‘The Walking Dead’ Introduces Surprising Romance

Following a six-year time skip on The Walking Dead, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) are now a couple.

The surprising romance was revealed in Sunday's 906, "Who Are You Now?," the first episode in the post-Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) era.

This new coupling marks the second for the Episcopalian priest, who earlier this season established a brief dalliance with Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), formerly Jadis, who has since disappeared. Gabriel is the latest romantic partner for Rosita, who in the past was linked to Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Spencer (Austin Nichols).

Pairing Rosita and Gabriel is another switch up from creator Robert Kirkman's comic book series, where Gabriel was never linked with another character romantically. Following Abraham's death, Rosita of the comics later developed a romance with Eugene and ended up pregnant following a fling with Siddiq.

McDermitt hinted the show would alter the Eugene-Rosita coupling during Walker Stalker Con Atlanta in October, saying the show is "not always by the book."

"So, it's not just like, 'We're gonna make it bigger and better.' ... If we're gonna see anything from the comics between Rosita and Eugene it's gonna be some of these larger themes that we're seeing in the comics," McDermitt said.

"I wouldn't say it's gonna be XYZ and how it plays out but what are they feeling, what are the emotions from it? ... That's all up to you and how you interpret the comics."

Despite frequent deviations from the book, the new couple could be short-lived: 906 appeared to set up a particularly tragic turn of events from the comics, which also contained a gruesome fate for one of the two characters involved — a major turning point expected to play out in the television show.

Gabsita is the latest coupling to reach the series in Season Nine, following new romances for Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and Nabila (Nadine Marissa), and Magna (Nadia Hilkes) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), who were fully introduced in Sunday's episode.

The Walking Dead premieres new episodes of Season Nine Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.