At the end of one of the most depressing episodes “The Walking Dead” has ever aired, the AMC series finally gave its survivors some hope on Sunday (Feb. 15). A well-dressed, self-identified “friend” named Aaron (Ross Marquand) arrives and tells Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) he has “good news.” Fortunately for the survivors, this isn’t Terminus 2.0.
Aaron’s arrival has been telegraphed for a while, though fans might not have known it. Before Season 5 premiered, EP Scott Gimple confirmed that a gay character would be introduced. Though the TV show hasn’t revealed it yet, Aaron is that character, and in the comics he is in a committed relationship with his work partner Eric.
Yes, “work partner” — there are still jobs left in this post-zombie apocalypse world. Aaron hails from a community known as the Alexandria Safe-Zone, which is a major location from “The Walking Dead” comics. He works as a recruiter, which explains why he is out wandering around looking for groups of people and well-acquainted with “stranger danger” fears.
Fortunately for Rick and his group, the Alexandria Safe-Zone stays true to its name. The “good news” Aaron likely has to share is that they’ll be invited for a chance to join the community, which is set up in a few blocks of cleared streets in Alexandria, Va.
Considering all the loss the group has faced recently they probably won’t be quick to trust Aaron, but despite a fraught journey to come, the Alexandria Safe-Zone is certainly in the show’s future. In the comics, Rick and the group live here for three years — the longest that they last in any of their makeshift homes.
Of course, the journey to the Alexandra Safe-Zone also heralds the inevitable arrival of Negan, “The Walking Dead’s” biggest bad to date. But regardless of future traumatic events to come, it will be nice for the series to get off the road for a while — and give everyone a shower.