In “The Walking Dead,” sometimes we run into problems. Other times, there’s just “Some Guy.”
1. Two Stories, No Waiting
When the story of “The Walking Dead” focuses on only one or two characters, there seems to usually be a better told story altogether. While Rick and Daryl’s role does take up some screen time (to be discussed further down), the main focus of this episode seems to be on Ezekiel, with some other attention given to Carol Peletier.
By focusing on only a few stories, “The Walking Dead” allows for better character moments and better overall characterization. As such, this episode ends up being one of the better ones overall, even compared to the entire rest of the season. Of course, there’s some really weird moments, like when Ezekiel gives his secret to Carol again in broad daylight, in plain view of every single person in camp when most don’t appear to have known it before, but those are far less obvious in the episode itself.
2. Fall of the King
After a few episodes of Ezekiel acting just flat out weird, rather than funny or otherwise campy, finally we have an actual character episode for him.
As it turns out, this is also the time when he has decided to give up on his charade altogether. It took some coaxing from a relatively random Savior and being buried in the corpses of his men with a bullet wound in his leg, but he appears to have finally realized that he is, as the Savior calls him, a “conman in a costume,” a role emphasized by how the episode opened up with him putting on his “king suit” in the morning. His decision to give up his act is compounded not only with his decision not to give one of his grand speeches upon his return to his base of operations for the war, but also by the line that gives the episode its name: “I’m not your king! I’m not your majesty. Look at what’s in front of us. That is real. […] I am not king. I am nothing. I’m just some guy. Some guy who fought.”
Furthermore, that line was followed up by the heroic, final actions of Shiva. With the loss of his pet tiger, his constant companion, Ezekiel lost the last thing that left people believing he was a “king,” and his hammy, theatrical demeanor seems completely gone.
This change in his demeanor does give up his funnier characteristics, but those seem to have been misused this season anyway, so the change is welcome on the whole and in keeping with the idea that people have to change to survive in this crazy, horrible world. That, and his “and yet I smile” speeches were really starting to grate anyway.
Still, it’s hard to argue with Jerry’s commentary on Ezekiel as a whole. He may not be a king, but it’s good to thank him for being “such a cool dude” in general.
As a side note, some may realize a reference to his later fate in the comics. It won’t be discussed here, however.
3. Carol the Invincible
The worst parts of the episode seem to come from the actions of Carol. Much like Rick in many an episode, Carol seems to be completely invincible. Every time she’s near danger, she seems to get out of it without much trouble at all, and this is no better shown than when she, surrounded by three Saviors, manages to fend them off until they run away with the guns.
Furthermore, she seems capable of counting the bullets in the Saviors’ guns, despite not having any indication that they were fully loaded, or how she could count several different guns firing at the same time. She’s not exactly “Dirty” Harry Callaghan. Much like Ezekiel, she’s “just some woman” who learns as she goes.
4. Better Representation of Ammo
On the subject of ammunition, this episode portrayed it far better than previous ones. Yes, people still fire bursts, but they run out of bullets, or only fire short amounts. Ezekiel runs into several guns that have no bullets left, and Carol has to pick up new guns as she goes on her one-woman assault on the gun depot-of-undisclosed-location, even mentioning that she has all of the ammunition in the gun of someone she just killed at one point, and noting how it is running out later on in the episode.
While the aforementioned Dirty Harry-esque ability is annoying, it’s still good that we have removed that weird “unlimited ammo” feature from previous episodes.
5. Car Chase
Rick and Daryl’s contribution to this episode was a somewhat odd car chase sequence that seems to fit better into an action movie, but worked relatively well enough here. Yes, the Saviors had a Gatling gun in the back of the car, but it still made sense for them to have the ammunition, given they’ve been scavenging and they just grabbed a car full of guns.
Daryl seems to be unbreakable in this sequence. He falls off of his motorcycle in a crash that likely would cause serious injury in real life, if not outright break his neck, and not only gets back on his motorcycle none the worse for wear, but catches up with the two speeding trucks after getting back on, with no mention of the crash. Why even put in such a sequence for the chase, anyway? Still, this could be overlooked, especially for those who haven’t suffered from automotive injuries in the past.
Far better is the acknowledgement that for all their successes at getting the Savior truck to crash and avoid getting the guns back to Sanctuary, there was no real victory. In crashing the truck, Rick’s impulsiveness led to him letting go of his own car, leading to it likely crashing quite a ways down the road, if not just being too far away to carry the crates. The truck that they were following was on its side and smoking, functionally useless. And as for Daryl’s motorcycle… how could it carry both of them and even one of the gun cases?
Ah, realism, you strike again! Took you long enough.