A flashback to Ezekiel (Khary Payton) preparing the morning of the pivotal battle against the Saviors kicks off AMC’s The Walking Dead season eight episode four. His people say their goodbyes to friends and family members as he watches from his house.
Shiva and Ezekiel make their way through the assembled fighters, and then Ezekiel stops to tell a boy, Henry, he’ll be brave. His people look somber and committed to action. He tells them they face dire challenges but their way of life hangs in the balance. “We will fight and we will bleed, and yet I smile,” says Ezekiel, who then adds they will end all their enemies.
Ezekiel realizes his fighters will leave their loved ones to face this dangerous world, and yet he smiles. He vows to honor and protect this bastion of life in the land of the dead. He also declares once again they will win, believing they’re joined in purpose. He tells them they are one, as they move forward in a massive group hug.
The group hug dissolves into a scene of dozens of slain members of the Kingdom fighting group laying slain beyond the Saviors’ gates. Ezekiel is alive and crawls out from under a pile of his dead people. It appears he’s the only survivor as he turns over body after body looking for a sign of life. Ezekiel screams in anger and sorrow.
He then turns to find his people are rising as walkers. Ezekiel crawls away from them as they each turn. He’s dragging his leg while scooting through the dirt. The Kingdom fighters follow, all walkers at this point.
Ezekiel manages to get to his feet but quickly falls down. He grabs a gun, but it’s empty. Fortunately, one man is still alive and is able to help Ezekiel out of the killing field.
Inside the compound, a 50-caliber machine gun is loaded up by Saviors.
Carol (Melissa McBride) has made her way into the building and quietly sneaks down the hall. She hides when a fighter approaches, learning the truth about how many were killed from men shouting in the hallway.
Carol’s able to mow down the men who had no idea she was hiding in the ceiling. She flees before she can get the machine gun as more men arrive and begin shooting at her.
Ezekiel hasn’t seen Shiva and neither has the remaining fighter. As they look at a field of walkers in front of them, a Savior kills Ezekiel’s man and hauls away the King.
Ezekiel leans on his cane as he walks, but the Savior’s smart enough to realize there’s a blade hidden in the cane. He takes the blade and reveals they have a big trip ahead of them since they’re heading to the Sanctuary.
The Saviors move their 50-caliber to a truck as Carol watches from her hiding place.
Ezekiel makes his way across the field with the unnamed Savior, followed closely by dozens of walkers. Ezekiel falls and would rather die in the field than be taken to Negan. He refuses to get up until the man hurts him, forcing him to rise. The Savior taunts Ezekiel about how he played his people with the help of Shiva, saying they’re all dead because he convinced them he’s a king.
Carol loads her weapon and steps out to shoot, but doesn’t see another truck with Saviors. It’s a one vs a dozen or so gun fight, and she’s pinned down behind a truck.
The men empty dozens of rounds into the truck Carol kneels behind. Ezekiel hears a gun battle going on, but can’t believe any of his people are alive inside the compound. The Savior is distracted by the gun fight long enough for Ezekiel to grab his knife. Unfortunately, the man fights back and gets the best of a wounded Ezekiel.
The man hits Ezekiel and takes his coat. Because they can’t get into the compound (it’s locked), the man decides to take Ezekiel’s head instead. It’ll have to do. As he raises his weapon, Jerry (Cooper Andrews) arrives with his axe and chops the man in two.
Carol sees a button that opens gate 4 near where she’s hunkered down. The men advance slowly toward her as she tosses out her gun. She says she can tell them where the others are hiding. She lies and says they’re waiting for other Saviors to show up before attacking. She stands, raises her hands, and turns her back to show she’s unarmed.
Jerry helps Ezekiel stand, takes out a few more walkers, and then refuses to stop calling Ezekiel “Your Majesty.” Jerry uses his axe to try and break the gate’s lock.
Carol disarms one of the men, but it doesn’t stop the Saviors from firing, killing their own. Carol opens the gate behind the Saviors, letting in walkers.
Jerry breaks his axe before he can open the gate (a different one from the one Carol opened). Together, Jerry and Ezekiel are forced to make a stand against dozens of walkers. Jerry thanks Ezekiel for being such a cool dude as they begin their fight.
Carol takes a set of keys from the dead Savior while the other Saviors don’t realize the walkers have been let in. Carol starts firing at the remaining Saviors, telling them they can end this now and admitting she was lying. She assures them they’re not leaving with the guns. She knows the two surviving Saviors don’t have much ammo left, and then she sees Ezekiel and Jerry at the gate nearly overwhelmed by walkers.
In a short flashback, Ezekiel and Carol have a talk about Ezekiel prior to this big fight. He says he’s been training for a long time and is ready to become what he must. When she asks what he means by “become,” he says he was a zookeeper and was weak. He knows what he must be. He recalls how Shiva was bleeding and he leapt into her enclosure after a very short deliberation. He weighed the risk and decided he wanted to be the one who leapt.
He recalls Benjamin telling him that if you’re asked to be the hero, be the hero. He now believes he’s ready. He wonders if Carol’s always been this strong and this brave, and she admits she decided to be this way – just as he did.
Back to current events, Ezekiel and Jerry are nearly surrounded when Carol races up and shoots the walkers. She made the decision to save them, instead of getting the gun. Fortunately, the key chain has a key to that gate and she lets in Ezekiel and Jerry.
Ezekiel knows they need to get word to Rick immediately before the guns make it to the Sanctuary. Carol smiles and says they’re not getting them to the Sanctuary. She hears Daryl’s motorcycle and knows he’s chasing the truck with the guns.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) behind Daryl (Norman Reedus) in a Jeep. The gun’s been set up in the back of the truck and a Savior uses it to shoot Daryl. He wipes out on his bike, but Rick continues his pursuit. The driver of the truck swerves when he sees walkers, knocking the Savior from the gun briefly. Rick catches up as Daryl shoots the guy manning the gun. (The spill looked nasty but Daryl recovered incredibly quickly.)
Rick jumps into the passenger seat of the truck, stabs the driver, and tosses his body out of the truck. The truck careens over a guard rail as Daryl catches up. It landed on its side down a hill, but Rick apparently jumped out before it crashed. “We got the guns,” says Rick. Daryl answers, “You look like shit.”
Carol, Jerry, and Ezekiel make their way through walkers. Ezekiel’s injured and wants to be left behind but Carol won’t leave him. She’s almost out of ammo and they continue on.
Walkers stroll through what looks like a toxic waste stream and it’s difficult to get Ezekiel down a small embankment and into the stream, and yet they do. They make it to the other side and Ezekiel says he’ll hold the walkers off. Jerry and Carol won’t leave him and Ezekiel screams, “I’m not your King! I’m not your Majesty!” He calls himself nothing, just some guy who found a tiger.
As he says that Shiva arrives and attacks the walkers, saving Ezekiel’s life. She’s quickly surrounded and gives her life to save the man who saved her. Ezekiel, Carol, and Jerry watch as the walkers take down Shiva. She was brave until the very end. (RIP Shiva!)
Jerry, Carol, and Ezekiel return to The Kingdom. The people rush to meet them but quickly figure out the battle was lost. No one says anything as Ezekiel limps through the small crowd gathered in the street. The Kingdom has been decimated.
More on The Walking Dead:
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 1
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 2
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 3
– Recap of The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 5