Negan killed two of our favorite Walking Dead characters last week, so we’re all looking for a little retribution. But we also know that’s not going to happen anytime soon, as there are several loose ends that need to be tied up first. Rick is broken, Daryl is shackled, Maggie is suffering on every level, and Carol isn’t there to help. Things will get a lot worse before they get any better — or at least that appears to be the case in light of all the trailers and clips AMC released so far. But now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: We have a second Negan.
Plenty of spoilers follow below, so stop reading now if you haven’t seen last night’s episode of The Walking Dead.
Episode 702 introduced King Ezekiel on Sunday night, a lot sooner than we anticipated. He’s the ruler of The Kingdom, a community that’s thriving in this post-apocalyptic world. Much like the inhabitants of Alexandria, most of the people in The Kingdom live a life that seems to be out of place in this new world. The community does not fit in a land full of walkers, and it’s all the King’s doing.
He may seem mad, at least to pragmatic characters like Carol, but he knows what he’s doing. He’s a different kind of Negan that people respect, but they also probably fear him. He might not be as cruel, but he’s looking to protect his people and himself from everything that can endanger their existence. And he still appears to have a tight grip on the community, just like Negan.
Most people in his community have no idea who he is or what he did before this. He disposes of the elaborate act and comes clean to Carol. His name really is Ezekiel, and he’s a former zoo caretaker who saved Shiva, that amazing tiger of his. He has passion for theater and playing kings helps him command his people through the King Ezekiel character he has created.
Most people have no idea that he’s paying tribute to the Saviors either, or that there’s imminent danger from Negan. But he does have a vision he’s working toward. And he does not like the Saviors either. Ezekiel built The Kingdom and wants to maintain it with the help of rules he’s put in place. Everyone has to earn his or her keep and give back to the community. He’ll likely use force if force is needed, though we haven’t met his dark side. Yet.
What seems to be clear is that he’s a keen observer of what happens with his subjects and he knows everything that’s going on. He also wants to control the outcomes if possible. Carol’s “departure” from The Kingdom seems to be proof of that.
Take away the cruelty of Negan, and you get the same kind of “king” for the Saviors. After all, people do kneel in front of Negan. They fear and respect him even if he doesn’t pretend to be a medieval king. Negan knows everything that’s going on in his “kingdom” all too well, and does what he does to protect himself and the lives of people who serve him. He’s not too keen on building a community like The Kingsom, though, and he uses force to have his way.
The two kings will certainly clash in the future, perhaps as soon as Rick and the Alexandria gang are ready for battle once again.