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- Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Norman Reedus
Every week, The Walking Dead’s very own Josh McDermitt, who plays Dr. Eugene Porter, is taking EW behind the scenes of the hit AMC horror series. For each episode, McDermitt will share his thoughts on what went down and what’s coming up, plus walk us through the ins and outs of the show. This week, McDermitt dives into “Some Guy.”
Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead was so sad. “Some Guy,” written by David Leslie Johnson and directed by Dan “Madman” Liu, featured the breakdown of Khary Payton’s King Ezekiel. What started out as an episode of hope and inspiration quickly devolved into pain and brokenness with the loss of the Kingdom’s soldiers and beloved team mascot, Shiva, the friendly tiger.
The King’s speech (not the movie) to start the episode rallied the troops and residents of the Kingdom behind the King. In the face of danger, knowing what could come from rushing “out of peace and into war,” the King smiles. He’s optimistic. Then we slam to the aftermath of the carnage at the end of last week’s episode to see virtually every Kingdomer killed by the big giant gun that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are looking for. We see Alvaro (Carlos Navarro) is still alive and is helping the King to safety, but is killed almost as quickly as we see he’s alive. Every step of the way this man is being beaten and broken down.
And when it looks like King Ezekiel and his Savior captor (Whitmer Thomas) are about to die at the hands of the undead, Jerry (Cooper Andrews) saves the day with what might be one of my favorite kills on this show. The dude slams his battle axe down through the top of the Savior, slicing him in half. I don’t remember reading that in the script, so it came as a complete surprise to me. I must have rewatched it a billion times, sometimes in slow motion, and added the horns of misfortune that you would hear in a Looney Tunes cartoon. I cackled with glee that this happened.
Several moments almost made me tear up. The first was when Jerry saved the day and then handed the bloodied sword back to Ezekiel saying, “Your Majesty.” King Ezekiel’s response, “You don’t need to call me that…” was so broken, but Jerry’s follow-up is what got me: “Yes I do.” It was sharp and a bit broken, too. We got a glimpse into why the Kingdomers follow King Ezekiel. They need something to believe in. This world is so unbelievable; that the dead could start walking and eating your flesh is so far beyond anything anyone could fathom, they would believe in a guy pretending to be a King. At least there is hope there.
Another moment that got to me was when Shiva (Shiva) tried to save the King by attacking the walkers and then met her demise. I didn’t realize it, but I had grown a little attached to that tiger. A man who is already broken then lost the one friend that isn’t going judge him for putting on a charade. R.I.P., Shiva. You always ate everyone and their lunch on set, but you were a damn fine actress!
And finally, when King Ezekiel, Carol (Melissa McBride), and Jerry all returned to the Kingdom after being so fiercely defeated, that was it for me. I couldn’t keep it together anymore. To start the episode with such hope and to end it in defeat was a very strong juxtaposition. Many kudos to the King, Khary Payton, for a brilliant portrayal.