If you haven’t yet seen the episode, you are where you do not belong.
Just a few weeks after Rick Grimes left the show, “The Walking Dead” went ahead and got rid of another main character at the end of this past Sunday night’s mid-season finale. I’m of course talking about actor Tom Payne’s Paul “Jesus” Monroe, who arrived on the scene back in Season 6. Jesus was stabbed in the back by one of the Whisperers, and yes he is indeed dead.
In a chat with THR following the episode’s premiere last night, Payne revealed that he wasn’t sad to leave the show. In fact, he had long been unhappy about the handling of Jesus.
“I know people will be disappointed and shocked,” Payne told the site. “But I’m happy. I’ve been bummed for the last two years, that the character hasn’t gotten as much cool stuff as he has in the comic books. They gave me a really cool ending, and I’m happy with that.”
He continued, “They were aware I wouldn’t be unhappy if they got rid of me. I expressed unhappiness last season. 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 (Morgan). In the comics, he has this massive fight with Negan. 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. It was mutual and they knew I would be OK with it.”
“It’s an amazing show and I was so honored to be a part of it, but at the same time, being the same character without anything fun to do is a bit frustrating.”
Like many characters, Jesus was indeed under-utilized over the years, so it’s not hard to understand why Payne had grown frustrated with the gig. With Rick now gone as the series’ main character, the show has an opportunity to dig more into characters whose stories had long been secondary to his, so here’s hoping lessons were learned from Payne’s frustrations.