AMC's The Walking Dead has been praised for having one of the most culturally diverse casts on television, but aside from rumors about crossbow-wielding bad ass Darryl Dixon, the show has been slow to introduce an openly gay character. On the other, severed hand, the comic on which the show is based has had a couple gay characters, one of whom may have made his debut on last night's episode.
In the final minutes of "Them," a mysterious stranger named Aaron (Ross Marquand) -- who seems to know about Rick and his merry band of survivors -- arrives with some promising good news. Which is great since these last few episodes have been a festering bag of bummers.
In the comics, Aaron is a resident of the Alexandria Safe-Zone community, one of the last strongholds in the post-apocalyptic zombiescape. He and his boyfriend Eric worked as recruiters, vetting potential additions to the community before properly introducing them.
While clarifying Daryl's sexuality, TWD creator Robert Kirkman foreshadowed "a very prominenet gay character from the comics" debuting in the second half of the season. Sadly, my dreams of Jesus backflipping off a mountain of zombie corpses have been dashed for now, but Aaron (and presumably Eric) is a welcome addition to the show.
It'll be particularly interesting to see how they treat his sexuality, since in the comics it's not even a big thing. There are zombies trying to tear you limb from limb, after all. Still, back in the early days of The Walking Dead, there was only one black character, who almost immediately got an N-bomb dropped on him by a younger, less sensitive Daryl. Will this older, more caring Daryl Dixon care one way or another who this Aaron is as long as he doesn't pose a threat to the group?
As for Aaron, according to Marquand, up till now he's just been feeling out and whipping out in the shadows. "He's been following this group, whipping out his spy gear to some degree," the actor told EW. "He's been tracking the group for a while and getting a vibe from them and getting the dynamics of leadership from them and how they work together--and that's extremely important to him."
Marquand also promised that "A lot more is going to be revealed next week." So check out a preview of next week's episode, "The Distance":