The Walking Dead, ‘Some Guy’ – All Hail The King (Ezekiel)

King Ezekiel The Walking Dead Some Guy
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Some Guy Plot Summary:

King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) leads a raid on a Savior outpost, and it goes terribly wrong. Now he must battle his way out of the walker riddled compound area while Carol (Melissa McBride) tries to stop the transport of the Savior’s 50 caliber machine gun.

The Walking Dead has an infuriatingly predictable season structure:

  • Shoot-the-works premiere that addresses cliffhanger from previous finale.
  • Strong, but not great second episode.
  • A frustrating, and barely entertaining third episode.
  • A fourth episode that focuses on a side character…which is usually terrible.

And that’s exactly how this season has played out. “Some Guy” marks the fourth episode, and it follows the playbook — the episode focuses on a side character. But this time something was different … it was really good.

“Some Guy” focuses on the salt and peppered shoulders of King Ezekiel — a charismatic character, who sometimes borders on caricature. He’s one of those characters you either love or hate, there’s not too much middle ground on this guy. He’s grandiose as grandiose gets, and he almost doesn’t fit in the series. However, we’ve had some nice moments of humanity from the King of The Kingdom, to know he has the potential to be a great character.

Since the season premiere Ezekiel’s been giving speech after speech proclaiming his team “would not lose member.” Of course means he’s going to lose EVERY member of the team (save for Carol, and maybe one other person). It was obvious as the feather in his hair.

However, the episode really pulled a fast one, and juxtaposed his speech with him crawling from underneath a pile of his people’s corpses — who are now starting to come back to life. It’s jarring, claustrophobic scene, and it’s a great way to kick off the season.

The majority of the episode centers around Ezekiel, and the question of his legitimacy. We know “The King” was just a mere zookeeper, who saved a tiger’s life twice. The only reason people fear him, and follow him, is because of his tiger — from both its physical presence to the courage and charisma he derives from having a massive killing machine at his side. Ezekiel knows that his mettle has not been tested as a warrior, especially given the chance he might die. This episode, he realizes this, and for once we get a character with a moral conflict that we care about.

Khary Payton, who is best known (to me at least) for his vocal work as the excitable Cyborg on Teen Ttans Go, is awesome in this episode. He’s able to pack bravado, fear, selflessness, selfishness, loyalty, anger, and despair into one episode. Patton does more with this character in this episode (emotionally speaking) than some of the main characters have in years.

Of course, the scene we have to discuss is the death of his tiger, Shiva. This is straight out of the comics, so this isn’t the series trying to create a sad moment for a sad moment/social media spike’s sake. This was a genuine, ripped-from-the-comic moment.

To be honest, the scene lacked the teeth (pun intended) of some of the great tragic deaths in series history (e.g. Merle Dixon). This is due in most part to the CGI of Shiva. The tiger looked fake, plain and simple. So because of that I didn’t really get too emotionally invested in the tiger both saving the humans, and getting eaten by the toxic sludge walkers.

What did sell the scene for me was Patton’s reaction. Just moments after saying he wasn’t a king, he was just some guy — who was willing to die to save his friends — his world is shattered as his every, Shiva, is killed.

The look on Payton’s face, and the quiver in his voice sell this scene. It sells you on his love of Shiva, and how he would jump into the fray to help her. One could argue that without Shiva he’s nothing because of his pride and his Ezekiel character. However, I believe it’s more than that. Shiva was his salvation, as much he was hers. She built him up, gave him hope, and in turn he did the same for his people. Ezekiel’s sorrow is what makes this moment so tragic, not watching a CGI tiger get eaten.

‘Some Guy’ is an extremely impressive character-driven episode of The Walking Dead. It breaks a long run of episodes of this ilk that just flat-out suck. Khary Payton absolutely delivers in the episode, and I really hope to see more of his character at the forefront of the series for the rest of the season.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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