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The Walking Dead: Is Carol Going Going to Hook Up With Ezekiel?

Signs point to a Season 9 romance

Cory Barker

Love continues to be found in a hopeless place on The Walking Dead.

With the likely departures of stars Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan, Season 9 promises to bring some major changes to the AMC zombie thriller. But as those two beloved characters say goodbye, it looks like two others -- Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) -- are about to share love with one another.

While the brief teaser trailer released by the show's Twitter account features some evocative clues regarding Season 9's direction, it also offers a glimpse at a potential hookup between two of The Walking Dead's most popular characters. In a blink-and-you-missed-it snippet, Carol and Ezekiel are shown cuddling by a fire. In the Walking Dead universe, that's about as romantic as it gets.

The show has dropped hints of a Carol-Ezekiel pairing since Ezekiel first met Carol in Season 7. Ezekiel has appeared to have an apple (or turnip?) in his eye for Carol as he repeatedly visited her while she was living in isolation during one of her leave-me-the-hell-alone phases. And Carol helped Ezekiel pick himself up after a moment of self-doubt to return the favor. The two have been remarkably vulnerable with each other, so this makes sense.

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Although there's never exactly a good time for romance in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, both characters are coming out of traumatic losses of sorts. Carol elected to mercy kill her previous partner Tobin after a poison arrow from the Saviors led him to be reanimated as a walker. Ezekiel experienced even more sadness, losing Shiva, his companion tiger in heroic fashion.

Perhaps the two will find real comfort in one another, at least until something truly awful happens to one, or both, of them.

What do you think -- is this potential hookup what The Walking Dead needs to survive major cast departures? Can they fill the Maggie-Glenn void?