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The Walking Dead: Are Carol & Ezekiel a thing in season 8?

Melissa McBride and Khary Payton open up on the future of Carzekiel

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If you are one of those Caryl shippers that has been longing to see Daryl and Carol get together on The Walking Dead, then this is probably not the article for you. Because while there is an undeniable connection between those two longtime characters, season 7 saw the arrival of another potential suitor for Ms. Peletier.

Enter King Ezekiel. It’s clear that Ezekiel is fond of Carol. He told her the secrets of his past. He gave her a cabin. He then stopped by said cabin unannounced… ahem… just to check in. C’mon, the dude is totally crushing on her!

Khary Payton, who plays Ezekiel, does not deny it. “I mean, he clearly likes her,” says Payton. “He clearly has a thing for Carol. Now the question is, it takes two to tango, man. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that Carol is a tough nut to crack.”

So we went to the woman who plays Carol, Melissa McBride, to get her take on her character’s feelings for the man who would be king. “I think she totally appreciates him and she’s trying to be standoffish because it hurts,” says McBride. “It hurts to get close to people. When you get close to people, you have to fight for them. So she’s trying to maintain distance with anyone until she can resolve this gobbledy-doo in her head one way or another about having to kill.”

McBride does hint that Carol’s feelings toward Ezekiel are a bit conflicted. “She appreciates him,” says McBride. “And I think that tugs on her in one way where it’s very endearing, and another way where it gets on her nerves because she doesn’t want to be pulled.”

Gene Page/AMC

So what does that mean for season 8? Payton hints that any possible Carzekiel love connection will have to wait until the war with Negan is settled. “At the moment they’ve got kind of more pressing matters at hand,” says the actor. “So there’s really no time for midnight strolls along the beach, you know? They’ve got s–t to do.”

Beyond that, it sounds like the star knows about as much as we do. “I don’t know!” laughs Payton. “I literally don’t f–king know! It’d be great, because I get that question more than anything, and they have not alluded to a thing, and they won’t tell me a thing. It’s crazy. I’m pretty sure that they still haven’t decided themselves if these guys are going to just be friends or get together. I have no clue. I am literally sitting here wondering just like everybody else.”

Sounds like we’ll keep wondering for a while.

For more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.