The Walking Dead: 702 “The Well” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
“The Well” was certainly a slower, more peaceful episode compared to the brutal season opener, and I think we needed this short moment of reprieve in order to catch our breath and readjust.
This week we caught up with Carol and Morgan, continuing their story from the end of Season Six. Carol had left Alexandria and was chased down by The Savior’s before finally being rescued by Morgan. They were then picked up by another group, and now we finally discover who they are.
I really did enjoy seeing another new settlement. Like Jesus said in Season Six, Rick’s world was about to be made a whole lot bigger. And The Kingdom truly gives that impression that this apocalyptic world hasn’t fully destroyed humanity and there’s still a chance for a better world. Up until now we had only seen Rick’s attempts at securing a settlement (usually ending rather badly) and that of corrupt settlements under the control of either madmen or damaged people. But now we are given another place, like Hilltop, where we have a community that is fair and peaceful.
Before we move on can I just say wow! That tiger looked impressive! Clearly I’m aware that Shiva is mostly CGI, but it’s very convincing and well constructed. Every scene she is in Shiva looks organic and near enough living as if she were really there onset with the rest of the cast. Tremendous work guys!
Anyway, the big reveal this week (along with Shiva) was of course King Ezekiel. Now I’ll be honest the character we received wasn’t the one I was expecting. When I heard about Ezekiel, and that he would be featuring in Season Seven, I expected a strong leader that run a fearsome group of survivors (similar to Negan), especially since the guy owned his own tiger but he would have more of a coded system which meant he wasn’t as ruthless. However, Ezekiel turned out to be a really cool guy who wants a fair Kingdom with happy people inside. I found that the character we received turned out to be better than the one I perceived.
Ezekiel was a very honest man and even though he was wrapped up in his little fantasy he still took the dangers of the outside world seriously and made sure his people were protected. The Kingdom really did feel like an old fashioned kingdom with Ezekiel being the king, the walls protected by knights, whilst the ordinary citizens undertook their daily routines to keep the kingdom running. On top of this there were choir groups, schools for children to learn and an entire area dedicated to growing crops. This settlement looked almost perfect, but usually when that’s the case it is.
Unfortunately even Negan’s wrath extends to The Kingdom as it turned out that The Saviors made a deal with Ezekiel. This brought this new world closer to the ongoing plot and showed how far Negan stretched and how much he controlled through his fearsome strength and ruthless nature. It’s beginning to build up to this terrifying conflict where Alexandria, Hilltop, and The Kingdom will have to combine their strength in order to take Negan down once and for all, but even then there will still be many consequences down the road.
As well as introducing all the new elements we also got time to see character development for Carol and Morgan. Morgan’s development was especially appreciated because his character became a real danger last season with his backwards thinking which nearly got people killed on multiple occasions. Finally after understanding Carol’s words from Season Six’s finale and having to pull the trigger to save a friend Morgan has come to realise that his new way of thinking was wrong and that he needs to find a new path. Luckily he hasn’t become too broken because of this, which is good because he’s a interesting character to follow and I could clearly see he wanted to improve himself and find a new way to help others.
This was particularly shown with his bond to Benjamin, one of Ezekiel’s knights, as he trains him to use a staff. Benjamin is a great character who seems aware of the world around him, sharing a bond with Ezekiel through his late-father, and appears very inquisitive and eager to learn as well as looking after his people. Though I have a terrible feeling that he will eventually die (but that is the bane of this brutal series, start liking a character and then they are tragically taken from you!). I think Benjamin will do Morgan some real good, especially now as he tries to find his feet again.
Carol still wishes to move on after her realisation at the end of Season Six that she was no longer willingly able to kill for her friends. She had become disgusted, and frightened by what she was capable of doing and so wished to go off on her own again. Though it was good that Ezekiel managed to bond with her and attempted to make her see reason. This was definitely the best scene of the episode as it allowed us to get to the know the king and who he really is.
Ezekiel could see right through Carol and made her see The Kingdom beyond her scepticism. In explaining that he uses his title to bring hope to his people made you like Ezekiel even more because he was noble through his selfless actions. Yes he did admit that he does enjoy the lifestyle of being referred to as king, but mostly he does it to keep order through peace. Also his tale of how he met Shiva and grew a bond through his daring actions to rescue her was heart-warming, adding in a new dynamic friendship between man and animal. You got the sense that Ezekiel was just another survivor and that he wanted what everyone else wanted, restoration of the world that was cruelly taken from them.
This episode did wonders for both Carol and Morgan, two of the most complex and interesting characters of the main cast. They both began to realise that their ways of thinking of late were wrong and they began to accept the change to their realities. Even their past rivalry had passed as they both began to bond after Morgan finally came to terms with his mistakes. And with the inclusion of Ezekiel and The Kingdom I feel The Walking Dead has grown larger as a show. I really can’t wait to see how all these new elements come together to develop the long, dark road ahead.