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Khary Payton on The Walking Dead’s Latest Loss

Published on November 13th, 2017 | Updated on November 13th, 2017 | By FanFest

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

It’s no surprise that when you tune into The Walking Dead, there’s a pretty big chance you’re going to get emotional. It is a show about the zombie apocalypse after all. Not only that, it’s one of the most ‘human’ shows out there right now, which sounds a bit ironic, but it’s true.

It focuses on human nature, on emotion, and on what you’ll do to survive. All of those aspects pave the way for some serious tear-jerking moments.

If you haven’t seen last night’s ‘Some Guy’ episode yet, we wouldn’t recommend reading much further, unless you want to prepare yourself for the heartache you’re going to see play out on screen.

If you’re like us and you have seen it, you know that last night’s episode didn’t just have one of those emotional moments – it WAS an emotional moment. Seeing King Ezekiel go from putting on his smile and preparing himself for the day to losing his will to go on, we felt every piece of heartache that he was feeling, too.

Of course, the most heartwrenching moment was when Ezekiel had to hopelessly watch Shiva be taken down after coming to his rescue. It was truly a representation of the circle of their relationship. Ezekiel saved Shiva when she needed it most, and she did the same for him in return.

He begged Jerry to let him help her, once again wanting to save her at her moment of despair, but Jerry knew that the King’s life was still important, even if he wasn’t able to see that himself.

Now, losing Shiva would have been an impossible blow to him no matter what the circumstances, but he suffered through the entire episode. Beginning with his empowering speech, believing 100% in the words he spoke. He believed they could not only survive, but win the war and that he’d do so without losing a single man. He believed, not just in himself, but in his people that much.

Some fans get lost in the King’s grandeur, but if you look closer, it’s never been about himself – he did what he needed to do to give his people something to believe in. That, in itself, is powerful.

In the last moments of last week’s episode, we saw the King in a moment of panic. He noticed that his people were in danger and told them to scatter at the very second bullets starting pouring down upon them. Instead of scattering, however, they threw their bodies on top of King Ezekiel, to protect their king.

He lived, but he was injured. However, his physical pain was no match for the mental and emotional pain he was suffering. Remembering the promises he made and the words he spoke – knowing those he’d grown with had perished. Did it happen by his own hands?

Once he was captured, the feeling really sank in. The feeling of failure and inadequacy was forced into his head as his body was physically forced to move forward. That feeling, that deep sense of sadness and despair took over the King as he was reunited with Jerry and Carol and they tried to make their way to safety.

There were many moments in the episode where he told them he couldn’t go on, and while it was certainly because he was in physical pain and worried about slowing them down, it also had to deal with his emotional state. He felt as if he’d let his Kingdom down, he felt as if he wasn’t a King at all, he felt like a shell of a man.

So, watching Shiva die, after all of that, truly sent him into a place that we’ve never seen him inch close to. So now, how will he handle it? We can’t help but think of Morgan and Carol in these moments, will the three find a way to bond together and find strength somehow? Will he allow Jerry, his right-hand man, to help him through or will King Ezekiel keep it to himself? There isn’t a way to be sure right now, but what we do know, is that his losses were massive and life-changing.

Khary Payton himself spoke about losing Shiva and also about losing himself.

In the scene where he yells, not at Jerry, but out in despair, that he’s not his King or his Majesty…he’s just some guy. Khary said what’s happening there isn’t that he feels like he must die for his actions, but that he doesn’t want another person to die because of them.

I would say that it’s more that he doesn’t want one more person to die because of him, especially not his closest companions Jerry and Carol. So I think that’s exactly what’s going through his mind, is that, “I don’t deserve what you’re giving me any more.” It’s a hard thing when you feel the failure and then you feel people trying to bolster you up when you don’t feel like you deserve it, I think that’s the moment that’s happening for Ezekiel. The problem is that Ezekiel’s been holding people up for so long that people refuse to not come and to not render aid for him when he needs it, because he’s given way too much good out not to have it come back around. Just happens to be at this moment he really doesn’t want it.

He might not want it, but he certainly wasn’t going to get left there. Jerry and Carol carried him away, after watching Shiva fall, and Khary spoke about how that gut-wrenching scene was created.

I got a little esoteric in my interpretation of how to work that scene, and to me, Shiva is kind of the embodiment of what the Kingdom is to Ezekiel. She is this rare, beautiful creature that somehow is surviving and thriving in this dark and hellish place, and that’s what the Kingdom is. It’s this bright, beautiful thing that he was able to build despite all of the death that’s rotting around him, and I think that moment is kind of the embodiment of seeing Shiva. In my mind, it just replayed everyone dying on that field, but the incredible loss that you feel when you lose so many so abruptly and so harshly. And so that, to me, was the connecting sinew that I was able to find in my brain to have that emotional connection. And another gut-wrenching scene to watch, good gracious.

Good Gracious is about all we can say too, and that we hope King Ezekiel realizes that being a king isn’t being born into some royalty and it isn’t even about building yourself up to try to be something greater. King Ezekiel is a king because of the spirit that lies within him, the light that shines even when he can’t see it himself, and the way he became a king to bring hope to a world where it was lost.


as seen on promo graphic


as seen on promo graphic