After the incredibly bleak Season 7 premiere, The Walking Dead is in need of a little less horror and a little more hope. That may be a tall order for a show like this, but all that Negan torture needs something to balance it out before the show becomes too much of a relentless downer. That balance may be provided by the introduction of King Ezekiel, the ruler of an idyllic community called The Kingdom. Ezekiel might have as much flash and charisma as Negan, but that's where the similarities end; he's an entirely different type of character. It'll be a relief once he finally makes his first appearance, but when will King Ezekiel be on The Walking Dead?
It looks like fans won't have to wait long to see him; trailers for Season 7 Episode 2 indicate that Ezekiel will be making his very first appearance in Sunday's upcoming episode, which is called "The Well." Though audiences haven't caught a glimpse of him yet, The Kingdom was hinted at back in Season 6 when two knightly men on horseback scooped up Carol and Morgan with intentions of bringing them back there. It seems like both characters will become very involved in Ezekiel's storyline.
A sneak peek for "The Well" shows Morgan giving Carol a tour of The Kingdom, with all of its flourishing crops, animals, and citizens. Morgan is already well acquainted with how things run there, explaining to Carol that while the people of The Kingdom helped her recover from her Savior-inflicted wounds, Morgan helped them out as repayment. He finally brings her to meet Ezekiel, though the clip cuts off teasingly right before Ezekiel is revealed.
However, another trailer for the episode gives fans a better look at Ezekiel and The Kingdom, as well as what's really going on there. It looks like the place might not be as much of an eden as it seems to be; in fact, its beautiful facade may disguise dark secrets. Without supplying any answers, Ezekiel is heard announcing that "what we do here is a secret I keep from my people," though he goes on to describe secrets as the cost of ruling, not a privilege. It doesn't seem like The Kingdom is hiding Terminus-level atrocities underneath the surface, but rather that Ezekiel's rule is a complicated one.
Ezekiel and Negan are both distinct characters, and it's easy to see why comics fans have been waiting so long for both of them. They've got charisma, power, and some unique quirks – but the difference is that Ezekiel doesn't seem to take glee in having to resort to crueler methods. Just look at their signature accessories: Ezekiel has a pet tiger named Shiva, a living thing that he is deeply protective of, and Negan has a murder weapon with a nickname.
Ezekiel will hopefully be a welcome reprieve from all the hell breaking loose on The Walking Dead, as long as those secrets he's hiding aren't too dire.