Ginger Nuts of Horror
BY KIT POWER AND KAYLEIGH MARIE EDWARDS
Welcome to the second installment of a weekly column where Gingernutters Kayleigh Edwards and Kit Power take to a shared Google Doc to discuss this week’s Walking Dead broadcast episode in a conversational exchange. Enjoy!
Warning: The following conversation contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead, up to and including the events of Season 7, Episode 2. If you don’t want to be spoiled, please turn away now. For those of you who have seen S7 E2, please join in with the conversation in the comments section.
Kit Power: Well, now. After last week’s tension and blood soaked premier, a very different pace and tone for Episode Two. What are your initial thoughts/impressions?
Kayleigh Edwards: I thought it was nice to have a somewhat silly break from all of the devastation!
KP: Couldn’t agree more. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Luciele, but as far as I’m concerned, she can take a nice long holiday. So this episode we got to see The Kingdom for the first time, reconnect with Carole and Morgan, and meet King Ezekiel and Shiva! What a moment that was!
KE: Yes, I was wondering how they were going to pull that off without it seeming ridiculous (I think it works in the comic because it’s a comic but on a show that’s been written as a straight up drama in a zombie apocalypse, I wasn’t sure how well it would go over!). Luckily, Carol’s face said what everyone was probably thinking… ‘what the hell?’
KP: Yeah. There are a few moments like that in the series - Carl’s first shooting, Michonne's first appearance and meeting the king all spring to mind - where I find myself imagining how good the full panel reveal must have looked in the source material. That said, yeah, Carole’s reaction (and her later conversation with Morgan) was spot on, and I spent pretty much the whole of the scene thinking ‘Negan’s gonna skin that tiger’. That said, I also thought the actor playing Ezekiel was superb - especially in his closing monologue where he dropped ‘the act’ and levelled with Carole. But we’ll get to that in a bit - let’s talk about Carole! How good is it to have her back? It feels like it’s been an age. And what did you think about the hints as to her mental state in that opening sequence?
KE: I just love Carol. I think that of all the characters, she’s changed the most since she first appeared as Ed’s scared, abused wife. She’s very much like an Apache Helicopter in that she is now a total death machine! I’m a little concerned about her mental state though, considering what happens to her in the comic.
KP: Argh! No comic spoilers! :) But yeah, the shots of the walkers morphing into the people she’s killed was… interesting. And I loved her conversation with Morgan, where he was all like ‘I’m not gonna let you..’ and she’s all like’...let?!?’.
And Morgan’s back! Yay! What’s interesting to me, here, is that, apparently, a significant amount of time has passed between E1 and tonight - Morgan has clearly been a part of the community for a while, and is helping train up the kid to fight better. What did you think of those scenes?
KE: Um, well I get them. I mean, I guess we’re supposed to see that Morgan’s a welcome addition to The Kingdom as he has things to offer, and maybe we’re meant to question whether they plan on returning to Alexandria (which I doubt because Carol was running from there in the first place). But to be honest, it’s just more of the same Morgan for me.
KP: I think there were a couple of parts I really enjoyed - the first was the kid reading - this is clearly a very bright lad, for whom combat is never going to be his primary skill. A good brain is an enormous asset in any survival situation, so I will be very interested as to how the show plays this out, and whether or not the king figures out that the kid is an asset even without having expert combat skills. Or even if the show does, I suppose :/ The other part I dug was Morgan’s admission that he actually doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing at this point. The distance travelled by his character in terms of development is astonishing, and I like the feeling that it’s still in flux, still developing.
Oh, and hey, Saviours! Saviours being fed zombie meat pigs! WTF?!?
KE: I’d feed them zombie meat pigs too! Like hell would I be wasting decent food to feed to the pigs when I just have to hand them over anyway! I love The Saviours too. Not ‘love’ in a ‘what a nice bunch of dudes’ way, but ‘love’ in the same way that I love Ramsay on Game of Thrones. Every time they’re on screen I get nervous because anything could happen, it’s so exciting!
KP: Yes! There’s instant tension, isn’t there? I really enjoyed how that negotiation scene played out - the two leaders with their wary acceptance, even mutual respect, but the second in commands on both sides just unable to back off the macho posturing. And as you say, knowing who the Saviours are and what they are capable of just makes every scene drip with tension. They remind me of gangsters in a gangster movie in that way - the constant threat of violence.
What did you think about that? And do you think the King is considering resistance? I have a very bad feeling about that whole scene...
KE: Yeah I enjoyed the dynamic there as well. I thought that the Saviour dude in charge of the “trade” was reasonable, and that made me think that not every member of The Saviours is a murderous lunatic. Maybe there are people in that group who want out. In fact, wasn’t Dwight running from someone the first time we met him? Maybe he was trying to escape from Negan!
I think Ezekiel might consider resisting but he’s surely smart enough to know that he can’t do that without a lot more people. Maybe it will be Carol that stirs up his violent side when she finds out they have Daryl!
KP: Right, that very much feels like the lit fuse right now, doesn’t it? Talking of the two of them, how did you find that scene in the garden where both characters let their guards down? I thought both the acting and direction was superb - it was beautifully lit.
KE: Yeah it was one of my favourite scenes in the episode. Normally I like to have to wait a bit to get a character’s back story but I think we needed to see the real Ezekiel straight up, because otherwise he might have seemed too ‘out there’ going forward. And he’s the first person to just see straight through Carol’s ‘helpless’ act and we got to see that too.
KP: Agreed, and it told us so much about Ezekiel - how perceptive he is - ‘don’t bullshit a bullshitter’ - and his willingness to be open, his essential vulnerability. Humanity, even. Now historically, the show has had some very firm ideas about where that kind of attitude will get you in a post-rules, zombie infested society, So I’m nervous about The Kingdom’s survival chances, but I am hoping against hope that maybe we’ll actually see the strengths of such an approach, and not just the obvious weaknesses.
On that - random note, but I loved the acapella rendition of ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright’, and the montage that accompanied it of life in The Kingdom. How did you get on with the overall much slower pacing of the episode?
KE: The soundtrack is always awesome - this show introduced me to Clutch! My favourite episodes are always the fast-paced, danger-filled ones, but I think we need the slower, calmer ones to balance them out. I’m excited about what we might see next week though! As far as The Kingdom goes.. I’m wondering how long it will last. Since the prison, I’ve stopped hoping that any safe haven they find is actually going to last! Instead, I just look forward to seeing what sort of catastrophe will bring it down! My favourite ‘destroying’ of a safe place is still the prison though… that was spectacular!
KP: Yeah, that was awe inspiring. And spending basically the whole following season just bringing everyone together again was so brilliant. And yes, it’s a central feature of the show that havens, by their nature, have to be temporary, otherwise the drama grinds to a halt. I think it may even, in time, become a weakness, because it does add a level of predictability to proceedings. Though the show’s been very inventive in that regard so far, so I’ll certainly stay glued to the set for now. Any other closing thoughts?
KE: Just that I hope that having a nice little house will help Carol’s brain heal! I love her!
KP: Yeah. Because that’s what this show’s all about - healing and happy endings!
KE: You can’t see me but I’m doing an angry face at you.
KP: Then my work here is done :) See you next week!
KE: Next week it is!