Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead Season 7 and comic books.
After last week's season premiere of The Walking Dead, we expected the next episode to tone down the intensity. And tonight's episode "The Well" started with a lighter tone, as Carol delightfully met a character who will have a very integral part to play in Season 7. The character in question is King Ezekiel.
King Ezekiel is the leader of the Kingdom. Many fans had expected Ezekiel to be introduced this season, after learning that Negan was finally joining The Walking Dead in Season 6. Not to mention there was an earlier announcement which confirmed Ezekiel's role in Season 7.
Along with that, now that we've had our first glimpss at King Ezekiel, it's obvious that the version on The Walking Dead is quite loyal to the original iteration of his character from the comics.
Will Ezekiel Play A Major Role In The Dissolution of Negan's Dictatorship?
The Walking Dead comics suggest that Ezekiel will take his Kingdom to war alongside Rick and the Alexandrians against Negan; a war between the Saviors and the remaining survivors communities (Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom) took place in the "All Out War" comic event.
As we've seen in tonight's episode, Ezekiel planned to give tainted meat to the Saviors with a thoroughly fleshed out plan in mind. He surely knows what the result of the Saviors eating the tainted meat will be, which means Ezekiel is in full force with his plan to remove the Saviors, one piece at a time.
For now, Ezekiel is giving into Negan's demands but his back-handed manner of feeding into Negan's coercion won't last very long. Negan will eventually figure out that Ezekiel is giving the Saviors tainted meat and when he does, Negan will have a real problem with Ezekiel. At that point, Ezekiel will have no other option than to enter the war started by the Saviors. Of course we know how the war turned out, based on the Walking Dead comics. The outcome of the war saw Negan imprisoned in Alexandria and the rest of the Saviors group dissolved. In that scenario, Ezekiel will likely mirror his comic-book counterpart.
Regardless, at some point, the Negan conflict will have to come to a close — and when it does, another plot thread will develop in its place. If we look at the comics to figure out what comes next, there's one particular series of events that follow the "All Out War" event: the appearance of the Whisperers.
Are The Whisperers Coming?
A recent Instagram post promoting Season 7 of The Walking Dead also hinted at the Whisperers joining the series in its current season. And while the image does seem to hint at the Whisperers coming to The Walking Dead, the appearance of the Whisperers may be some time away. However, we're still likely see some of the key moments from the comics depicted on-screen as well.
The piked heads hint at the Whisperers joining The Walking Dead, since it was the comics iteration of the Whisperers who were largely associated with cutting off heads and impaling them on spikes.
When the Whisperers first appeared in the Walking Dead comics, they made an entrance to the world as very grotesque individuals. The Whisperers wore the skin of the dead, walked in crowds of dead, and surprised unsuspecting individuals with gunfire when they only expected to encounter the walking dead.
Something similar has taken place on Fear The Walking Dead, with Nicholas Clark covering himself in blood and walking among the dead, but Nicholas doesn't have bad intent when he walks among the dead; he does it to survive. The Whisperers on the other hand were quite deviant in how they use the skin of the dead. After revealing herself to Rick, the leader of the Whisperers, Alpha, manipulated her way into earning Rick's trust and she returned that trust by betraying Rick in a very Negan-esque way.
In the comics, when Alpha first revealed herself to Rick and the rest of the survivors communities, she played the part of a fool. When in reality, Alpha was planning an overthrow of all the communities and her first step in doing so was to display a line of decapitated heads, impaled onto pikes, to Rick. Among those heads were Ezekiel's and Rosita's.
Is Ezekiel Set Up To Die Before The End Of Season 7?
Several other members of the Hilltop, Alexandria, and the Kingdom were among the line, but Ezekiel and Rosita were the two central characters lost in the conflict.
Considering that Ezekiel was just introduced in tonight's episode and the image of a piked head is teasing the Whisperers later in Season 7, the Whisperers could wind up on Alexandria's doorstep sooner than we think. If so, that would also mean the Negan conflict will come to a close before the conclusion of Season 7.
With those two things in mind, the imminent appearance of the Whisperers indicate that Ezekiel could meet his end as the Whisperers enter the fray. Ezekiel was just introduced, but with the Whisperers right around the corner, he might not be around for too much longer.
Should Ezekiel die as the Whisperers join The Walking Dead?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9PM on The AMC.