After the second episode in season 7B of The Walking Dead, “New Best Friends,” The Kingdom doesn’t seem to be any closer to aligning with Alexandria in the eventual war against Negan and the Saviors. In fact, after this week’s episode, the possibility of an alliance looks even more remote than before. It seems that everything has been tried, and nothing has yet worked.
In last year’s midseason finale, Richard went to Carol and tried to persuade her to talk Ezekiel into fighting the Saviors. No dice. Last week, in the midseason premiere, Rick attempted to use the power of a story his mother told him about a rock in the road to convince Ezekiel to fight Negan. Ezekiel didn’t budge.
This week, the alliance was thwarted on two fronts. First of all, Richard attempted to force the issue by attacking a carload of Saviors in the hopes that the Saviors would come looking for the attacker. Richard had meant to lead them to Carol, who probably would’ve been killed, a death that might have provoked Ezekiel to go to war. That plan, however, was shut down by Daryl, who beat up Richard for even thinking about sacrificing Carol for the greater good.
Daryl actually had the means to force the alliance himself, too. After Daryl and Carol had their lovely reunion, all Daryl would have had to do was tell Carol that Negan had killed both Glenn and Abraham and Carol would have thrown herself into the fight, no questions asked. Daryl couldn’t bring himself to do it, however. Moreover, after his conversation with Morgan, it appeared that Morgan was even more adamant in his refusal to advise Ezekiel to go to war.
It seems, in fact, that the possible merger of The Kingdom and Alexandria is at a crossroads. How will Rick or Daryl ever convince Ezekiel to join the effort, especially if Carol does not figure to play a role?
It think its fairly obvious at this point by the way the story is playing out, isn’t it? Richard had the right plan — sacrifice someone to force the war — but he chose the wrong person to sacrifice. Ultimately, the sacrifice likely won’t even be intentional. However, there is one other person whose death would probably inspire The Kingdom to take up arms.
I speak of Benjamin.
The cards all seem to be falling into place for a situation in which Benjamin’s death becomes the powder keg that sets off The Kingdom. In this week’s episode, an altercation broke out between Richard and a Savior, and Benjamin and his stick irresponsibly got involved. Jerry, however, egged him on with a compliment (“your sick with the stick, man!”), and I suspect the pride that Benjamin felt will compel him to act again, even if Ezekiel advised against it.
Recall also that the leader of this set of Saviors promised there would be consequences if another skirmish broke out between one of his men and one in The Kingdom (“things might need to get a little visceral”). I don’t think they will kill Richard. I think that — when an argument breaks out during the next pick-up — it will be Benjamin who dies.
It makes perfect sense. Benjamin has gained the sympathy of Morgan (his mentor), Carol (after their meeting in the woods last week), Jerry (who expressed pride in his ability to stand up for himself) and even Ezekiel, who seems to have a soft sport for Benjamin based on their conversation this week. He’s like an innocent deer, beloved by all. When Benjamin dies, Carol, Morgan, Ezekiel and Jerry (along with Richard) will want desperately to avenge his death, and Carol’s thirst for revenge will only be heightened when she invariably finds out out about the deaths of Glenn, Abraham, Olivia, and Spencer.
In other words, neither Rick nor Daryl (who has left The Kingdom) will need to convince Ezekiel to join the resistance. He’s bound to come to that decision on his own after losing another one of his people. My only hope is that when Benjamin is killed, that long-haired asshole, Jared, gets caught in the crossfire.