The death of a pet is never an easy thing to get over. However, when the death of that pet is combined with the demise of an entire loyal army that grief becomes much more intense. This is the situation that is currently facing Ezekiel as The Walking Dead gets closer to its winter finale. Ezekiel has been destroyed by the death of his tiger Shiva and his loyal subjects, seemingly abdicating his throne in The Kingdom. The Kingdom is a huge part of the war against the Saviors and it’s currently leaderless. The leadership role in The Kingdom is one that Carol should be stepping into sooner rather than later.

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The Death of the King

The Walking Dead left the future of The Kingdom in doubt during “The King, The Widow and Rick.” While it’s certainly possible that Ezekiel’s deep depression is only temporary and he’ll bounce back with his usual “….And I smile” speech in the near future, it shouldn’t happen. The Walking Dead season 8 has had several problems but one of the big ones is a lack of any real consequences. 

There’s a war going on but no major characters are dying. Shiva’s death and the Kingdom’s disastrous mission surrounding it has been one of the few examples of The Walking Dead season 8 truly committing to the horrors of this war. The episode with Ezekiel’s great failure was one of the slower ones in The Walking Dead season 8 but also one of the best because it truly explored the emotional expense of this war and in a way that felt earned. A lot of characters are miserable and depressed on The Walking Dead but Ezekiel is one of the few where that emotion feels justified and palpable. 

To keep that going, there should continue to be lasting consequences. If the failed mission didn’t end in Ezekiel’s literal death then at least it should end with a metaphorical one. Ezekiel’s losses should lead to him completely giving up his mantle of king, not only the performance but also the leadership role. 

Ezekiel faced the consequences of his actions and he couldn’t handle it. The Walking Dead should stick to that idea. It’s a far more interesting story for Carol to succeed Ezekiel in the leadership role than to have the king get his groove back. 

Carol’s Time to Lead

Carol is, by far, The Walking Dead‘s best character. The journey that Carol has gone on and the transformation from timid abused housewife to zombie killer extraordinaire has been amazing. It’s rare to see any female character be as capable, strong and commanding as Carol on TV. It’s even rarer for them to be above the age of 50 like Melissa McBride. Despite all the strength and wonder of Carol, the show has only ever treated her in a supporting role. Carol’s a utility player for The Walking Dead. She’s not a star on the level of Daryl, Rick or even Maggie. This needs to change.

Carol isn’t the type of character to take to a leadership role easily. Carol can often be short and downright terrifying at times. Still, that’s what makes her the perfect leader as far the show is concerned. The Walking Dead has explored, in a very short time, everything they can with Ezekiel. The possibilities with Carol are much more open and interesting. Being a leader is against Carol’s nature and that easy conflict can be mined endlessly. 

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Carol could take to Ezekiel’s style of leadership, faking it until she makes it, and further this utopian ideal of The Kingdom. This, while not shocking, would still be fascinating because viewers know Carol so well and are aware how against the grain that would be for her personality. 

Yet even more interesting would be for The Kingdom to morph into a more militaristic or nihilistic camp. Of any of the communities The Kingdom is the most peaceful and harmonious. Having Carol be in charge could really change or even pervert that. It wouldn’t make The Kingdom into a villainous force but it would offer a different perspective and make the community feel just as vital and unique as Hiltop and Alexandria, especially with Carol in the lead. At best The Kingdom feels third, if not fourth, in level of importance — it’s so perfect it’s almost boring. If Carol takes over, there will, at the very least, be more reason to be interested.

Ezekiel getting out of his funk is the easiest and most predictable route for The Walking Dead to take in season 8. It continues the status quo for the community and the character. Yet promoting Carol to a leadership role would change things, for the community and certainly for the character. If there’s one thing The Walking Dead season 8 needs too, it’s change. 

Do you agree? Would you like to see Carol step up into the leadership role in The Kingdom? Do you think Ezekiel will return to his kingly role? Should he return?

The Walking Dead season 8 airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Want more news? Like our Walking Dead Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of AMC)

Derek Stauffer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.