Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
*** Please don’t read unless you’ve watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead. Spoilers ahead.
While most of the losses on The Walking Dead are incredibly hard to process, some of them naturally hurt worse than others. When Glenn died, some fans stopped watching the series. When Hershel died, we don’t think there was a dry eye in the fandom and when Tyreese died, well…we felt our hearts break a little bit.
These characters were some of the core members of the series, ones who shaped not only the show but viewers at home. Of course, every fan has their own group of ‘core members’ and we all react to those we lose differently. However, last night when Shiva fell victim to a group of Walkers, well, we all had the same reaction. Absolute heartbreak.
Shiva was a glimmer of hope for Ezekiel before he took on his persona as ‘king’. However, it was in his spirit long before that, she simply helped him see that he was larger than life.
Keeping a tiger isn’t practical, I know. She eats as much as 10 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. I lost a lot, just like everybody else. When it all started to end, I found myself back at the zoo. Shiva was one of the last animals left. She was trapped. Hungry. Alone. Like me. She was the last thing left in this world that I loved. She protected me. She got me here. Made me larger than life and I made this place.
She was a critical part of the Kingdom and a special part of the core of King Ezekiel. Her presence impacted him in a big way and her loss, well, we’re afraid it’ll hit him even harder. Upon rescuing her, it’s clear that he found a part of himself as well, he loved her and she trusted him.
I was a zookeeper. Shiva, she fell into one of the concrete moats in our exhibit. It was empty. The vets where on their way, but her leg was ripped open. She was going to bleed out. The sound she made… She was in so much pain. I knew the risk, but I had to try. I got my shirt up around her leg and saved her life. After that, she never showed so much as a tooth in my direction.
She wasn’t just important to Ezekiel. She was majestic in a way that gave the Kingdom hope. She was majestic in a way that made people believe in that larger than life personal Ezekiel said he gave to her. She wasn’t just a tiger, she was much more and stood for much more than that.
So it’s again, full circle, that she saved Ezekiel when his own leg was broken. Thus saving his life. While she went out in the only possible way for it to have been done justice, no one wanted to see that much pain unfold on screen.
RIP Shiva, you’ll forever be in our hearts.