EZEKIEL’s health hit a new low in the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
The former leader of The Kingdom, played by Khary Payton, was seen coughing and wheezing after going toe-to-toe with just a handful of walkers as he hit the road with Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt).
Since the group had momentarily split up, Ezekiel was able to keep his ailing health from his traveling companions.
He has been very selective with who had let in on his disease, recently telling Carol (Melissa McBride) after a night of passion before the siege on Hilltop.
Ezekiel previously explained that his cancer was hereditary, with both his grandfather and father also falling prey to the disease.
Now show boss Angela Kang has revealed that her treatment of the storyline was inspired by her own family’s battle with cancer.
“Ezekiel is sick, and I don't want to downplay the seriousness of that for anybody who is a cancer survivor out there or has a loved one that is,” she said of showing his deterioration on screen.
“I lost a parent to cancer when I was a teenager, and we felt that we have to play some of the reality of when you are in a situation like in an apocalypse without access to medication and stuff, it's going to be a struggle,” she added of his prospects.
However, she stressed that he wouldn’t be going anywhere in the immediate future.
“But Ezekiel is a really strong and positive character and so he's doing his best to fight his way through it. And so it's a story that will just continue to unfold,” she continued to Entertainment Weekly.
“We’ll see this group on their own journey with Ezekiel, Yumiko, Eugene and as they figure out how to deal with this new character that they've met, and they've got their own adventures.
Teasing more bloodshed before season 10 wraps, she concluded: “But it all crashes towards this epic conflict now that Beta has taken leadership of the Whisperers.”
The comments come after some fans feared Carol could euthanize Ezekiel.
The title of next week’s episode, Look At The Flowers, harks back to one of the darkest chapters of Carol’s past.
In season 4 episode The Grove, Carol did her best to look after orphaned sisters Mika (Kyla Kenedy) and Lizzie Samuels (Brighton Sharbino).
However the pair were psychologically scarred by the apocalypse, leading to Lizzie murdering her sister after convincing herself that she’d be happier as a walker.
Realizing that Lizzie was too far gone, Carol killed her in heart-wrenching scenes.
The pair sat in the garden, with Carol telling Lizzie to “look at the flowers” before taking her out.
With the new title referencing Carol’s previous mercy killing, could Ezekiel be following in Lizzie’s footsteps?
Judging by Kang’s latest comments, we doubt it.
In other The Walking Dead news, fans got their first look at gun-wielding eccentric Princess in the latest preview clip.
The character, who is taken from the Robert Kirkman comics upon which The Walking Dead is based, made a big impression with her fluffy purple outfit and zany personality.
The Walking Dead continues on Monday in the UK on FOX and will be available to stream on NOW TV from 10pm.
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