Showrunner Explains ‘The Walking Dead’s Newest Couple

The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang has revealed the reasoning behind the romantic pairing of new couple Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), formerly Jadis of the Scavengers.

“How we thought they would be drawn to each other is that they’re both a little odd, the two of them, but in the most delightful way,” Kang told EW.

“They both have an odd perspective on life and strange senses of humor. And we thought that was something that would be a draw. But they’re also both very strong in their own ways, and they’ve also been outsiders. And they’ve been outsiders that wronged people in the past, and they have guilt about that.”

Gabriel was at first begrudgingly accepted by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his pack of survivors when he was a traitorous coward who turned his back on his congregation, leaving them to die in the earliest days of the zombie apocalypse.

The priest has since earned Rick’s trust and become a valued member of the Alexandria community, but as Anne explained to him in 902, Gabriel is among the rare few who has embraced her after Rick and Morgan (Lennie James) reached out and welcomed her into the fold.

“And so, there were just a lot of things that made us go like, it’s such an unexpected couple, but let’s try it and see what happens,” Kang said. “And I just think that the two actors had a lot of fun playing those scenes. They play that chemistry very well.”

The coupling is the latest major pairing to reach The Walking Dead Season Nine, which also sees a blossoming serious relationship between Carol (Melissa McBride) and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), who now act as a familial unit with surrogate son Henry (Macsen Lintz). After scoffing at his proposal attempt in 901, Carol slipped on Ezekiel’s ring — but opted out of a corny speech.

“I think in the moment, Carol is allowing herself a little bit of joy,” Kang said.

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“She’s not a person that trusts easily, she doesn’t give her heart easily. But Ezekiel is a breath of fresh air in her world. He’s so different in terms of just the joy that he’s able to find. And she’s had so much darkness. And I think for someone who just is looking for a little peace in her life, he fills that void.”

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