Warning: comic book spoilers regarding new television character “Jesus.”
The second half of Season 6 has started off with arguably some of the show’s best episodes to date. Sunday night’s episode, “The Next World” was no exception. The story jumped ahead a few months in the plot (which was likely needed since the first half of Season 6 only occurred over a 48 hour span), but where we ended up this week was nothing short of refreshing. We see the group in a better place, seemingly happy, and away from danger – although there is an apparent lack of food. Then the first “danger” in the episode came in the form of Paul Rovia, aka Jesus, portrayed by British actor Tom Payne.
It wasn’t surprising to hear that fans of the show who are unfamiliar with the comics are skeptical of this latest character. After all, he did make his entrance by nearly tackling Rick to the ground. His character further tainted viewers’ opinions when we see him engaging in a back and forth (relatively non-violent) battle with Rick and Daryl for the truck full of supplies.
Fortunately fans of the comics know that Jesus is actually a good guy, and we are about to reach a huge turning point in the show with his arrival.
So, who is Jesus?
First, his real name in the comics is Paul Monroe, but as he so eloquently stated in the show, his friends call him “Jesus” because of the way he looks. In the show his formal name is Paul Rovia. So what’s up with the change? It’s likely that the writers thought the last name “Monroe” might confuse viewers, since we just encounter a large group of Monroes (Deanna, Reg, Aidan, and Spencer) in the Alexandria Safe Zone. Either way, it’s likely to have any importance in the story since it didn’t serve any purpose in the comics – other than to confuse people.
Where did he come from?
Well, viewers of the show don’t know this quite yet. But comic readers know that Jesus hails from the Hilltop Colony. He’s a recruiter for the Hilltop (think Aaron from the Safe Zone), a group of roughly 200 survivors. Based on next week’s preview, it appears Rick and co will quickly realize they aren’t the only survivors in the surrounding D.C. area.
What should we know about him?
Jesus differs from most survivors in that he relies heavily on logic and cleverness. Our survivors themselves are clever, but Jesus holds a very unique way of thinking. If you’ve read the comics, you’ll know exactly what is meant by this.
Jesus also does not carry a weapon, and uses strictly martial arts skills to battle adversaries. In Sunday’s episode, we witnessed little pieces of his combat skills, as well as his cleverness when he was able to easily escape his ropes and make his way to the top of the truck without Rick or Daryl knowing. It’s also speculated that Jesus faked his injury so that Rick and Daryl would take him back to wherever they come from. This partially explains why Jesus ends up in Rick’s bedroom at the end of the episode.
Who did it better: the comics or the show?
In the comic books, Jesus subdues Michonne and Abraham outside the Safe Zone and requests the presence of their leader. In a meeting up Rick, Jesus wants to set up trade communications between the two groups. Being the person that Rick is, he knocks out Jesus by kicking him in the head – after which, he takes Jesus prisoner until he’s able to find out more about him.
It’s likely they changed up this story line in the show since Rick is supposed to be a little bit more “peace loving” now. The show has also done the whole “Rick doesn’t trust anyone” shtick multiple times, so it was refreshing to see a different interpretation of the source material.
What should we expect in the show?
This is hard to tell. From what we could see in “The Next World”, Jesus has matched a lot of qualities he holds in the comic series. His combat skills, quick thinking, and overall demeanor proved to hold true to the comics. However, we’ve only seen him in one episode. It’s looking very likely that Rick will ask Jesus to join their group, as he is clearly an asset. But, we will just have to wait and see where the show takes his character. It’s clear we haven’t seen the last of him. One thing is for sure – the introduction of Jesus marks the expansion of The Walking Dead universe as fans know it. Prepare for more survivors, more established communities, and even more drama.
What did you think of Tom Payne’s rendition of Jesus? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below.
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