Movie Reviews

The Walking Dead Is Finally Bringing Back The Best Ezekiel

Warning: Spoilers for The Walking Dead season 11, episode 21

For its last few episodes, The Walking Dead is finally bringing back the best version of Ezekiel. Over the years, Ezekiel has mellowed quite a bit, with losing the Kingdom being the development that brought about most of the changes to his character. While he’s still striving to maintain his positive outlook, he’s still quite different from the warrior Rick encountered all those years ago in The Walking Dead season 7.

The Walking Dead season 11, episode 21, titled “Outpost 2022” signaled the return of the character Ezekiel used to be in the show. As a result of being kidnapped and taken away from their people by the Commonwealth, Ezekiel’s attitude seeming took a turn during his interactions with Negan, who reminded him of the losses he suffered at the hands of the Saviors. Not only did talking to Negan appear to light a fire under him, but their conversation promises that “King Ezekiel” will be making a comeback. Negan believes that Ezekiel will need to inspire the people around them and give them hope if they have any chance of defeating the Commonwealth and reuniting with their loved ones.

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With the series coming to an end after The Walking Dead season 11 part 3, it’s entirely appropriate for the franchise to pay homage to what came before, and that naturally includes Khary Payton’s original portrayal of Ezekiel. Though he didn’t appear until season 7, he still holds an important place in Walking Dead’s history. He emerged as an icon for the franchise, as Ezekiel sitting atop his throne alongside Shiva is easily one of the show’s most memorable moments. That, combined with his grandiose way of speaking, regal manner, and inspirational speeches made Ezekiel a breath of fresh air in a typically dark and gritty atmosphere. With the show coming to an end, it feels altogether fitting for the series to bring that side of him back and make him a core part of The Walking Dead’s final episodes.

The Walking Dead set up a happy ending for Ezekiel when Carol arranged for his cancer to be removed by the Commonwealth’s doctors. Now, Ezekiel has a new lease on life and an opportunity to help other people move forward in the new community. But these developments don’t necessarily mean he’s safe from an untimely end in The Walking Dead series finale. Negan’s efforts to push Ezekiel into becoming a leader again could have ominous implications for the latter character.

His next actions in the show’s last three episodes could culminate in Ezekiel’s death. Major deaths were expected for The Walking Dead’s final season, and Ezekiel could easily be among them, especially if his team-up with Negan forces him to put his life on the line by taking a stand against the Commonwealth. Unfortunately for Ezekiel, The Walking Dead providing the character with a way to live happily only for him to make the ultimate sacrifice anyway feels like just the sort of twist the show might take with its ending.

The Walking Dead releases new episodes on Sundays on AMC.

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