It seems that The Walking Dead may be setting up King Ezekiel’s death on the show by revealing that he has cancer. A lot has been happening since The Walking Dead returned for season 10, including an inevitable war with the Whisperers brewing with all the communities. But despite every character going through their own issues at the moment, one of the biggest mysteries has been with Ezekiel, who had lost The Kingdom in the season 9 finale.
In The Walking Dead season 10, episode 4, Ezekiel strolled off on his own and looked ready to commit suicide. He was stopped by Michonne and talked down from the ledge, though it’s unclear if he truly was going to try to kill himself or not. Regardless, he promised not to do something like that ever again. And so, in The Walking Dead season 10, episode 5, “What It Always Is”, Ezekiel opens up to Siddiq, who has been going through his own trauma due to the pike deaths in season 9.
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Ezekiel tells Siddiq that he has a tumor in his neck – thyroid cancer. It’s something that his grandmother and his father both suffered through. But while there were treatments for this cancer for them, Ezekiel isn’t so lucky. With the zombie apocalypse still in full swing, he knows that the chances of him surviving are slim to none, unlike the 98% survival rate he tells Siddiq that his family had.
It’s been clear that Ezekiel has been going through something deeply personal in season 10, and only Jerry appeared to know what that was when he expressed his concern for the King when the tree came down at Hilltop. However, the reveal that Ezekiel has thyroid cancer was an unexpected twist – for fans and for comic book readers alike – since nothing like that happens in the Walking Dead comics. In fact, the TV show’s version of Ezekiel has already lived past when he was supposed to die in the source material.
In The Walking Dead comics, Ezekiel is killed by the Whisperers and his head is displayed on a pike along with the rest of the people who died at the fair. That happened towards the end of the previous season, so giving him a disease that seems impossible to overcome is strange, especially at this point. Perhaps the producers wanted to differentiate the pike deaths from the scene in the comics while also still planning Ezekiel’s exit in the near future. Or perhaps not. Stranger things have happened in The Walking Dead universe, so Ezekiel finding some way to treat himself and continue living may very well happen.
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