemies, Carol had run off to live a life of solitude and Morgan chased after her. After Morgan saves Carol from a member of Negan’s group, they are picked up by a posse on horseback and are taken back to a community known as ‘The Kingdom.’
As soon as Carol is up to it, Morgan takes her to see the leader of The Kingdom, King Ezekiel. Sitting along side the King is his pet tiger, Shiva, and his pun-loving side-kick, Jerry. Because you can’t have a tiger and not have a side-kick. As if this isn’t already a bit ridiculous, Ezekiel puts on a performance that Carol doesn’t quite buy into. We’re left wondering if the “King” is acting or is a complete lunatic. Naturally, Carol is already planning her exit.
In the meantime, Morgan is doing what he can to help out. He accompanies a group to round up some pigs, which are feeding on the dead. The group is attacked by walkers and both Morgan and side-kick Jerry have to aid a boy named Ben, who can’t seem to work any type of weapon. Ezekiel asks Morgan to train Ben on how to fight with a staff, since nothing else seems to stick. Morgan agrees, reluctantly.
While Carol wheels herself around the community, stealing weapons and clothes, and puts on her helpless homemaker act, Morgan works with Ben, who seems to take to the staff training, and the two begin to bond.
Morgan is asked to go with a group to deliver the pigs they rounded up earlier. The pigs have since been slaughtered and we realize, as does Morgan, why they’ve been feeding the pigs dead people. The pigs are an offering for Negan.
After the mission is over, Morgan spends more time with Ben. He discovers Ben is raising his younger brother after their father died fighting for Ezekiel. Ben also explains that the community is not aware of the deal with Negan and the Saviors for fear they will want to fight, something Ezekiel is trying to avoid.
Back to Carol, she’s sneaking out of The Kingdom, but not before helping herself to some fruit. Ezekiel is waiting for her and makes an entrance in the dramatic fashion we’ve already come to expect in the last 45 minutes. He tells her he doesn’t buy the innocent act and she can’t “bullshit a bullshitter,” then breaks character. Turns out, Ezekiel was a zookeeper (and an actor) and Shiva was the only animal left alive. He freed her and took care of her and the legend was born. Carol still isn’t really buying it, but Ezekiel basically tells her it isn’t all about her. They’ve all lost a lot. He then offers her a compromise. She can leave, but stay just outside of the community. Amazingly, she agrees, and Morgan and Ezekiel get her set up.
We see Carol getting her house in order when there is a knock at the door. It’s Ezekiel and Shiva. Carol smiles.
This bottle episode lays a lot of groundwork, but leaves us with more questions than answers.
Ezekiel drops his act with Carol, at least that’s how it appears, but is that genuine? He’s an actor, after all. He wants to put up a brave front for those he’s responsible for, but is he more of a Deanna or a Governor? That remains to be seen.
Carol and Morgan are probably the most frustrating characters in the series. They both flip-flop in their moral codes as the series goes on, but Carol’s martyr act is getting very old. Here’s hoping this is the beginning of the end of that.
Ben is an interesting addition. What is his purpose? Ezekiel seems to want to make sure he stays alive so he’s important, which means he’ll probably die before the season ends.
Will Morgan stay on in The Kingdom and help unite them with Alexandria? Was that a dumb question?
Will Carol finally eat a pomegranate?
Kudos to the FX team on creating a halfway decent CG tiger. Just don’t use it too much.
In episode 3, “The Cell,” we finally see what Negan’s been doing with Daryl. It also looks like Dwight might be developing a bit of remorse.