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King Ezekiel Watches Shiva Fight The Walkers

Friday, September 6, 2019 7:35:25 PM

Season 8 of The Walking Dead opened with a bang; Rick's triumphant assault on the Sanctuary certainly made us believe that our heroes were starting off on the right foot. But the three most recent episodes have proven that Negan and his minions won't go down without a fight, with devastating results. Luckily, Rick and Daryl were on hand to stop Negan's henchmen from getting their stash of guns back to the Sanctuary, but the damage had already been done.

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This felt like one of the best episodes in years. Payton is given room to show how everything Ezekiel has been building since the Turn gets turned to dust, and the terror that comes with having all the stories you tell about yourself exposed. He knew what would come of it.

As he tells them about the nobility of their fight, about his optimism about their odds, he face betrays it all. Ezekiel knows in his heart that death waits for them out there. He is terrified of it. More than that, this is a moment that he has been unwittingly driving toward since the Turn, since he decided to use his community-theater talents and zookeeper skills — and his pet tiger — to refashion himself as a king with near-magical powers.

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In fact, it seems like these first four episodes have portrayed events that may have taken only a day or two at most. That intensity has restored some of the heart-pounding that made this show such an excruciating joy to watch.

He spun one. The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes knew the natural state of man is one of constant conflict over resources. Every leader has a story to tell. The ones that succeed in gaining power are the ones that tell the best stories.

Is his story absurd? Of course it is.

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But history has shown us, myriad times, that people are willing to buy absurd stories. He really is trying to give his people something positive to believe in.

It worked, too. How many people sacrificed their lives for him in this battle? Three or four threw themselves in front of him when the firing started. Alvaro Carlos Navarro dies trying to save him.

Jerry Cooper Andrews was ready to throw down his life thankfully, Jerry lives to the closing credits.

Even Shiva the tiger eventually sacrifices her life to protect Ezekiel.

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How about when the people of the Kingdom gather around him, clutching him, clutching each other. They believe.

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The myth Ezekiel created around himself worked. He created a functioning society, and found dedicated followers. He created a myth, but as he told Carol, he had to decide whether or not to try and really become it.

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He tried, and for a while it worked. Until they ran into those M-2s. After Carol chooses to save Ezekiel and Jerry rather than secure the big guns, the story hands off to Rick and Daryl.

They bolt into action in a car chase that feels shaky on its physics, but not on its characters. It was a heavy price to pay. More from MarketWatch.

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