SPOILER ALERT: Major plotlines for both The Walking Dead comic book Issues #108 and 110, plus Season 7 episode 'The Well' are discussed here.
The second episode of The Walking Dead Season 7 was a much less violent one — even if it featured some Saviors and the occasional Walker kill. Entirely centered on the Kingdom community, 'The Well' introduced us to Ezekiel and his gorgeous tiger, Shiva (she might be CGI, but she's still awesome), and showed us what happened to Carol and Morgan while Rick's group was meeting Negan.
It wasn't an action-packed episode, but it delivered some amazing plot development. Even long-time comic readers might have found some interesting additions (should I say, explanations?) to the original Kingdom storyline. Still, the very best comic book moments were entwined perfectly in this episode — albeit often with different characters.
King Ezekiel — and His Shiva
Those who thought Negan was the most faithfully adapted Walking Dead character from page-to-screen never saw Ezekiel coming. In the show, Ezekiel is clearly much younger but, aside from that, he's every bit like his comics counterpart — starry vest and all! King Ezekiel was the star of this episode, dominating a huge part of it — much like he did in Issue 108 of the comics. The only difference was that, in the comics, it's Jesus who takes Rick to meet the King, instead of Morgan taking Carol.
"They Call This Place The Kingdom"
The circumstances that led Rick to the Kingdom are also quite different from Carol and Morgan's. In the comics, it's the aftermath of Negan's head-bashing that makes Rick seek allies to help him fight Lucille's owner, and Jesus smartly takes him to Ezekiel and his Kingdom. In the show, Rick is absolutely unaware that there's yet another community being extorted by Negan, and it's a healing Carol that takes the whole novelty of the Kingdom in.
"I Forgot To Tell You...Ezekiel Has A Tiger"
Talking about taking it all in, Carol may have put on her best "innocent Carol" façade, but she sure as hell wasn't expecting to se a tiger on that theater stage (take a look at her arms in the frame above!). If the idyllic Kingdom, managed by a man who called himself "King Ezekiel" wasn't enough of a mindf**k, the fact that 'King Ezekiel' had a tiger made it all seem like a bad joke for Carol — especially with "S" behaving so naughtily.
King Ezekiel's home was also depicted in a pretty comics-accurate fashion. Although the books don't feature many images inside the Kingdom — with gardens, a bandstand and people leading normal lives — the overall feeling I got from that peek inside the Kingdom was much similar to what Alexandria becomes later on. Years forward after Negan, the Safe Zone and the other communities share quite the comfortable life style, with gardens, teachers and animals in an organized and civilized environment; sounds familiar?
"My Favorite Place In The Entire Kingdom"
Now, this is when any true The Walking Dead comic fan got really hyped because, once more, the show deviated a little from the comics — but the dialogue was same, almost word-for-word. In the books, it's Michonne who gets to have that one-on-one time with the King, but TV-Michonne was somewhat busy at the time. So, Carol stepped in and listened to Ezekiel's and Shiva's background stories under the moonlight.
"People Need Someone To Follow"
I remember reading this issue back in the day and thinking that Ezekiel was much like Rick, as neither of them asked for their leadership roles. They both kind of fell into the job, and hearing Ezekiel lay it out for Carol brought back these same thoughts. The only main thing that sets the two men apart is that Ezekiel was a zookeeper before the virus outbreak, while Rick was a deputy police officer. This may very well explain why Rick's group is the only one with any fighting abilities, while the other groups seem to have had an easier time adapting to a somewhat domestic life.
"Shiva Was The Last Thing Left That I Loved"
Hearing Ezekiel tell Shiva's story and how she came to be his 'pet' makes it easier to understand why he can read Carol's inner struggle so well. He knows she's hurt and that she's lost and suffered a lot, because he too felt the same once. It also gives you a great insight into what kind of man the King really is: the type that would rescue a roaring tiger in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for any animal cause (and I'd probably do the same!), but that doesn't mean rationing a scarce food supply between me and an eating-for-ten tiger would be something I'd be cool with.
"What If I Am"
In the end of her conversation with Ezekiel, Carol once more fell into that suicidal mood she was in last season. The King tried his best pep talk to get Carol to stay — or, at least, not wander far away from the Kingdom — and, when he questioned her if she was walking away from life, her response was devastating for the Terminus-Carol fans out there:
That closing moment, along with the opening scenes — where Carol's mind plays tricks on her and she confuses Walkers with real people — draws too close to comic book-Carol. In the books, after trying to commit suicide and failing, Carol decided to befriend a Walker because "she listened and didn't judge her". The result? A dead Carol way back in Issue 42. Let's just hope TV-Carol was simply suffering from severe blood loss, and that she'll recover!
More on The Walking Dead Season 7:
- Did Negan Go Too Far In The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere For the Survivors To Spare His Life?
- Is Daryl To Blame For [Spoiler]'s Death In 'The Walking Dead' Season 7 Premiere?
- Straight From The Comics: Find Out Which Comic Book Scenes Made Into 'The Walking Dead' Season 7 Premiere
This episode was pretty faithful to the comics in terms of dialogue and setting, but it also brought some interesting insights about the Kingdom people. In the books, things move way faster; they comics didn't dweel community's past and how it came to be, and by the time Issue 108 ends, there's already a plan in motion to end the Negan threat for good. I'm glad the TV show producers are biding their time and giving us some development before Rick and his (soon to be expanded) gang face trouble once more; we sure as hell need a break after that premiere!
Here's a sneak peek for next week's episode, 'The Cell':