By Skyler Lawton (@sky_guy127)
Last week, there was some hesitation to write that AMC's The Walking Dead was finally hitting its stride again. Well, fear not, because there is NO hesitation after the latest/8x04 "Some Guy" episode. Episode 8x04 was one an emotional ride much like other episodes this show used to take us on in the past. And much like the deaths of Lorrie and Glen (who for this writer in particular, were the most tragic), another character has left us in mourning and utter disbelief. If you do not wish to know the character, this is a suggestion to leave now.
Starting where last week ended with Ezekiel’s (Khary Payton) men being gunned down in a hail of gunfire, we come to discover that there were hardly any survivors. As far as it appears from the opening only Ezekiel and Carol (Melissa McBride) made it out alive from the onslaught, and this puts the first serious dent in Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) plan to combat The Saviors. From the previous two episodes, it wasn’t hard to see something like this coming to the King. His overconfidence and enthusiasm were dead giveaways for an eventual, albeit harsh, let down. Nearly the entire Kingdom has been killed, save for a few that stayed behind, and because of the lack of manpower things will, again, get harder before they get better.
Following the massacre, we find that Ezekiel lived because of the sacrifice his loyal subjects made to protect him. Soon after, he is captured by “some guy” (where the episode name comes from) that intends on taking him back to Savior HQ. What is interesting about this person is that for someone who has no name, he holds a pretty large role in the episode. He brings Ezekiel back to earth and knocks him from the high horse he’d been riding lately, by belittling him about his status as a “King” and his role in leading his people into a slaughter. This breaks him down nearly as much as another loss he will encounter later in the episode. Luckily, Ezekiel is saved just in time by Jerry (Cooper Andrews), the right hand of the "King." This effectively cuts “some guy’s” time short, keeping with the “abrupt ends to characters” theme so far this season, much like Morales from last week.
As previously mentioned, Carol managed to escape the gunfire and continue on the mission to take the compound but, in good ol’ Carol fashion, elects to take a more stealthy approach as opposed to the brute force of Ezekiel's (now dead) army. Eventually, she gets caught up with the Saviors she’s after and a firefight breaks out but her assailants manage to get away as she helps Ezekiel and Jerry from becoming Walker chow. Carol is always fun to watch and her cunning and resolve never cease to impress as the show marches towards its 9th season. Throughout the series, Melissa McBride has been one of the great and consistent highlights and once again really shines through on this episode.
The two assailants that manage to escape Carol are quickly subdued by Rick and Darryl (Norman Reedus) during an intense yet “I know neither of these people are going to die” car chase. This pretty much completes Rick and Darryl’s job of acquiring the Saviors guns so, here's guessing the third phase of Rick’s plan will start to unfold within the next few episodes. Although their parts were very minimal because of the focus on King Ezekiel and (Queen) Carol, Rick and Darryl are never disappointing to watch work together in the show. In fact, these two will likely go down as one of the greatest dynamic duos to grace a TV screen. Amazing really, considering that Darryl is one, not a part of the comics, and two, wasn’t supposed to survive the first few seasons according to some sources.
The final and most tragic part of this episode is the final death…of SHIVA! Yes, the King's trusted sidekick and pet tiger is no more. After all that the two of them went through, Shiva sacrifices herself just as the loyal subjects had done previously to save King Ezekiel. If you keep up with the comics, you knew this was coming. However, there still remained hope that this was going to be one of those facets of the show that the show would change from the comic. Although comic book readers knew it was bound to happen it ultimately didn’t make it hurt any less. Seeing Ezekiel’s beloved pet being eaten by a pack of walkers just stirred up emotions because surely we can all agree that a connection was felt with that beautiful tiger. The only gripe with her death is how they decided to send her off. Like, seriously guys? Being eaten by walkers…again? Although an opinion, it would have been way more dramatic of a sacrifice for her to have died another way. Aside from the initial shock, it felt a little anti-climactic and us wishing they would have given her a more honorable death. Maybe by taking a bullet or coming between Ezekiel and a deadly knife aimed at his chest…almost anything other than death by walkers. It’s minor, but to some, it matters.
The Walking Dead 8x04 "Some Guy": Good.
Overall, a depressing and mournful affair is made enjoyable because of its effect on the audience, and the impact it will have on the survivors. King Ezekiel has lost the will to lead and it is likely to be Carol who will be the one to bring him back from his depression. With a laser focus, the show now knows where it is heading and it’s taking us along for the ride. Heading into next week, here's hoping we'll finally find out what is happening between Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan)! But until then, we'll be planning a vigil for our favorite tiger, Shiva. May she RIP.