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Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Khary Payton as Ezekiel - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Khary Payton as Ezekiel - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead

Daryl and Ezekiel’s talk felt like a stiff handshake from a girl’s boyfriend

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

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Ezekiel pulling Daryl aside to talk Carol was The Walking Dead equivalent of getting a stiff handshake from a girl’s boyfriend.

The Walking Dead’s season 9 finale saw Ezekiel engaging in a icy man-to-man talk with Daryl about his then Queen/fiancee Carol. One that boiled down to ‘Step away from her friend,’ or in Ezekiel’s words, “I don’t want to be the bad guy here.” It was universal, every guy has been on both sides of the equation at one time or another. Usually, it happens on a night out at a bar when a guy converses with a girl at length, and her boyfriend’s eyes dart to his opponent with a fierce unspoken gaze.

There Ezekiel was still reeling from the death of his adopted son, when he spots an unexpected, potential challenger to the Queen’s heart from the corner of his eye. The same individual he inadvertently blames for failing Henry, his faith in him at an all-time low. At first, he makes nothing of the conversation between old friends but Daryl’s mere presence gets to the King.

As Ezekiel senses the Queen’s feelings for him are slowly evaporating, he decides to secretly negotiate an exit with her possible old flame. An ember that never truly stopped fully burning and can reignite at any second. Ezekiel calls forth a seemingly friendly audience with Daryl so they can discuss matters in private.

Dropping pleasantries, Ezekiel tells Daryl, he should probably leave them be when they arrive at Hilltop. No Carol around, no need to pretend, ‘We’re all best of friends here!’ However, the young lion does not accept, roaring back, “Is that what Carol wants?” The elder lion sensing the matter not closed, responds, ‘It’s what we both want!’ with a flash of teeth. Daryl understands the message, there’s nothing more that needs to be said.

However, Queen Carol notices something is amiss during the man-to-man dialogue. Her feelings dwindling further, spiraling into romantic abyss with every extra second of the private conversation. Her fiancee Ezekiel’s charged body language toward her ‘friend’ has a reverse effect. Instead, Carol’s feelings grow even stronger for Daryl subconsciously. Unfinished business, the one who got away, lingering emotions that never saw closure swim up to the surface.

By the conclusion of The Walking Dead’s season 9 finale, Ezekiel’s attempt at a ‘stiff handshake’ with Daryl has backfired tremendously. The move combined with the loss of their son, sends Carol to join Daryl back in Alexandria, miles away physically from the King. Practically another state in these new times. No longer is the situation just emotionally distant for the distraught King.

Queen Carol returns the ring that promised a forever union to the palm of the King’s hand. Now at rock bottom, Ezekiel realizes his last minute attempt to rescue the relationship was wholly unsuccessful. By the time Ezekiel understood the building blocks of marriage were crumbling, it was already too late.

Enjoyed Negan’s redemption story on The Walking Dead’s season 9 finale? Check out The Walking Dead’s take on Prison Reform: Can Negan change? for the pros and cons of letting Negan out of his Alexandria cell permanently!

Nir Regev is the founder of The Natural Aristocrat. You can directly contact him at nir.regev@thenaturalaristocrat.com for coverage consideration, interview opportunties, or general comments.

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The Walking Dead

Would Rick Grimes have spared Negan if he knew parole was possible?

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Rick Grimes Vs. Negan on The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale "Wrath" - Pictured from left to right: Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Andrew Lincoln - Photo Credit: Gene Page / AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

If Rick Grimes had known Negan would be free to go in his absence, free to play dad to Judith while Michonne replaced him with Ezekiel… Does he still spare Negan?

Had Rick Grimes peeked into a crystal ball and witnessed the dystopian-like future of Alexandria in his absence, would he undo it all? Every day Rick Grimes is not around his daughter is a day she forgot about him a little bit more than yesterday. Rick’s despised rival becoming her adopted father figure and who she looks to for guidance. Memory alone pales to immediate availability, and Negan is available and willing to play dad. Rick’s promise of a life sentence for Negan reduced to parole for good behavior. Negan has accomplished what Shane set out to do minus Lori.

For those who’ve watched The Walking Dead’s Season 10 Comic Con Trailer, it’s clear Negan will go free from his cell to roam Alexandria… Meaning, it’s only a matter of time before he rebuilds his influence like The Governor before him. Sure, he might take a beating from Daryl but nothing he can’t handle. In the end, Rick placing Negan in the cell will be largely meaningless as Sanctuary’s top guy rewrites his own history. Maybe even Rick’s history if he chooses to. For how much longer will Judith keep believing Michonne’s stories about Negan against her own experiences? Especially, once Michonne starts kissing Ezekiel.

Michonne isn’t even Judith’s real mom after all, and she’s just entering that teenage rebellious phase. Remember how difficult Carl was toward Rick at Judith’s age (and even later)? A moment will come when Judith has to choose between the viewpoints of Michonne and Negan, and vote for him… She’s already ignored Michonne’s wishes before. If Rick Grimes knew Michonne had accepted a replacement in his place rather than continue the search, how would he react? He’s already been in the scenario with Lori once before. So again, go back to the epicenter of it all, The Walking Dead’s Season 8 Finale.

Rick Grimes has an opportunity to vanquish his opponent in Roman Gladiator-like fashion. The Saviors have surrendered, the war is over. Yet, Rick relents and spares Negan from his fate. There’s a saying, ‘first thought, best thought’ or ‘always go with your gut.’ If Rick Grimes ignores Carl’s dream right that second, there might have been true unity by those who fought The Saviors. No forced unity between opposing former front lines who balked at the dream. 

The idea two sides imprinted with the memory of the war and its casualties could live in harmony was likely a utopian daydream. Daryl tried desperately to make Rick see that as his best friend. Whereas Maggie had already lost faith in Rick Grimes permanently.  

If Rick Grimes could see the future of his decision… Would he change it? Would you?

Relive The Walking Dead Season 8 with the Blu-Ray on Amazon!  Rewatch the moment that determined The Walking Dead’s entire future timeline with one action on Season 8 Episode 16 (“Wrath”).


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Lodge 49

TWD’s Pollyanna McIntosh debuts in Lodge 49’s Season 2 Premiere this Monday

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Lodge 49 - Clara (Pollyanna McIntosh) and Connie Wright (Linda Emond) in Season 2. Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

The Walking Dead’s Pollyanna McIntosh officially makes her Lodge 49 debut as Clara mid-episode on this Monday’s Season 2 Premiere on AMC.

Calling all Walking Dead Jadis / Anne fans, Pollyanna McIntosh is back on AMC Television this Monday (8/12)! McIntosh plays the posh British emissary Clara who meets Connie Clark on Lodge 49’s Season 2 Premiere. Clara appears high society and clean-cut, a definite contrast when juxtaposed against her junkyard self on TWD. The same when contrasted with her recent reprisal as The Woman in Darlin’, even her real life English accent is intact on Lodge 49. It’s honestly astonishing how a different accent can recharacterize and change perception of an individual instantly… Before you even get to know them! Makes you think.

While The Natural Aristocrat has to be mum on the finer details of this Monday’s Lodge 49 Season 2 Premiere… You can be guaranteed without any spoilers that Pollyanna McIntosh is seen at the half way point in the episode. In the Lodge 49 First-Look Photos for Season 2, McIntosh’s Clara and Connie Clark appear to be fast friends.

Lodge 49 Season 1 finale recap for Connie Clark

In Lodge 49’s Season 1 finale, Scott Miller revealed to Ernie that Connie has been suffering from brain seizures following their tussle. Connie confirmed to Ernie over the phone that her medical condition was indeed true but said, ‘not to worry.’ That she knows her clock is ticking but so is everybody else’s. Based on this, it’s likely Connie is growing open with revealing her medical state to others. Will she divulge the fine print to Clara or merely hint at it?

By the looks of their AMC photo, it seems a bond between Clara and Connie develops, whether on the Season 2 Premiere or in the future.

Pollyanna McIntosh’s upcoming films

Pollyanna McIntosh was originally confirmed by Deadline for Lodge 49’s second season back on February 27, 2019. Outside of Lodge 49 and this summer’s Darlin’, McIntosh has been announced for an upcoming, unnamed Walking Dead film with Rick Grimes, horror Western film The Moonshine Gang of Cheyenne (with Steven Ogg), thriller Revenge Ride, and German horror film Deathcember.

Get our Lodge 49 Season 2 Premiere live stream details, including a sneak peek of the episode! Catch up on Lodge 49’s first season on Amazon.

Be sure to check out our exclusive Pollyanna McIntosh interview on her film Darlin’ featuring her fellow TWD cast mates.

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Fear the Walking Dead

Austin Amelio talks Dwight’s return at Split Screens Festival (Interview)

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Austin Amelio as Dwight in Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 - Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC
Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC

The Natural Aristocrat spoke with Fear the Walking Dead’s soon to debut Austin Amelio (Dwight) at NYC’s IFC Center during Split Screen Festival.

Austin Amelio is about to make his Fear the Walking Dead official debut and relishing the opportunity to create ‘something deeper’ with Dwight. Amelio was in the Big Apple along with fellow Fear cast mates for the Season 5 Premiere at New York’s IFC Center and living in the moment. The Natural Aristocrat initially asked Austin off-camera how happy he was Dwight got to live on in Fear and didn’t get killed off by Daryl after all… Which Austin replied comedically deadpan, “Careful, Scott Gimple could be around here somewhere,” (shifting eyes from side to side) drawing laughs from Gimple and everyone around close by.

Austin would later comment at Split Screens Festival Fear the Walking Dead panel that when he was told he was riding with Gimple he was worried about having ‘the talk.’ The character end talk to be exact. Fear castmate Colman Domingo remarked, ‘Well you still have to ride in the same car with him back!’ which brought big laughs from the rest of the cast. The Walking Dead star and former Daryl Dixon rival discussed the initial pressure of being on the grand stage in the role, relaxing more now, and if he thinks he’s ever getting that vest back…

Watch the interview video above or read the full transcript below!

Interview with Austin Amelio on Dwight

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: Austin, how does it feel to transverse and do your own crossover? The first semi-villain to come over to Fear the Walking Dead!

Austin Amelio: I’m really excited about it because I get to keep playing with this character and create something a little deeper with him. So it’s been nice.

We spoke off-camera about how you’re afraid of Scott M. Gimple over there killing your character off!

Always!

(Gimple laughs in the background)

Are you guys always watching your back when he’s around?

Of course, it’s part of the show! (laughs) Whenever you’re turning the script pages, and you see a walker, you think “Oh no! This could be the episode where I go!”

How do you feel your character has changed over this season?

It’s changed a lot, that’s about all I can say. I don’t want to talk about it too much or give it away… But he leaves on a pretty emotional note and the troubles rise up on the show I’m on now.

Do you feel you prepare differently after you’ve gotten experience on The Walking Dead than when you first came on the show, acting wise?

Oh, a little more relaxed now. I was pretty stressed out the first couple of years but after playing the guy for a while… I just sort of sunk into what he’s about. So yeah, I’m not as stressed out anymore.

Why do you feel you were stressed out?

It was just such a big thing for me, it was a big show… It’s not like it’s just your grandma and grandpa watching, it’s millions of people. There’s a little pressure with that. But yeah, I’m just sort of relaxing now.

I’m wondering where you’re going to go forward with your career. Are you getting offers to do movies now in-between or after Fear?

No idea, I just take it day-by-day. This business is pretty unpredictable. So it’s just day by day and if something comes around and I jive with it, then great. Sort of where I’m at, no pressure.

My last question is… You ever going to get that vest from Daryl back?

(smiles)I don’t know. I think he took that for good! (laughs) I think it’s gone.

Thanks man!

Absolutely, thank you!

Be sure to follow Austin Amelio (@austin_amelio) on Twitter!

Check out The Natural Aristocrat’s interview with Fear the Walking Dead’s Colman Domingo ahead of Fear the Walking Dead’s Season 5 sophomore episode tonight!

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