SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’, “The Next World”, you may want to skip this and come back later.
Last night’s uncharacteristically mellow episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ saw the introduction of a major new character, nicknamed Jesus, real name Paul Rovia. As fans of the comic know, the character was originally named Paul Monroe, but for TV, it was changed to avoid confusion with Spencer Monroe and his recently deceased mother Deanna, who used to govern Alexandria.
Comic fans also know that this character plays a major role as upcoming storylines unfold. And you should also be pleased that his introduction, in several instances, were essentially panel-by-panel recreations of the comics. (Fun fact: The Jesus beard that gave him his nickname? FAKE!)
For fans of only the TV show, the character is something of a cipher. Is he good or evil? Rick and the gang have certainly encountered more than their fair share of other survivors who seemed benevolent at first only to reveal dark– extremely dark– sides. So far, we just know he’s an escape artist who’s pretty good at hand-to-hand combat.
What can viewers expect of this new addition? Actor Tom Payne discussed his introduction and his role:
“They want this lighter character, not that he’s too light. He’s a very serious person actually. He could be talking about something very serious, but there’s also a lighter side to it. Everything is with a kind of sideways glance, but also not too much. There was a lot of me trying to find the right tone as well because the show is also slightly heightened at times, but also very serious, and that was, for me, slightly difficult in making sure I struck the right balance of tone.
“Moving forward, there are obviously more things that happen in the storyline, but this episode was very much on its own because you don’t find much out about me at all actually. The other characters don’t, and the audience doesn’t. I’m just this guy who shows up and causes a bit of mayhem, and then at the end of the show, is out of the shackles and suddenly, in Rick’s bedroom.”
For such a tough guy, Jesus was sure unconscious for a long time after Daryl headbutted him, don’t you think? Though it wasn’t spelled out, Payne and most viewers probably figured that out on their own:
“I like the way that he’s almost playing a part in the episode as well. He’s given away a little bit of himself, that he’s a bit handy with his martial arts, but not too much… I watched the episode with my girlfriend, and she said, “Oh, you’ve been knocked out for a long time,” when they’re driving me back. But even when we were shooting, I said to Scott [Gimple], “I don’t think he’s knocked out. I think he’s pretending the whole time.”
“…He’s a very clever guy, and this isn’t the first time he’s met new people on the road… and Daryl and Rick are just another couple of people he’s dealing with. He sized them up… He had been watching them for a while, I think, and then he’s figured out how he’s going to approach them.
“He was just taking that [truck] at the beginning, but then when they catch up to him, he sees that there’s a bit more about them because… Wow, they’re super persistent. They really ran after him… “Wow, they caught up to me, like I drove a fair distance away. I’m going to check these guys out… They said they don’t have a camp, and they’re taking a huge truck of supplies back to wherever they’re coming from, and they’ve chased me to make sure they get those supplies. They’re not just two guys there. There’s a lot of guys, there’s a lot of people that they’re taking that stuff back to.” So he’s really made a decision that he’s going to find out where they’re from, and that’s what he does. So then from that very moment that they catch up to him, he’s like, “I’m definitely going to find out where these guys are from.”
As comic fans know, MUCH later after the character’s introduction, there’s a bedroom scene that suddenly threw this zombie-slaying ninja into a new light. And last night’s episode ended with a particularly awkward bedroom scene. Apparently, there was a suggestion that these two sequences connect– a suggestion that Payne dismissed with a laugh.
Discussing the weirdness of shooting that scene, the actor says:
“Well, that was another really difficult thing because yeah, I mean, I need to start working with these people, and then they’re jumping out of bed in front of me, and the director [Kari Skogland] was like, “You should look Andrew up and down, and go ‘Oh my God’ and then give a little smile and then say your line.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me right now?” [Laughs]
Even though the show freely deviates from the source material, it’s pretty much a given that Jesus should play a major role in the final six episodes of Season Six. Whether his TV journey is exactly the same as his comic book one… well, it probably won’t be.
For now, are you intrigued by Paul Monroe Rovia’s introduction? Will this spell promise or destruction for the inhabitants of Alexandria? What did he mean with the line “Your world’s about to get a whole lot bigger?”
Source: Entertainment Weekly