‘The Walking Dead’ Season 9 Mid-Season Finale: Star Speaks Out About Untimely Death

The star is glad their character got a 'really cool ending,' disappointed at a lack of character development, though.

Tom Payne as Jesus Rovia hidden in the forest
James Minchin III / AMC

The star is glad their character got a 'really cool ending,' disappointed at a lack of character development, though.

The mid-season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 9 saw the untimely death of a character. Now, the star reveals how they felt about that death.

SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses the mid-season finale episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 9. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed this episode and wish to avoid spoilers.

Episode 8 (titled “Evolution”) delved into the notion that the walkers were evolving. This led to a group, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Aaron (Ross Marquand), and Jesus (Tom Payne) heading out to search for the missing Eugene (Josh McDermitt). Once they had located him, they attempted to flee from the herd that was following them and ended up in a cemetery. It is at this point that Jesus gets killed by one of these strange walkers and it is revealed that walkers are not evolving but that a group of people is concealing themselves in walker skins.

Jesus’ death was a shocking one that many fans never expected — even those that read the comics. However, for the actor who plays Jesus, there was a reason he was happy to bow out of The Walking Dead.

When interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter, Tom Payne revealed that he was happy to see the death of his character on account of the fact that Jesus has been underutilized in the series.

“I know a lot of people are going to be bummed about it, but I’ve been bummed for the last two years, that the character hasn’t gotten as much cool stuff [on the show] as he has in the comic books.”

Jesus fights walkers in a cemetery
  Gene Page / AMC

When asked to elaborate on how his character was underutilized in the series, he was happy to elaborate.

“I was very frustrated with what the character had been doing. He arrived in a very cool way, and then he floundered at the Hilltop. During the war with the Saviors, the only person he had a fight with was a man who was on his side [in Lennie James’ Morgan]. In the comics, he has this massive fight with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). He catches a grenade and throws it back [at his enemies]. He’s the most capable member of the entire group! And he wasn’t used at all [on the show]. In the background, I was training every single week. I was ready and raring to go. You can’t help but feel a little bit despondent when you’re not released to do some cool stuff.”

While Tom may have been disappointed with his character’s lack of story involvement in the TV series, he was happy with the way his character was written out of the hit zombie apocalypse series.

“They gave me a really cool ending, and I’m happy with that,” Payne revealed to THR.

Tom was also thankful to have been involved with a series such as The Walking Dead. And, while he was okay with his character dying, he was also disappointed that it happened at this point in the series, as in the comic books, this is when Jesus does see more action.

Season 9 of AMC’s The Walking Dead will return in 2019.