This we discover through the incredulous eyes of our most reliable audience surrogate. Carol, recovering from the injuries she sustained at the end of the last season, in the bed Morgan procured for her at the Kingdom, finds herself face to face with this new community’s grand leader and can barely stifle her laughter. Carol feigns amazement and gratitude, once again slipping into the role of ineffectual suburban mom for the sake of self-protection. But she’s as appalled by the notion of this guy’s thespian panache as we are. “It’s make-believe,” she scoffs to Morgan after the meeting. She’s long-ago accepted -- as indeed we have -- that only the ruthless and realistic are suited to the world as it is now. As far as Carol is concerned, these people are about as safe here as if they’d holed up in Disneyland.
It’s when Carol makes to abscond from the Kingdom in the middle of the night that we find out the truth. Ezekiel corners her and makes it clear that he knows she’s putting on an act: "Don’t bullshit a bullshitter," he explains, before dropping the act himself. Ezekiel confides to Carol that all of this -- the pet tiger, the kingly air, the pretensions, the grandiloquence, even the voice -- is mere showmanship, smoke and mirrors affected as a leadership strategy. The Kingdom needs a ruler, and King Ezekiel, however how authentic he may be, is the best man for the job. What he’s doing isn’t much different from what Carol does when she acts meek in front of people she doesn’t know. He’s being tactical. He’s being smart. Ezekiel’s doing what he needs to do to survive.