Ezekiel finally gets to have an episode focused on him. We start with a bit of a flashback: getting ready before launching the big fight against Negan, dressing, arming himself, walking out into the Kingdom and giving another speech. The man does love to give speeches, even as Carol watches, bemused, but the thing of it is, his people thrive on his words. He encourages them, lifts their spirits, rallies them.
And then we cut to now: the field where Ezekiel and Carol's band of mainly Kingdomites lay in bloody, bloody pieces, torn to bits by the Saviors' two .50 cal machine guns.
When the shit went down, Carol was out scouting. Ezekiel was protected by a group of his people, shielding him with their bodies. He drags himself out from under the pile. His leg is injured and he crawls from corpse to corpse, turning them over, looking at their faces and their massive, ruptured wounds. He allows himself a scream to the sky ... but it is cut short when the first of the dead stirs, coming back to life. Soon enough, the King is crawling away from a herd of walkers. His gun is empty, the next gun he picks up is empty, he's only got his sword/cane. The walkers converge. Ezekiel is saved - momentarily - when a still-living soldier of his rushes up, putting down the closest walkers and helping his king to stand.
That rescue is short-lived when a nerdy, glasses-wearing Savior kills the Kingdom soldier and forces Ezekiel to his feet. This dude spends the next while badgering Ezekiel, telling him he's a con man with gullible subjects, waving a gun in the king's face and generally being a huge asshole. All the while, the herd of walkers marches inexorably towards them.
Meanwhile, Carol makes her way through the warehouse where the Saviors are packing up those giant guns. She is a calm, competent badass and when she hides in the ceiling and then takes out five of them, it's awesome (even though it's ridiculous because she shot through the drop ceiling and certainly couldn't have seen her targets). More Saviors show up and she has to skedaddle, out to the door yard where she watches them load those big guns onto a jeep.
King Ezekiel and his captor are cornered at a chainlink fence. Ezekiel is in a lot of pain and is beginning to lose his bravado. The Savior decides that maybe he doesn't need to bring the King back alive - maybe his head will do. But before things can get much worse, Jerry is there, swinging his big ax and splitting that Savior right about in two. Jerry picks off the nearest walkers to buy some time and then tries to break the chain holding the gate together. When Ezekiel tells him to stop calling him "your majesty," Jerry's all, "Dude, yes I do." The walkers come closer and closer and Jerry can't get the chain off the gate. He and Ezekiel are trapped and soon fighting hand to hand against the walkers. Jerry: "Thank you, your majesty." Ezekiel, with no trace of his Shakespearean accent: "For what?" Jerry: "For bein' such a cool dude."
In the door yard, not far from the fence where Ezekiel and Jerry are trapped, Carol and the Saviors start shooting a lot of bullets at each other. It's basically a standoff and a ridiculous number of bullets are wasted. Then Carol sees Ezekiel and Jerry, pinned down against the fence. She fakes out the Saviors and manages to open another gate behind her foes. The walkers come in and attack the Saviors, giving Carol enough time to run to the fence by Ezekiel and Jerry. She drops the walkers there with her machine gun and gets the chain off, letting the two men in to safety.
The remaining two Saviors drive off with the .50 caliber guns, however. This distresses Ezekiel, since their mission had been to collect those guns, but then they catch the sound of Daryl's motorcycle in the distance. Carol: "They're not getting away with the guns."
Another flashback, this one a little intrusive, given that the episode had been pretty involving up until this point, with Ezekiel and Carol talking and admitting that each of them made a choice to become who they are today.
As Daryl and Rick, in a jeep, run the Saviors off the road and capture those guns, Carol, Ezekiel and Jerry are on foot, trying to stay ahead of the herd of walkers. Ezekiel's hurt leg is slowing them down and they end up trying to make their way through the woods. They come upon a creekbed filled with barrels of toxic waste: the walkers milling around in there are pale and bloated - like that walker Ezekiel commented upon a couple of episodes ago (and we KNEW these toxic walkers would make another appearance) - and when Jerry hits them with his ax, they basically explode into disgusting white pus. Carol, Ezekiel and Jerry try to get across the creek but there are a lot of walkers. They struggle to get the king up the far side and he insists that he leave him there - he can buy them time. In fact, he wastes some time by making another speech - time that would have been better spent climbing up that banking and getting away - crying out that he isn't a king, he isn't a leader, he's nothing, he's just some guy.
Just then, Shiva the magnificent CGI tiger leaps into the creek. As she lays waste to several walkers, Carol and Jerry haul Ezekiel out of the creek. He turns and calls to the tiger but she keeps fighting the walkers as they surround her. Eventually, there are too many even for her and they collapse on her and begin to feed as Ezekiel screams her name. (Apparently this is the way she dies in the comics, under a pile of walkers, sacrificing herself so Ezekiel can get away.) The scummy water in the creek turns red with tiger blood. I'm a little sad - yes, for the death of a CGI tiger based on a comic book tiger.
Carol, Ezekiel and Jerry finally return to the Kingdom. They are the only ones to come back out of everyone who left. The people of the Kingdom gather around their king, shock and sadness on their faces. He can barely meet their gazes. There are no speeches now.
Best episode of the season so far. Even if the tiger had to die.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
6 hours ago