There’s a beautiful friendship starting on “The Walking Dead” and we can’t wait to see where it goes

Ezekiel — aka, “King” Ezekiel — has been in one episode of The Walking Dead so far, but he’s already one of our favorite characters. The character and his Kingdom have a pretty grand introduction on the show – and it’s definitely warranted (Oh, also, Ezekiel has a pet tiger named Shiva, because of course he does).

One thing that we didn’t anticipate, but that we’re also loving, is that it seems like Ezekiel and Carol might have a truly lovely friendship blooming. Ezekiel shares his story of rescuing Shiva with Carol, and the two have a really frank conversation towards the end of the Episode 2 of TWD’s seventh season.

We get the first inkling of chemistry between the pair when Morgan takes Carol to meet Ezekiel. The “king” offers her fruit grown at the Kingdom, and says of pomegranates, “Sweet fruit surrounded by bitter but heaven for the effort.”

Even though Carol is still processing the ridiculousness of his larger-than-life persona, and the tiger in front of her, there’s a moment there where you feel like his words intrigue her.

Later Carol, one of the most calculating and badass characters on the show, calls out Ezekiel’s theatricality and what she perceives as the lie all the residents of the Kingdom are living – a weirdly normal existence while the zombie apocalypse continues to rage on.

Ezekiel, not missing a beat, tells her that people who feel safe are more productive and rational – and that his play at being royalty helps them feel that way. He’s also totally up front with her: “I used to act in community theatre,” he says, perfectly explains his kingly affectations.

The honesty the pair can have so quickly is pretty revealing, and it makes us feel like they could become very close. In fact, some people are already shipping them (though we’re not sure how we feel about the mashup of their names, tbh).

The most striking thing, though, is that Ezekiel can tell that Carol wants to give up on life, and says to her: “Where there’s life there’s hope; heroism, grace, love. Where there’s life there’s life. I hope that’s not what you’re walking away from.”

After Carol moves into a house just outside the Kingdom, Ezekiel (and Shiva, of course) come to visit. When she opens the door, he proffers a pomegranate and tells her, “You really have to try one of these.”

Her slow smile makes us think whether it’s trust, friendship, or romance, something lovely is definitely blossoming between the pair – we can’t wait to see what exactly it may be.