The Walking Dead: The Well Review
The Walking Dead, season 7, episode 2, ‘The Well,’ was not a filler episode. Just thought I’d start with that – so none of you, popping your eyes back into your heads, start wondering what the hell kind of follow through was this. Well, ‘The Well’ wasn’t a follow through; just a quick update. Certain elements need to fall in line, for Negan’s ‘new beginning’ to eventually mean something (more). In that regard, this episode served its purpose. It just may have required a bit of patience, is all.
The singular drama, revolving around Carol (Melissa McBride) & Morgan (Lennie James), didn’t end with their last season run-in, with some new enclave scouts. If anything, they seemed to trade Saviors for Walkers, by the re-intro. Maybe it was the fever dream aspect to it, but I wonder if it occurred to Carol that she had taken the Sophia route, getting out of immediate danger. I suppose visions of her daughter might’ve upset the opening scene set-up, regarding where the episode ended; but first things first.
The Carol-Morgan thing (Corgan?) wouldn’t be resolved, this episode, either; but what we did get was something of an understanding. The kind you get when parties at impasse just let things go (finally, dammit).
See, this is where a show like Fear the Walking Dead might want to milk the Corgan drama, for a season (or two). With everyone fixated on Negan, it might’ve even been possible to have Corgan sidelined, for a bit, while the Saviors arc ground its footing.
Well, that didn’t happen. The season has ground to cover; so Corgan got a third party arbitrator, to make things too awkward to be taken too seriously. Enter Ezekiel (Khary Payton): King of the Kingdom.
I suppose we’ve all had time to brace for Ezekiel’s digital Tiger, Shiva; but somehow, that intro left me half-expecting the Old Spice jingle, instead of the strings to the series theme. The Ezekiel flourish didn’t help; but c’mon – Ezekiel’s rocking a Tiger (jingle).
To Carol’s credit, she may have laughed for the rest of us, but it was clearly the game face of the moment. Another passive domicile, another domesticated Carol, just so could see how long before Murderess Stewart starts bleeding out the wallpaper (again).
Well, that didn’t happen. The season’s got ground to cover, and Ezekiel’s packing a sinister secret (jingle).
There was something disturbing about a diet of Walker fed feral pigs – never mind the idea that the pigs seemed better at culling Walkers than the opposite. The upside to that concern, was the idea that the episode telegraphed a very Medieval solution, to a conflict that hasn’t gone full-blown, yet. So maybe Ezekiel’s crazy like a fox. So maybe the problem being ‘solved’ shows up with hounds, at some point.
It didn’t matter whether it was all an act, or not, the only thing that really allowed me to take any of it seriously, was knowing it was all a set-up. Eventually, the robots always break down, and start eating the tourists.
That was made clear enough, when the ‘problem being solved’ was revealed earlier than I had expected (again, the milking thing). Way to deny me a plot prediction gloat. What followed was a subtle demonstration of the performance Ezekiel had been putting on. Whoever said pride had anything to do with showmanship never had to truly commit.
With the show going on, and Morgan seeming to accept a role, that just left the matter of neo-realist Carol to deal with.
The admission that Carol’s act had worked on him, at all, left me thinking that Ezekiel might’ve been tipped off by Shiva – alpha predators know competition when they see it. Those poor, harmonizing sheeple otherwise had no idea what they were dealing with – and the only one who did got a new baby to sit. Cue Great Escape theme.
What could’ve been a last rehash of the Corgan impasse, instead turned into a nice DVD commentary reel, between the Kingdom’s star, and its featured guest performer. There was a meeting of the minds, there – enough to leave the Corgan dynamic at a separation, rather than an end.
TWD needs two of the show’s larger figures in play – for when things go from setting up pieces, to knocking them down – and ‘The Well’ did as good a job as any, in that regard. It gave us both a lull (to let us know something is coming), and placed some sharp bits right in the midst of it (to give some idea of what awaits that something). A few more episodes like this, to establish Negan’s new beginning should do fine. It’s not filler; it’s set-piecing.
Come to think of it… Carol self-exiling, well away from a community at peace, and setting up shop in a nice, quiet home… seemed kind of familiar, in a bitter sweet kind of way.
Well, that didn’t happen. Carol set up shop in the suburbs of the Kingdom, and the house warming came early. Ezekiel’s packing a pomegranate (jingle).
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