Khary Payton's Favorite Episode Of The Walking Dead Is Truly Heartbreaking

During its 11-season run, "The Walking Dead" saw too many characters to count pass through its zombie-infested landscape. Most were indeed taken directly from the pages of Robert Kirkman's iconic comic book source material. And even as the small screen adaptation played pretty loose with many of their stories, they still made for one of the more memorable, and refreshingly eclectic ensembles to ever grace the airwaves.

But even among the series' sprawling cast, a few diamonds shined just a little bit brighter than others. One of the brightest of the bunch surprisingly didn't even walk his way into the narrative until its seventh season on the air. But when King Ezekiel made his grand entrance with a pet tiger in tow, well, he became an instant force to be reckoned with. He was, of course, also a bit of a charlatan whose penchant for showmanship helped hoist him to the top of The Kingdom's chain of command. And if you've seen Ezekiel's early episodes on "The Walking Dead," you know actor Khary Payton took no uncertain pleasure in delving into the many faces of the post-apocalyptic King's persona.

Fans of the series know that existence was one whose hard-earned emotional highs were regularly tempered by soul-crushing heartbreak. And it seems Payton particularly reveled in playing the lows of Ezekiel's existence, even going so far as to pick one of the character's more devastating episodes as his personal favorite. 

Payton loves this emotionally crushing episode because of the wide range it offered

"The Walking Dead" episode Khary Payton picked as his personal favorite is the fourth of the series' eighth season: "Some Guy." It's one of the most bruising chapters in King Ezekiel's entire narrative. The episode prior ends as dozens of The Kingdom's fighters are blown to smithereens by Saviors using heavy artillery. The early moments of "Some Guy" see the wounded Ezekiel emerging from a pile of their bodies to find he may be the only survivor. Things only get worse for Ezekiel later in the episode when he's forced to watch his beloved tiger Shiva be devoured by zombies, a crushing personal and symbolic loss Payton hardly overstated when he told The Hollywood Reporter, "She's the symbol and embodiment of the Kingdom itself."

The grisly scenes are spliced with moments of Ezekiel inspiring his people to battle, which only makes it all harder to stomach. In talking with Den of Geek about Ezekiel's Season 8 journey, Payton admitted playing the highs and lows of "Some Guy" made it his favorite episode. "I think honestly my favorite episode that I've done is probably episode four, 'Some Guy,'" he said, continuing, "and although it was a gut-wrenching episode and it was a couple of weeks of shooting, it was also one of the most gratifying and one of my proudest moments just as far as my acting career is concerned, because he did go from this high to such a low."

The actor goes on to praise "The Walking Dead" team for giving actors the chance to carry the entire series with such episodes. And though he further acknowledges "Some Guy" was challenging in every possible way, the episode fronts arguably his best work of the entire series.