The Walking Dead could be hinting King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) will become a major casualty in the war against the Whisperers before he can succumb to his untreatable thyroid cancer. In Sunday's 1011, "Morning Star," the secret that died with Siddiq (Avi Nash) was exposed when Ezekiel reignited his romance with estranged wife Carol (Melissa McBride) as the Hilltop prepared to make their stand against the walker army sent by Alpha (Samantha Morton). It was during a moment of post-coitus that Ezekiel was shown laying on his back, arms outstretched and eyes closed, resembling the image of Jesus on the cross.
The crucifix imagery could be representative of a coming act of self-sacrifice made by Ezekiel, whose near suicide attempt earlier this season was prevented by the arrival of a concerned Michonne (Danai Gurira). Ezekiel confessed to her feelings of failure over the shuttering of the Kingdom, as well as the deaths of beloved pet tiger Shiva and brothers Benjamin (Logan Miller) and Henry (Matt Lintz).
"Jesus' suffering and redemptive death by crucifixion are the central aspects of Christian theology concerning the doctrines of salvation and atonement," reads an excerpt from James Stalker's The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ. In his book Christian Theology: An Introduction, author Alister E. McGrath wrote on four themes revolving around the cross and atonement: as sacrifice, as a victory, as forgiveness and as a moral example.
Previously released spoilery episode synopses for the half-season confirm that — spoilers — Ezekiel at least survives through episode 1014, "Look at the Flowers," where Eugene (Josh McDermitt) embarks on a road trip with Ezekiel and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) for a face-to-face with Stephanie (Margot Bingham), Eugene's secretive radio contact from an outside community.
Ezekiel could be the major death teased by an ominous episode title for the Season 10 finale. The title is borrowed from a volume of the comic books where Andrea, the lover of Rick Grimes, died after being bitten on the neck when saving Eugene from a walker horde — the same horde that has been unleashed by Alpha in Season 10B.
"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 of the decision to give an already suffering Ezekiel cancer. "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."
Despite his grim diagnosis, Ezekiel's cancer might not be his cause of death.0comments
"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."