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Ezekiel, commonly referred to by his epithet "King" Ezekiel, is a main character and a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead. He leads a community known as The Kingdom, where he is the self-proclaimed "King" of the people living there. Ezekiel also has a pet tiger named Shiva, and is one of the Co-Leaders of The Militia, along with Rick Grimes and Maggie Rhee.
Ezekiel is described as "wise" and "theatrical." He is known to be caring for others, doing whatever he can for his people, including role playing royalty. Nonetheless, he does seem to be somewhat pompous and enjoys the spotlight. As well as his uncommon first name, he uses his experiences in theater to create the persona of a highly flamboyant, charismatic king, and speaks in a Shakespearean like manner, often referring himself in the third person. Despite his benevolence, he has an uneasy truce with the Saviors, and is shown to have a no nonsense attitude towards Gavin and his group.
Ezekiel was a zookeeper in the same zoo where Shiva was kept. He saved her life when her leg was badly injured after she fell in a moat. Using his shirt to stop the bleeding, Shiva was saved and Ezekiel gained respect from the tiger. He also stated he used to perform in community theatre, playing many kings.
At some point after the outbreak, Ezekiel formed a community named 'the Kingdom' where his charismatic nature, tendency for theatrics and high respect by others firmly established his leadership position. He then proclaimed himself "King" with the support of his people. Later, he ordered the clearing of buildings to either expand or further safeguard the community. During one of these missions eight of his men were killed, including the father of Benjamin who was a close friend of him. This incident made him more careful. Sometime after this he encountered the Saviors, who most likely executed one of his men in an effort to force them into subjugation. Ezekiel eventually accepted their terms, but kept the deal hidden from his people for fear they would want to fight. His leadership was successful and the Kingdom became a thriving community.
Ezekiel sits on a throne in a theater auditorium with his tiger, Shiva, chained at his side. Ezekiel dramatically introduces himself to Carol and welcomes her to The Kingdom. Carol, in the meek persona she used with the Alexandrians, pretends to be in awe of The Kingdom. Ezekiel offers her fruit, suggesting she at least take the pomegranate; Carol politely declines and thanks Ezekiel.
Ezekiel, Morgan and a small team leave The Kingdom in two trucks. They hunt pigs in a nearby city, corralling them into a building where a tied up walker awaits. The pigs devour the walker. Ezekiel turns to one of his men, Richard, and tells him it’s a job well done. Richard states, “it’s just what we needed.” Morgan asks why they bait the pigs with walkers. Richard says that he wants their bellies “full of rot.”
Walkers approach Ezekiel’s group. Richard instructs Benjamin, a teenage boy, to kill a nearby walker with a machete. Benjamin struggles with the walker; Ezekiel unsheathes his sword and stabs it in the head. Richard tells Morgan to keep the pig hunt a secret from The Kingdommers.
Back at The Kingdom, Ezekiel praises Morgan’s skill with the fighting stick and asks him to train Benjamin. Morgan agrees.
Ezekiel approaches Morgan and Benjamin when they are taking a break from training and asks them to join him. Ezekiel and his group wait in a parking lot with a shipment of slaughtered pigs. A group of Saviors arrive. Gavin, the leader, counts the pigs and is pleased to find that they’re bigger than the last shipment. Richard remarks that they fed the pigs well. As they load up the trucks, Jared picks a fight with Richard. Ezekiel orders his people to lower their weapons and Gavin tells Jared to stop punching Richard. Gavin reminds Ezekiel that the following week is a produce week. He warns Ezekiel that Richard will be the first to die if they deliver less than requested.
That night, Ezekiel catches Carol picking fruit from the garden as she prepares to leave The Kingdom. She adopts her demure persona and Ezekiel tells her not to bullshit a bullshitter. “You’re a joke,” she tells him. He uses his normal voice and confesses that he’s putting on an act and that Shiva, contrary to the heroic stories that residents have told about him, is a tiger that he nursed back to health when he was a zookeeper. He explains that people wanted to ascribe him a leadership role because it’s human nature for them to feel safer when they have someone to follow. He tells her that the only thing that's real about him is his name. “I just want to go,” Carol says. Ezekiel encourages her to embrace life and suggests a plan that would allow her to “go and not go.”
As Carol stokes a fire in her new home, there’s a knock at the door; it’s Ezekiel and Shiva. He offers her a pomegranate. She smiles.
Jesus takes Rick Grimes and the Alexandrians to the Kingdom to meet with Ezekiel in hopes of forging an alliance between Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom to defeat the Saviors. Ezekiel is happy to see Jesus and asks if Rick and his friends are new allies, he says they are. Rick offers the plan of an alliance against the Saviors, which Ezekiel ponders heavily. Ezekiel reprimands Jesus for telling Rick about his deal with the Saviors. They plead their case; in the process, Richard urges Ezekiel to fight the Saviors before things get worse, Morgan, asked for his opinion by Ezekiel himself, advises that they must find a non-violent course.
Rick tells Ezekiel about a story his mother told him as a kid. On the way to the Kingdom, the was a rock in the road. People would hit it and lose their wagons and such. A little girl's family hit the rock and lost their supplies. The girl sat there and cried and wondered why the rock was still there to hurt someone else. She dug at that rock in the road with her hands until they bled and used everything she had to pull it out. When she was going to fill it up, she saw a bag of gold. Ezekiel agrees to give Rick his decision in the morning and invites them to stay the night.
Ezekiel puts Henry, Benjamin’s younger brother, down to bed. Benjamin urges Ezekiel to help Rick’s group fight against the Saviors. Ezekiel thanks him for his counsel. The next morning, Ezekiel explains to Rick that even though the Kingdom seems idyllic, they had to fight for it. Rick tells Ezekiel that outside of the Kingdom people don't have this good. Daryl questions Ezekiel calling himself a king. Ezekiel defends himself. He states that previous attempts of expansion and fighting has gotten people killed, leaving children parentless and loved ones devastated, that's why he refuses to violate the peace he holds with the Saviors. However, he offers asylum in the Kingdom to Daryl Dixon who recently escaped the Saviors' custody, telling the Alexandrians that Daryl will be safe in the Kingdom. Daryl ultimately takes Ezekiel's asylum offer with Rick suggesting that Daryl use the opportunity to change Ezekiel's mind.
Ezekiel, Morgan and other members of The Kingdom are waiting at the pickup location for the Saviors’ collections. Dianne shoots a walker with a bow, stating it had the same dress as her sister. The Saviors arrive and Gavin comments that the drop looks light, but Ezekiel angrily assures him they have met their obligations and Gavin agrees. Jared says that he wants Richard's gun and the two men face off.
Ezekiel tells Richard to hand over his gun, which he reluctantly does. When Jared lunges at Richard, Morgan strikes him with his staff. Jared seizes the staff and hits Morgan with it, so Benjamin strikes Jared and sends him to the floor. Ezekiel orders them to stop fighting. As they leave, Ezekiel bans Richard from attending future exchanges but Gavin stops him and tells him to keep bringing Richard, and he will keep his word to kill him if he doesn't control his temper and as the Saviors prepare to leave, Morgan asks for his staff back but Jared leaves with it.
Afterwards, he returns to the Kingdom with the others. Benjamin tells Ezekiel he did good, but Ezekiel warns him against being too eager to fight. Ezekiel then tells Richard they will talk later about his behavior.
Ezekiel and some of The Kingdom residents visit Carol in her garden. Ezekiel tells her they are there to clear the dead. As Carol says goodbye, Jerry hands her some cobbler which she accepts before telling them to go.
Ezekiel and a crew of somber Kingdom residents load a single cantaloupe onto a truck, which has been stained with blood.
The previous day, Ezekiel watches residents going about their business with Shiva at his side. One of the residents, Nabila, informs Ezekiel that their crop is infested with weevils and must be burned. She assures him it will grow back.
The crew prepare to leave the Kingdom for their scheduled drop with the Saviors. En route, they encounter a row of shopping carts blocking the road near an urban lot. They search the area as Richard covers the group from behind. They find an open grave with a sign, “Bury me here.” Ezekiel says this world can drive people mad and it is mere luck they are not all insane. Benjamin tells him the world may drive some people mad, but he made them another world.
They arrive at the meeting point, where the Saviors await. Gavin reprimands Ezekiel for arriving late. Gavin interjects as Ezekiel begins explaining their delayed arrival. He inspects the offering, then demands their guns. The two groups draw their weapons on each other. Richard advises Ezekiel to disarm and he reluctantly complies. Gavin explains that he took their guns because things are going to get emotional. Gavin points out that they’re short one cantaloupe. Ezekiel insists there are twelve cantaloupes. On inspection he counts them and realizes to his confusion there are eleven. Gavin explains he’s going to teach them a lesson so they understand the stakes. Jared raises his gun and points it at Richard, but shoots Benjamin in the leg at the last minute.
Gavin is shocked by the turn of events, but nonetheless he orders Ezekiel to bring him the twelfth cantaloupe the next day. Ezekiel acknowledges what he owes Gavin and the crew quickly loads Benjamin onto the truck.
Ezekiel’s crew arrives at Carol’s cottage and they rush Benjamin inside. They try to treat his wound, but he dies. Ezekiel apologizes to Carol for coming to her but says they had no choice.
Later that night, Morgan witnesses Ezekiel breaking the news of Benjamin’s death to his brother. The next day, Ezekiel grimly places a single cantaloupe in the truck.
The very next day, Morgan walked up to Richard as they stood before the saviors and asked "Did you?" Richard replied "We'll talk about it later" Where Ezekiel asks "Talk about what?" Richard reluctantly replied "Its better to speak of it later your majesty" But Ezekiel slowly catches on and replies worriedly "We will speak of it now", But their short conversation was cut off as Gavin and his crew pulled up in their trucks and got out. Gavin asked "How's the kid" Upon seeing nothing but grim faces from the Kingdom, Gavin realized that Jared has actually killed Benjamin at the previous exchange, to which he responds to by telling Jared to begin walking away from the exchange, threatening to kill him if he "threw one look or say one word" Jared complies and walks away from the exchange, appearing to be embarrassed at his superiors commands.
After Jared has been long gone, Richard brings the lonely cantaloupe that caused the death of Benjamin over the Gavin and then out of nowhere, Morgan walks up to Richard and whacks him twice with his staff from behind. After allowing Richard to fall to the ground, Morgan pounces on top of him and begins to strangle him to death with no remorse. Ezekiel is shocked by Morgans actions and shouts "Cease this!" But Gavin allows him to as he responds with "Let em be!" as the Saviors aim guns at Ezekiel and his men, likely to shoot if they attempted to stop Morgan.
There is little resistance as Morgan strangles Richard to death. He reveals that Richard staged the missing cantaloupe to incite a war between the Kingdom and the Saviors. After the Saviors leave, Morgan explains that Richard wanted to sacrifice himself. Ezekiel is in complete shock he asks Morgan "He...He did this? but is confused when he accidentally refers to Benjamin as Duane. Ezekiel attempts to console an emotional Morgan and tells him he shouldn’t be alone. They leave at Morgan’s request.
Ezekiel is replanting the burned crops with Henry when Carol approaches. She tells him she’s moving to the Kingdom to help them prepare. “We have to fight,” she says. “We do,” Ezekiel agrees. “But not today.” Carol joins Ezekiel and Henry in replanting the burned crops.
Ezekiel leads a regiment from the Kingdom toward Alexandria. Shiva joins him as well. They reach the blockade of shopping carts previously placed by Richard; it has been rearranged. Morgan appears, still emotionally unstable, and vows to hunt down the Saviors by himself, but Ezekiel convinces him to fight at their side. He joins them as they march towards Alexandria.
As Negan prepares to strike Carl with Lucille, Shiva leaps onto and mauls a nearby Scavenger. Ezekiel, Carol and the Kindommers arrive at the head of the Kingdom regiment in an attack, as Maggie arrives with the Hilltop fighters. A battle ensues as the Saviors and Scavengers are caught off guard. Carol works alongside Ezekiel as they take out a couple of Scavengers. Rick and Carl join the fight. Negan orders a retreat as Shiva mauls one his men to death.
The joint communities successfully push their adversaries back. Negan and his men escape in their vehicles being bombarded with gunfire, while the Scavengers release smoke bombs and scaling the walls and running out the gate on foot.
In the graveyard, Ezekiel is present at Sasha’s funeral. Members of Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom celebrate their victory.
Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel stand on a podium and address the crowd as the leaders of their respective communities: Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom, united and ready for an all out war.
Ezekiel will appear in this episode.
This list shows the victims Ezekiel has killed:
- "The Well"
- "Rock in the Road"
- "New Best Friends"
- "Bury Me Here"
- "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life"
- The casting call for this character used the name Augustus.
- Ezekiel's cane is a Shikomizue, a Japanese sword mounting meant to conceal a sword in the guise of a cane.
- The name Ezekiel may refer to a Hebrew prophet of the 6th century B.C.E., who prophesied the forthcoming destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation.