Ezekiel hasn’t forgotten that Negan’s group slaughtered his people, calling out his many transgressions.
Sunday’s episode explains in one line of dialogue why we’ve never seen Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Khary Payton’s characters interact since the end of the war against the Saviors.
Ezekiel reveals he never forgave Negan for the hell he put their groups through on seasons seven and eight.
In a shocking moment, Zeke called out Negan’s heinous misdeeds.
“I stayed away from you for years for a reason,” Ezekiel said. “Melting people’s faces with irons? Coercing women into marrying you? Slaughtering my people? That shit I have not forgotten. Nobody has.”
In addition to the Dwight reference about melting people’s faces, it’s the first time anyone has really chewed Negan out for his controversial treatment of women on the show. As a reminder, Negan had a harem of women he forced to marry him if they wanted their families to survive.
Ezekiel also holds anger toward Negan because, as he mentioned, Negan’s Saviors brutally gunned down many of Ezekiel’s friends and followers. Zeke barely made it out alive.
Both Zeke and Negan were leaders of very different communities. It’s likely difficult for Ezekiel, who ruled as a fair and just leader of the Kingdom community, to respect and see eye to eye with a leader like Negan who ruled with fear and submission.