Warning: The following contains spoilers from the most recent episode of The Walking Dead. If you haven't watched yet, you may want to bookmark this page and return once you have. Proceed with caution.
It's not always easy to be king.
In fact, as Ezekiel (Khary Payton) found out on tonight's episode of The Walking Dead, sometimes it can be downright horrible. Especially when you're a self-imposed king at war with a lunatic and his relentless goons during the zombie apocalypse.
Picking right up where we left off last week, Ezekiel proved to be the only person to survive from that shower of gunfire that came out of nowhere, thanks to his subjects leaping on top him, all dying in the process. As he had to fight off the people who he convinced to join the fight now that they'd reanimated as walkers, fight off a deranged Savior with a truly terrible haircut, and finally get reconnected with and rescued by Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and Carol (Melissa McBride), it was one hell of a day for the man who would be king. But the worst was far from over.
With his leg injured and a pack of walkers closing in on the trio in the woods, it looked as if Ezekiel might sacrifice himself so that the other two could get to safety quickly. That is, until his trusty tiger sidekick Shiva roared into action, leaping into the middle of the walkers from nearly out of nowhere. She was the distraction our heroes needed to get the heck out of dodge. Unfortunately, that also meant she would become quite a feast for those lucky walkers.
While the decision to give Shiva a hero's death shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Digitally animating a ferocious tiger would only get more and more expensive in the long haul, after all, not to mention the fact that Shiva died much in the same way in the comics. But it's a bit of a bummer. A theatrical "king" with a pet tiger was one of our favorite bonkers aspects of The Walking Dead. In the aftermath, we expect Ezekiel and his eccentricities to come back down to earth as he mourns.
Were you bummed to see Shiva sacrifice herself for Ezekiel? Sound off in the comments below!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.