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Spoiler warning for anyone who has yet to watch the second installment of The Walking Dead Season 7.
It's only been a week since that pulse-pounding (and skull-pounding) season premiere of The Walking Dead, even though there have been roughly 7 weeks worth of awesome reactions that have happened between then and now. But while that episode put us up close and personal with new villain Negan and his plan to mentally debilitate Rick, we didn't get to catch up with other lead characters like Carol and Morgan, but that duo was front and center of tonight's introduction to The Kingdom, and Carol has thankfully returned to her old habits for the most part. At least we think so.
Carol's personality and mood have been all over the place since the core group reached Alexandria, and she's been leading something of a double life ever since, with an increasingly dour and hopeless attitude taking over her confident and controlling qualities. (Not that we can blame her, considering all of this.) "The Well" begins with her still extremely out of sorts, and we see just how much Morgan and his new horse-riding compadres had to go through to keep her alive and safe. She didn't seem able to defend herself, with her mental lapses reaching an apex upon hallucinating that creepshow house's walker as a living human being. A serious lapse in judgment like that has never done anyone any good on this show.
But then she awakens inside of The Kingdom, a guest of King Ezekiel and his tiger Shiva, and her temporary haven once again offers her a slice of normal life. Her time spent on the run by herself played a big part in her degrading state, and it's obvious the rest has done her well, since she is immediately back to playing nice (for Ezekiel) and then getting real (with Morgan). She thinks The Kingdom is a "circus," and she doesn't want very much to do with it. At least for now. That's bully for her, though, since she's in a place that has breakfast cobbler now. I mean, breakfast cobbler?!?
Hell, if viewers happened to look away from the TV during a few opportune moments, they might also be fooled by Carol's homemaker ways. She was quite sneaky in snagging herself a knife, but that probably won't be enough of a weapon to keep her going for too long. (Not that she won't be able to use it handily on anyone in her way.) Carol is a born leader, even when she doesn't quite realize it, and now that she's privy to Ezekiel's wildly different method of running a community, perhaps she'll be inspired to become one with a big group again.
But will that group be Rick's or Ezekiel's? After all, that scene at the end of the episode was a solid bonding moment for Ezekiel and Carol. The masks come off, and after she calls him out for his theatrics, he explains he does what he does because people need leaders that they can follow with a mythical reverence. ("They see a dude with a tiger, shoot...") He puts a lot on the line by being this honest with someone that was planning on skipping out, and Carol appreciates both that and his empathy; more than she'd like to, probably. And while we didn't necessarily see anything blatantly pointing to that possible romance from the comics, Carol and Ezekiel are a hell of a lot closer than they were at the episode's outset, and that's a good sign.
It's not clear just yet when we'll get to see Carol reconnecting with her former squad, although we feel safe in the assumption that she'll be shattered by the deaths of Glenn and Abraham. Now that she's setting up shop nearby, at a house with a damned cemetery in the yard, Carol likely won't be striking off on her own again to find her former home in Alexandria, but the day will soon come when all the locations will be accessible to one another. A lot of ugly shit will probably occur before then, though, so let's just hope nothing in that house gets Carol before that happens.