The connection between the 2 stories told in the Kingdom

Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead. AMC.
Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead. AMC. /

There were 2 stories told in the Kingdom during The Walking Dead in episode 709 and they had a connection that might not have been immediately evident.

On the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead, after striking out with Gregory, Jesus took Rick and the survivors to the Kingdom where they requested an audience with the King.

In order to try to convince his majesty, King Ezekiel, that fighting back against the Saviors and Negan was the right thing to do, Rick told a story. A story about a rock in the road.

This rock was in the road on the way to a Kingdom. People who were trying to get to the Kingdom never made it and lost everything they had because they would avoid the rock. Avoiding the rock caused all sorts of other problems for them.

Finally, a little girl, in desperation, tried to dig into the rock to get it out of the way and found a bag of gold.

"The king had put that rock in the road because he knew the person who dug it out, who did something, they deserved a reward. They deserved to have their life changed for the good…. forever."

Almost immediately after Rick tells his story, we see Ezekiel filling in for Benjamin telling bedtime stories to the children. We recognize the story right away as the ending of the “I Have a Dream” speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring… when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual — Free at last, Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are…free at last."

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I don’t know what to call the connection between these two stories. Perhaps it’s foreshadowing that Ezekiel will see how the words of Dr. King may show him the way to help in the fight for freedom for his people in the Kingdom. That the peace he thinks he is creating by the deal comes at the price of dignity and that it is a slavery of sorts.

Perhaps it is symbolism that the freedom that he seeks is the bag of gold. Negan is not the bag of gold. Freedom is the bag of gold. Negan is the rock. He is the big rock in the road that is causing all the havoc. He is the rock that is breaking the horses’ legs and bending the wagon wheels, ruining every chance that the people have of surviving in this new world and making a Kingdom for themselves among the Walkers.

Next: Can Richard convince Ezekiel to fight?

When the Negan rock has been crushed the bag of gold, freedom, will allow them to fight for their survival together.