The Wizard of The Walking Dead: King Ezekiel, The Great and Powerful

King Ezekiel. The Walking Dead. AMC.
King Ezekiel. The Walking Dead. AMC. /

KIng Ezekiel may be the most fantastical and grounded character we’ve met so far in this crazy apocalypse of The Walking Dead.

Meeting King Ezekiel was a great experience last week. I had been looking forward to meeting him ever since I saw his padded up quixotic soldiers last season. He is so much better than I could have imagined or created him to be.

I had been hoping that the Kingdom would be a place where Carol and Morgan would be able to find some way of helping each other or getting help with finding themselves again and finding balance.

A way to get support. Neither of them had been supported in their extremes of trying to keep themselves sane in this insane world. Everything was about what needed to be done to stay alive. Not what needed to be done to stay whole.

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As is often the case with The Walking Dead, I got more than I expected and something different from what I expected, which is a reason I don’t often guess or speculate with The Walking Dead, but rather I wonder and hope. That way I don’t have expectations, but rather I have wishes that can be fulfilled.

Hope is what you’re walking away from. I embraced the contradiction. Maybe you could.

King Ezekiel is the most wonderful combination of fantasy and reality. Idealism and realism. Deception and hope. The reasons for his Wizard of Oz curtain and his Don Quijote staff aren’t based in fear or insanity.

When you discover the man behind the curtain and see the windmills instead of the giants, you love him all the more. He doesn’t become sadder for being revealed; he becomes greater and more powerful.

Victor Strand of Fear the Walking Dead told Nick to embrace the madness. King Ezekiel figured out the better philosophy–embrace the contradiction.

"Where there’s life, there’s hope. Maybe they need the fairy tale. I found a way to deal with the bad by going a little overboard with the good."

King Ezekiel doesn’t ask anything from you. He lives in maybes. He doesn’t demand from Morgan and Morgan doesn’t have to defend his ways. Where Morgan tried to get others to accept his new philosophy in order for them to accept him and the others tried to get him to reject his philosophy in order for him to stay with them, Ezekiel accepts Morgan as he is.

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Instead of telling Morgan what he needs to do, he gave him a beautiful gift. When Morgan expressed doubt in his own beliefs because his stick couldn’t help Carol, Ezekiel asked if the stick helped him. It did help him. It saved him. The stick isn’t useless because it can’t save everyone. It saved Morgan. That can be enough. Maybe it can even save someone in the Kingdom now. Maybe it has purpose after all. And maybe it will save Carol in a long-term way.

Carol told Ezekiel that he was selling his people a fairy tale. Funny words coming from the woman who told the fairy tale about the walkers attacking the little boy tied to the tree. Who told the group that the Alexandrians were like children and children like stories.

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While Ezekiel seems like the extreme. Carol and Morgan are the extreme. They are the realist and the idealist. The fantasy and the truth. The optimist and the pessimist. Ezekiel is Don Quijote and Sancho Panza in the same body. The Wizard of Oz and the man behind the curtain.

King Ezekiel is not afraid that his people will find out he’s a fake. He’s not fooling himself. He is great and powerful. The fantasy has power. Hope has power. Power enough to heal Carol. Power to fortify Morgan. Power to keep the Kingdom thriving. Power to maintain the fantasy and the hope.  Hopefully, it will have enough power left over to fight the Saviors.