‘The Walking Dead’ Season 9 Mid-Season Finale: Another Gay Character Is Killed Off

In a world where very few find happiness, for gay characters in the zombie apocalypse, their prospects are even bleaker.

Close up image of Tom Payne as Jesus Rovia
Victoria Will / AMC

In a world where very few find happiness, for gay characters in the zombie apocalypse, their prospects are even bleaker.

The mid-season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 9 saw the death of a much-loved gay character. And, for fans of the TV series, it seems the trope about burying your gays is still alive.

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.

There is a trope in the world of TV that sees the kiss of death to any gay character that finds themselves engaged in a relationship. Time and time again, characters that have revealed they are gay ultimately wind up dead once they find true happiness. And, for The Walking Dead Character, Jesus Rovia (Tom Payne), this appears true once more.

Previously, in The Walking Dead, other gay characters have also met an untimely death after being involved in relationships. Denise (Merritt Wever) was killed by an arrow in much the same way Abraham was in the comic books. This occurred after she had become romantically involved with Tara (Alanna Masterson). Aaron (Ross Marquand) also lost his boyfriend (Jordan Woods-Robinson) in a previous season of The Walking Dead.

For some viewers, the fact that Jesus was gay had been missed. Considering there was only one mention of Jesus’ sexual orientation in the entire series, then it was certainly something that could be easily overlooked. However, in the comic book series, on which the TV show is based, the fact that Jesus is gay is very obvious.

Tom Payne as Jesus Rovia and Ross Marquand as Aaron
  Gene Page / AMC

As for having a boyfriend, this was another thing that could have been easily missed. While not explicitly mentioned, the fact that Jesus and Aaron had been sneaking out to meet each other could indicate that something more was going on between the pair. In addition to this, the actor who plays Jesus has indicated that they were involved to some degree. While he doesn’t specifically indicate the pair was in a long-term relationship, he did suggest to the Hollywood Reporter that they might have hooked up over the six-year time jump that occurred recently in The Walking Dead.

“Maybe they did hook up once or twice in those six years,” Tom said.

While there may have been little opportunity to outwardly express Jesus’ sexuality, Tomy Payne was glad to have been a part of such an iconic gay role.

“It’s been so amazing to be a part of that community and to give visibility as a gay character on one of the biggest television shows ever. It was an amazing responsibility, and I was happy to take it on. But I was disappointed it wasn’t in there more. It wasn’t ever even explicitly mentioned. [Jesus’ sexual orientation] was just one scene with Lauren in Season 7. The right people picked up on it; they did recognize it. But you can find people who still don’t realize Jesus was gay. I think they could have been a bit more up front about that. While you’ve lost Jesus, you still have Aaron and Tara (Alanna Masterson), and now Magna (Nadia Hilker) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), so there’s still representation on the show. But it’s a shame. He was such a badass character. They could have made more of it. It’s really Robert Kirkman who was so amazing to do it in the comic books.”

As Tom mentions, there are still some gay characters left in The Walking Dead, so here’s hoping at least some of them get the happy ending they so richly deserve!

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