The Walking Dead “The Well” Review (Season 7 Episode 2)

After last week’s brutal season 7 opener, The Walking Dead returned last night to a much calmer pace. I was initially frustrated with the idea of an episode that would not feature any of the attendees at Negan’s career day. In past seasons, I have not been a huge fan of how the writers have handled momentum. The most egregious example, of course, being the Season 6 finale in which viewers were left to wait several months to discover who would fall to Negan. To their credit, the writers did a pretty decent job at recapturing the momentum in the first act of the premiere through Rick’s foggy game of “fetch my ax” with Negan.

I wanted nothing more than to pick up with the “eenie, meanie” survivors. Alas, what we got instead was a look at another thriving community and its charismatic leader – Ezekiel, the king of the Kingdom. With his pet tiger Shiva by his side, Ezekiel has formed a community where cobbler is available at every meal, delicious fruits are in abundance and people have picked up hobbies from their pre-apocalyptic lives, such as singing and movie night.

Ezekiel now joins Jesus, Abraham (RIP) and Negan as the newest wave of iconic comic book characters to join The Walking Dead. The writers did a great job at taking a character who seems a bit over the top – even on a show with zombies – and introducing him in a way that made sense. Using Carol and Morgan to provide the audience perspective through their respective reactions to Ezekiel was great. The writers also did a good job at not belaboring the breakthrough of the facades both Ezekiel and Carol used as a means to survive. As entertaining as Melissa McBride is when doing Carol’s happy homemaker act, it was refreshing to see the writers avoid retreading that storyline in its entirety. Likewise, the writers fleshed out Ezekiel’s back story in a an efficient, yet effective manner.

We also learned that the Kingdom, like Alexandria and the Hilltop, is also under Negan’s “give me half of your sh*t or I will kill you plan.” Although it is unlikely that the Alexandria group will be in a position to fight back against Negan’s group any time soon, I am intrigued by the prospect of an alliance between the Hilltop, the Kingdom and Alexandria.

The Well was also a great episode for Morgan. I am so happy that Lennie James is still part of the show; however, the extremes to which the writers have taken Morgan have been frustrating to watch. Morgan appears to be doing some much needed reflection about the viability of his “all life is precious” approach to surviving. I’m fine with Morgan not becoming Rick, but he’s seen first hand in saving Carol that a more balanced approach is necessary in order to handle the human threat.

Overall, the tonal shift from the brutal premier to this week’s episode was a welcome change. Ezekiel and the Kingdom were a much needed reminder of humanity and hope on a show where we’ve seen people killed in their sleep and two characters brutally beaten to death with a bat. I can’t help but wonder, however, how long Carol and Morgan will be able to enjoy their new surroundings. There’s the obvious devastation that will come when Carol and Morgan learn about what happened to Glenn and Abe. However, I also worry that nothing good will come from Ezekiel keeping the pact with Negan a secret. What happens when the Kingdom comes up short on tainted pigs, cobbler or pomegranates?

What did you think of The Well? Sound off below!