The Kingdom seems like the most well-run community on The Walking Dead: an Eden-like garden, a close-knit group of survivors living in peace, and a choir group that blow those amateurs from Pitch Perfect right out of the water.
But the reality is that the Kingdom is both poorly planned and badly run, and those are the kind of mistakes that may just cost the king and his subjects dearly.
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In case you haven't learned a thing from Alexandria, trying to continue with your normal life as though homicidal maniacs aren't preparing to massacre your entire neighborhood isn't the best plan.
It's all well and good to spend your time and energy perfecting your cobbler recipe and reliving your days as a LARP enthusiast, but there's more to surviving than horseback patrols and exotic mascots.
Let's take a look at everything the Kingdom is doing wrong, and what they need to be doing instead:
1. Keeping Everyone In The Dark
Ezekiel literally has his "subjects" living in a fantasy world. He talks like a character from a G-rated Game of Thrones fan fiction, and has pretty successfully convinced the entire community that they have nothing to fear from the outside world. In fact, everyone except for the guards is completely oblivious to their deal with the Saviors.
As much as this helps to keep community morale high, it leaves the entire group vulnerable and unprepared. The residents of the Kingdom surely experienced survival in the outside world before they found their idyllic new home, and must have some degree of experience with the danger that lies outside the walls. Sure, they're aware of the walkers, but they're hardly the biggest threat anymore.
Ezekiel may claim to be protecting his people by hiding them away from that which threatens to destroy them, but he's really just setting them up for attack.
2. Focusing On The Wrong Skills
The Kingdom looks more like a summer camp than a zombie apocalypse refugee camp. There's arts and crafts, group sing-alongs and even movie nights. In other words, countless ways to waste both time and potential.
But hey, at least there's archery! That's a combat skill, right? Except they have two measly targets to practice with, and there's literally a handful of kids using them. Archery should be a top priority, not the least popular activity in the entire Kingdom!
Remember when Rick's group arrived at Hershel's farm and dedicated most of their time to learning how to shoot? Ezekiel needs to take a leaf out of Rick Grimes' leadership handbook and get every man, woman and child honing their murder skills, stat. Maybe the arts and crafts group could fashion the arrows. Hell, it even fits with the medieval theme Ezekiel's got going. Seriously, why are they not doing this already?
3. Agricultural Blunders
The Kingdom's garden certainly looks impressive, but even that has some major flaws in its design. When you're growing the majority of your food, you need to make sure you're being as efficient as possible— and there's a lot those gardeners could learn.
First of all, let's look at the plants. The Kingdom have definitely scored major points with their use of diversity in their garden— interplanting different varieties creates a self-managing ecosystem, which balances the amount of good and bad bugs and thus eliminates the need for harmful pesticides. But there's a huge lack of flowers (an important component to attract pollinators), as well as fruit trees.
Then there's the matter of the layout. The garden is spread out over a large area, but doesn't utilize much vertical space at all, missing out on the potential to really maximize that yield. And speaking of missing potential, there's not a rainwater collection vessel in sight. Those slanted roofs could capture enough rainwater for that entire garden. How are they even watering that thing anyway?
But the biggest gardening sin of all has to be their use of materials. Using recycled materials is great, but planting edible plants in tires is a terrible idea. The heat from the sun can cause the rubber to leach toxic chemicals into the soil, which then gets absorbed by the plant— and you do not want to eat that.
They've also used metal filing cabinets as planters, which are bound to heat up and significantly dry out the soil— just like the garden beds sitting on top of that exposed asphalt. Where are your shade structures, people?
4. Fire Hazards
While candles are a great way to save power, provide romantic lighting and create a generally mysterious ambience, they're also a massive fire hazard when left unattended. It's all too easy to fall asleep and forget about that candle that's still burning away.
In the scene from the photo above, Ezekiel lulls Henry to sleep with a lovely rendition of 'I Have A Dream'. Do you think that kid's going to be responsible enough to remember to extinguish those death traps? Hell no!
It's not actually the middle ages, Ezekiel— the plethora of candles isn't entirely necessary. Then again, you can hardly blame a former zoo keeper for not being all that fire savvy. Let's hope the Kingdom has an appointed fire warden.
5. Irresponsible Exotic Pet Ownership
"Keeping a tiger isn't practical, I know. She eats as much as ten people. She could yank the chain out of my hand. Hell, she could yank my arm right off. But she hasn't. She won't."
Well, that's not exactly reassuring. Ezekiel's overconfidence that his pet jungle cat isn't going to act on its primal instincts is pretty delusional— kind of like the subjects of that Louis Theroux documentary, America's Most Dangerous Pets:
And if keeping a pet tiger wasn't reckless enough, Ezekiel also insists on bringing Shiva with him on even the most mundane of errands. At one point, Carol opens her front door to see Ezekiel and his tiger. Dude, not cool. You might want to give someone a heads up before you bring a carnivorous jungle cat to their house.
The world is already filled with zombies desperate to take a bit out of any human they can— introducing a tiger into the equation isn't the best idea.
6. Trading The Wrong Kind Of Supplies
While pigs may be both cheap to fatten up (thanks to their diet of walkers) and a hilarious way to secretly troll the Saviors, they're not actually the best asset to be handing off.
Think of it this way: pigs are something that the Kingdom could no doubt use for their own food supply. They most likely farm more animals for their own use as well, but the fact still remains that they're handing off a really useful asset. Sure, they don't exactly get to choose what the Saviors take. But there's one other thing that the Saviors may want even more: booze.
The Kingdom definitely has the space and most likely resources to get a home brew operation going. Simon (Steven Ogg) was stoked at the prospect of being able to bring back a whole box of whiskey for Negan— just imagine how delighted the guys who deal with the Kingdom would be to have a regular flow of homemade spirits for the Big Bad.
Who knows— maybe a splash of brandy would be just the thing to spice up the Kingdom's famous cobbler recipe!
Do you think the Kingdom are setting themselves up for disaster?