[Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 8, episode 4, titled "Some Guy." Turn back if you haven't watched the episode yet.]
Fans were promised All Out War in The Walking Dead Season 8, and right out of the gate, we got it. Guns blazed, stuff blew up, the body count skyrocketed and the walkers feasted once more.
But—though guns still blazed and walkers still feasted—Sunday's episode, "Some Guy," slowed things down a little and focused only on Khary Payton's King Ezekiel and Melissa McBride's Carol, two characters with very different ideas about what All Out War really means—the weapons and warfare kind and the psychological-impact kind. In doing that, viewers got a break from the shoot-or-not-to-shoot business for a nice reminder that at the heart of morality and mortality, there's just some tormented guys and ladies.
That said, here are five things "Some Guy" got exactly right.
1. The jaw-dropping gore was about people not zombie
As ever, the talent of Greg Nicotero's team was on full display, but this time, the most impactful visuals of ruined bodies were about the fallen Kingdom fighters, not the walkers. The bodies we saw were the same ones in the opening moments of the episode, very much alive and bidding their loved ones a goodbye they possibly didn't know was permanent. It was gross. But it was, more so, rending and emotional and a reminder that lots of these people aren't our Main Warrior Heroes, but just everyday family folk trying to get by.
2. The emotion rang true
Even the smallish moments like Alvaro and Jerry protecting their king after carnage felt like a great big deal in understanding how the Kingdom functioned all this time. As we said in the above, watching families about to be fractured, an orphaned child desperate for a hero who won't ever go away, and a hero realizing he is anything but was blessed emotional meat to chew on after three episodes of action-adventure. Watching Carol display the heartbreaking, lifesaving skills set that everything this world has afforded her was most satisfying of all.
'The Walking Dead' Season 8, episode 4, titled 'Some Guy,' sees King Ezekiel face a sobering new reality, one that Carol saw coming from a mile away. And the Kingdom's devastating losses aren't just of the human variety.
3. The King stopped being a cartoon
Yeah, it was good fun, back there in Season 7, to see Ezekiel on his throne with Shiva prowling about. His lofty proclamations were pretty amusing, too. And the Kingdom looked a like a very nice place to be in some not so nice times. But that all wore off pretty quickly. We've seen, especially in recent episodes, that the root of the Kingdomers' devotion is more about purpose and structure than believing the guy truly a modern-day Shakespearean hero, so ya kinda had to believe that they were all rooting for a bit of "just say it plain," too. The flashes of Ezekiel just being Ezekiel with Carol were the best part of the King—and now the King's eyes are open. To the reality of this world. To the shortcomings of his ruse. To his solo abilities in battle and as a leader. And our money is on Ezekiel becoming a much more interesting guy, starting now.
4. Shiva is no more
Don't get us wrong—we loved that big, emerald-eyed, CGI-created lug as much as Ezekiel did. We loved when she saved the day and hated the helpless way she died. But the tiger was much better suited to fantastical comic than a series that is trying to make this stuff seem real. When food is at a premium to begin with, what were they feeding a cat of that size? She was a pretty large target for enemy gunfire, but never took a shot. She never became a real part of the story..because it was so unlikely she could.
5. Daryl and Rick bring just a leeeeettle dab of levity
Daryl dumped his bike. Rick crashed two Jeeps. But they still got the bad guys and the guns and a couple of playful zingers that felt like old times when our primary group was a small, tight-knit one with fewer emotional wounds and the callouses they create. It was a nice touch.
The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC