‘The Walking Dead’ Just Introduced a Surprising New Romance

The Walking Dead 902, ‘The Bridge,’ introduced the series’ newest coupling: Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh).

Gabriel and Anne, formerly Scavenger leader Jadis, have grown close over the 18-month time jump since Anne was urged to join the community at the behest of the departing Morgan (Lennie James). Their relationship grows romantic when the pair are put on watch together out in the woods, where they have sex.

The steamy encounter is allowed, Gabriel says, because he’s Episcopalian.

Both Gabriel and Anne have been on the receiving end of suspicious glances: before he was fully embraced by the Alexandrians and became a trusted confidant and ally of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Gabriel was viewed as untrustworthy and selfish when he was a redemption-seeking coward who had allowed his congregation to be consumed by walkers in an act of self-preservation.

Anne similarly has encountered mistrust because of her shady dealings as Jadis, who once held both Rick and Gabriel captive — with the intention of trading them off — and who once double-crossed Alexandria during a standoff with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors.

“I think Father Gabriel and Anne are similar characters in some sense,” Gilliam told ComicBook.com.

“They can recognize something in each other that’s kind of similar, I think, which could draw them to each other. As far as the rest of Father Gabriel’s relationships, I’m happy that Father Gabriel’s still alive!”

Gabriel and Anne — Annriel? Gabrianne? — is the latest romantic pairing out of The Walking Dead Season Nine, following the displays of affection from Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and girlfriend Nabila (Nadine Marissa), and the still-blossoming romance established between Carol (Melissa McBride) and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), who now share a happy and committed relationship.

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The priest has since gone blind in his right eye, the result of Gabriel’s season-long ailment from Season Eight. That season saw a sick and feverish Gabriel fighting for his life while a hapless prisoner of the Sanctuary, where he was forced to work as a worker bee in the servitude of Negan.

The Walking Dead Season Nine airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.