After a brutal season opener that left fans sobbing into the wee hours of the morning, this week's episode of The Walking Dead was kind enough to keep it light. In fact, compared to the season 7 premiere, the second installment of AMC's award-winning zombie drama was practically a fairy tale — albeit one with no happy ending guaranteed.
From the introduction of a royally fabulous new character to a key glimpse of the Saviors to the coolest zombie kill in recent memory, here are key moments from the Sunday, October 30, episode, titled "The Well."
A Guy From the Kingdom Hit a Zombie on the Head, and the Zombie's Face Fell Off.
After six full seasons of watching the show's titular characters get shot, hacked, splattered and decapitated by the rear hatch of a Subaru Outback, individual zombie kills don't exactly impress us anymore — that is, until the moment when one of the Kingdom's most talented residents thunked a zombie on the head in such a way that the zombie's entire face fell off. How? What kind of ninja moves does that guy have and where did he learn them? No, don't tell us. Let's all just bask in the mystery and glamour of this signature Walking Dead moment. I mean, his whole face. Wow.
Now Entering the Kingdom.
It's official: The hottest survivors community in the zombie apocalypse is the Kingdom. This colony has everything — a thriving garden, children in school and an a cappella group that does sweet, soulful covers of Bob Dylan songs. Carol (Melissa McBride) woke up after her near-death ordeal to find herself behind its walls — along with Morgan (Lennie James), her antagonist turned rescuer — to her great unhappiness, since it's exactly the kind of harmonious, caring community that she didn't want to be in anymore. And despite appearances, the Kingdom has its own issues. Chief among them?
Meet the King of the Kingdom.
Enter King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), a dreadlocked, throne-sitting monarch who talks like he fell straight out of a Grimm's fairy tale and keeps a tiger on a leash. Introduced to Ezekiel, Carol (in full happy homemaker camouflage) spoke for all of us: "I don't know what the hell is going on, in the most wonderful way!"
But the Saviors Reign.
On top of the fact that they're apparently ruled by an actual crazy person, the Kingdom has another problem: Negan. Far outside the colony's walls, Ezekiel and his trusted guards met with the Saviors to pay the price for peace.— eight freshly slaughtered pigs (who were fattened on a steady diet of zombie meat. Pro tip: If Negan offers you a side of bacon, DON'T EAT IT). Although some folks, including young Ben (Logan Miller) seemed not entirely sold on paying the Saviors' blackmail, we learned that Ezekiel had already decided that: a) fighting back wasn't worth the human cost, and b) most of the folks inside the Kingdom's gates didn't need to know about the deal. And that's not the only thing about Ezekiel that wasn't quite what it seemed.
A Royal Fraud.
When Carol was caught by Ezekiel trying to escape the Kingdom under cover of darkness, she dropped her act — and so did he, along with his magnanimous royal accent. Turns out, before the zombie apocalypse, his majesty was a zookeeper with a theater hobby; after the end of the world, his acting ability (and his loyal tiger) helped turn him into a larger-than-life figure. And while Ezekiel and his radical honesty couldn't get Carol to stay, he did convince her to go without leaving — in other words, to move only as far a little house just beyond the gates. And it doesn't look like Carol will be there alone for long, if you know what we're saying; shortly after moving in, a knock on the door revealed Ezekiel on the porch with a pomegranate in one hand and his tiger's leash in the other. Looks like his royal highness has a crush on his newest subject.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
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