After the terror of Negan and his barbed wire bat, Lucille, reigned on last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, this week’s introduction of Ezekiel was truly comic relief. The helplessness of the rest of the Alexandrians took a backseat as the show followed Carol and Morgan in their encounter with royalty.

King Ezekiel sat in a wooden throne, center stage at the front of a theatre with a tiger chained next to him. The playhouse was a rightful place for him and his over-zealous tone of voice. He was very obviously playing a character.

A seemingly gracious leader, I had no suspicions of Ezekiel or his kingdom having underlying cynical motives. It was only startling that a large group of people would revert back to such a time in which they allow a man to call himself their king. Throughout the episode I couldn’t decide if the creators of the show had lost their stroke of genius or if I just wasn’t perceptive to the purpose of such a group.

For once The Walking Dead had created a group of crazy people who weren’t also crazy evil.

It was one thing to create new groups of people who wreaked havoc in uniquely insane ways. Those groups became the causes of action-packed adventures that fans of the show are used to. But this group made me want to laugh in the confused, uncomfortable kind of way.

At one point Carol yelled, “This place is a damn circus!,” and right then I couldn’t have agreed more. Of course Ezekiel served a more serious purpose, however.

Carol, in her typical fashion, took on the role of a helplessly innocent housewife. Her harmless appearance usually masked her strength and wit while she geared up to leave, but Ezekiel could see through an act. Because he was an actor himself.

Suddenly I was relieved, knowing that a man with a tiger couldn’t possibly take himself that seriously. There was no way he believed himself to be the proud king of the dusty ruins that were left of the town he called his kingdom.

“People want someone to follow. It makes them feel safer. People who feel safe are less dangerous,” Ezekiel explained.

Maybe his line can be used to analyze many of the characters Rick’s group has met in the past. The Governor and Woodbury, Gareth and Terminus, and Negan and the survivors were all ruled by fear and distrust of others. Each camp disregarded the necessity of the survival of the human race, trading it for the comfort of selfishness.

Carol often walks the line of having a similar mindset to one of those senselessly numb characters who act as tyrants each season. Until now, no one has been able to read her. Somehow I don’t see anyone ever completely getting through to Carol, but Ezekiel has scratched the surface at least.

“It’s not all bad. It can’t be. It isn’t,” he pleaded.

I just wish the world of The Walking Dead could have some good that’s simultaneously powerful.

Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo courtesy of The Walking Dead on Facebook.

Taylor Roar is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at troar@terpmail.umd.edu.

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