The Walking Dead has more story to tell between Carol (Melissa McBride) and ex-husband King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), the former fairy tale couple who separated following the death of son Henry (Matt Lintz). The once queen and king of the Kingdom, shuttered when it fell into disrepair over the winter following Henry’s death at the hands of Alpha (Samantha Morton), went their separate ways: Carol spent months away as a “sea dog” while Ezekiel and his people assimilated into the Hilltop colony, where Ezekiel revealed his thyroid cancer to Siddiq (Avi Nash). Despite Ezekiel’s grim diagnosis, McBride believes the final chapter of ‘Carzekiel’ hasn’t been written.
“I don’t think that Carol and Ezekiel’s story is finished. I know that they care for each other, that’s for sure,” McBride said at German Comic Con Dortmund. “Carol is also in a constant state of recovery from her experiences, and learning and growing, and becoming a stronger person and seeing all that she’s capable of. Everything she never, ever thought she could be. She’s a survivor, she always will be.”
Ezekiel and Carol reunited briefly during Siddiq’s funeral in the midseason finale, “The World Before,” which ended with Carol, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and others trapped below ground, surrounded by Alpha’s walker horde.
Carol is indeed a survivor: the trailer for the second half of the season reveals what appears to be an intimate moment between Ezekiel and Carol, set some time after an escape from the cave.
“We had a lot of conversations about what are some things that we wanted to explore further with Ezekiel, because he’s been through so much and he’s such a strong character. We had been talking for a while in our room about the reality of the world is that people get terminal and chronic illnesses,” showrunner Angela Kang previously told EW. “We live in a wondrous time, and yet cancer is always scary, but there are cancers that are much more treatable than others, particularly the one that he has, being one of those. We wanted to explore what it means for a character to get that kind of a diagnosis in this world, and especially with a character who is so joyful and such a strong leader, and so optimistic, and to have to grapple with something like that.”
Ezekiel has already outlived his comic book counterpart, who was among the Whisperer pike victims murdered by Alpha — a role that went to Henry in the show. Did The Walking Dead spare Ezekiel from his comic book death only to give him another tragic fate?
“I mean, we’ll see,” Kang said. “Breaking Bad was a story about a guy with cancer, and he made it for many years, so it could go many directions, is what I’ll say.”