If there’s one thing that’s for sure about “The Walking Dead,” it’s that nothing is really for sure — the seventh season of the AMC series is a perfect example of that. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) has spun quite a web of lies, intimidation and blood, leaving nearly every other character on the series stuck between wanting to kill him and fearing for their own lives.
This includes Jesus (Tom Payne), who is seemingly on a journey all his own. Payne stopped by the Screener offices to talk about the “Walking Dead” midseason finale — but as you can guess based on how secretive AMC is about all details of the show, there’s only so much he can reveal.
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“You can say something, and you haven’t let anything out of the bag — but people think you have,” he admits. “People pore over every single thing you say.”
He was able to share the mindset of his character heading into the finale, though: “He was doing what Sasha asked him to do. He was checking out where the Sanctuary was, and seeing what the deal was with the place, and how many people they have — all that kind of stuff — exactly how he did Alexandria when he got there first,” Payne teases. “The last time you saw him, when he was on top of the truck and then he wasn’t on top of the truck, you might notice that Daryl saw him.”
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From there, Payne says, “Jesus made a decision that maybe he’s not going to stay with the truck.”
Where he goes from there is uncertain but given that his orders came directly from Sasha (Sonequa Martin), it’s quite likely that he’ll report back to Hilltop with his findings. There’s nothing Sasha and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) want more than to destroy Negan — and if they know where he’s at, that makes it all the easier.
…At least it would if Negan were in the Sanctuary. Instead, he’s off seeing the countryside with Carl (Chandler Riggs).
The younger Grimes was able to get one over on Jesus as the two stowed away in Negan’s truck, but that won’t necessarily cause any ill will between them.
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“He’s not going to treat anyone like a child,” Payne says. “In this world that we live in in the show, everyone is older than they appear because they had to grow up pretty fast.” Besides, as the actor explains, he has bigger fish to fry in terms of Negan and what’s happening in his own community of Hilltop after Gregory (Xander Berkeley) was ousted.
“In his scouting he was always looking for different groups and different people who could help,” Payne says. “I think when Maggie and Sasha arrived and are living at Hilltop, he saw a different way forward and is willing to push that in the direction that it should be going.”
And if war with Negan is indeed the direction Hilltop is going, Maggie and Sasha — not a “coward” like Gregory — are definitely the two you want leading the charge.
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“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.