[Spoilers for The Walking Dead “Some Guy” ahead]
Fulfilling the promise that Season 8 of AMC’s The Walking Dead would be filled with more death an destruction than ever before, the latest episode featured one major cast departure plucked from the pages of Robert Kirkman’s comic books. She may have roared her last roar, but was anyone really ready goodbye to say goodbye to Shiva the tiger?
The fourth episode of Season 8 – “Some Guy” focussed on Khary Payton’s OTT King Ezekiel. Giving fans a more indepth look at the dreadlocked leader of the Kingdom, there were still plenty of bullets and bloodshed heading over from the third episode’s cliffhanger ending. However, what would a tale of the king be without his loyal servants and a roaring beast by his side? It was a moving episode away from a slow-start eighth season, and among the many losses for Ezekiel, Shiva’s hit home more than most.
Just like HBO’s direwolves, the sheer cost of bringing a giant CGI tiger to our screens is no small feat. However, with a relatively short lifespan on our screens, fan-favorite Shiva bowed out just as the “All Out War” storyline is getting interesting. But, how does her grisly demise compare to the black and white panels from the Image Comics series?
For those who follow Kirkman’s comics, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before Shiva’s death graced the screen. While characters like Carol and Baby Judith have managed to long outlive their comic book counterparts, the passing of Shiva comes at an important time to help spur Ezekiel back into war mode against Negan. Occurring in Issue #118, and a similar way to the show, the knights of the Kingdom are brutally gunned down during a botched attack on the Saviors. It is here where Ezekiel also has to face the death of his right-hand man Richard, so just like the show, finds himself on his own. You may remember that Richard perished back in Season 7 of The Walking Dead, but the show left Cooper Andrews’ Jerry alive to help save the king – with a little help from Melissa McBride’s homicidal homemaker Carol.
Shiva’s death happens at exactly the same point in the comics, however, the way it happens is a little different. With Richard dead, comic book Ezekiel is forced to crawl from the battlefield alone and soon finds himself trapped in a ravine with some ravenous Walkers. After seemingly giving up on life, Shiva pounces to the rescue and sacrifices herself and save Ezekiel. The show saw a similar turn of events, but was made all the more heartbreaking when both Carol and Jerry were forced to drag Ezekiel away as he watched his beloved pet torn to pieces. As the last tie to Ezekiel’s zookeeper days pre-apocalypse, both the show and the comics see the tiger’s death as a turning point for the king of the Kingdom.
Ironically, Shiva’s demise could be just what the show needs to put King Ezekiel back on the road to stirring speech-maker and all-around morale booster. Sure, he may have jinxed his people a little early by saying not one of them would perish, but the loss of his biggest weapon will undoubtedly make him even more determined to toppled Negan and the Sanctuary. As Shiva shuffles off as a tiger skin rug, expect her to be just one of many big name casualties from Season 8 of The Walking Dead. The big question is now, whose body bag should we be preparing next?
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