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Paul Rovia, more commonly referred to as "Jesus" by his companions, is a main character and a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead. He is a recruiter and a supply runner for the Hilltop Colony.
Paul is described as smart, friendly and charming with a puckish sence of humor. It is stated that he can be a thief, but he'll only steal half of what someone has, and only if he knows it won't cause any permanent damage. He's generally shown to be a beloved guy and he pretty much makes friends with everyone he meets.
Little is known about Paul's life prior to the outbreak other than he was an orphaned child who grew up in shared housing. All his life he grew up around people, but found a hard time connecting with others. He also is gay, but still had trouble connecting with friends and boyfriends.
He still managed to gather friends and he received the nickname "Jesus" due to his stereotypical Western resemblance to the religious figure Jesus Christ. It is possible that he trained in one or more forms of martial arts as proven by his skill in hand-to-hand combat. He also appeared to have learnt the art of pickpocketing and escapology (as demonstrated by him being able to easily break free of his knot restrains twice).
At some point after the outbreak, Paul journeyed to a safe zone named the Hilltop Colony upon where he settled into and thus became effectively integrated with the fellow residents of the community. Paul quickly befriended the community leader Gregory and the two developed a working partnership and thus he proved to become an invaluable member of the farming community.
Benefitting from his abilities and experience, Paul was appointed as the community's recruiter where he was assigned to scavenge for supplies as well as to locate other communities and settlements to trade with in order to establish a network to help contribute towards the Hilltop Colony in order to help maintain and prosper throughout the apocalypse.
Paul was present at the time of the arrival of a notorious group named "The Saviors" who operated on behalf of a man named Negan. During a meeting conducted by Gregory alongside a dispatched squadron, The Saviors demanded half of the Hilltop Colony's supplies in exchange for leaving the farming community unscathed. Though initially reluctant to agree, they eventually complied after witnessing the public execution of Rory, a 16-year-old resident of the community.
Following this event, the Hilltop Colony entered into a period of dread and subjugation and thus were forced to comply under Negan's corrupt rule, as a result of their limited resources and manpower they were unable to rebel against their save oppressors. Throughout the following months, Paul alongside the other residents begrudgingly worked to gather supplies in their desperate struggle in order to compensate with Negan's demands.
Jesus is first seen running into Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon where he is held at gunpoint by the pair. He tells them that he was being chased by walkers and they are following him closely. After a brief and tense introduction, gunshots can be heard, prompting Rick and Daryl to investigate. However, upon finding out that that it was just firecrackers, they soon realized it was a ruse that allowed Jesus to steal Rick's keys and make off with the truck of supplies.
After a long run, Rick and Daryl are able to track him down, bind him, and win back the food truck. As they approach a small farm, they realize that Jesus is on top of the truck. When Rick slams the brake pedal, he falls onto the front of the truck. He then tries to escape as Daryl chases after him, Rick killing the nearby walkers. As Jesus and Daryl scuffle inside the truck, a walker emerges behind Daryl. He tells Daryl to duck, which he does, and shoots the walker, saving him. As they continue to fight for the food truck, Jesus accidentally releases the emergency brake and the vehicle rolls into a nearby pond and sinks. As the truck is falling into the pond, the door hits Jesus and knocks him out cold. Daryl suggests that they leave him behind. But Rick points out that Jesus saved Daryl and he begrudgingly agrees.
Later on, he is sitting in the back, tied up as Daryl guards him and Rick drives them back to Alexandria.
They carry him to the infirmary and let Denise check him out. He is later brought to the townhouse basement where Rick and Daryl leave water and a note next to his unconscious body. When Rick and Michonne are lying naked in their bed, Jesus walks into the room and tells Rick to wake up. As Rick and Michonne leap up and grab their weapons, Jesus says, "We should talk."
In Rick's house, Jesus waits for Michonne and Rick to get dressed. Rick's son Carl discovers Jesus and points a gun at his head as the others arrive. Michonne and Rick emerge from the bedroom and assures everyone that Jesus just wants to talk.
Jesus tells Rick's group that he's part of a community that raises livestock and crops, and his job is to search for other settlements with whom to open trade. He offers to take them to his community, the Hilltop, to prove he is telling the truth. Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Glenn Rhee, Maggie Greene, and Abraham Ford board the community's RV with Jesus.
Rick slows the motor home as they approach an overturned car. Jesus recognizes it as belonging to the Hilltop and desperately begins searching the wreckage for his people. The group finds four of Jesus' people, one of whom is injured. Freddie, one of the newcomers, tells Jesus that he saw a vision of his dead wife when he thought he was going to die. The motor home gets stuck in mud, forcing the group to disembark. Jesus points ahead to a massive wall. "That's the Hilltop," he says.
Jesus leads the group to the main gate, where spear-wielding guards order Rick's group to disarm. Jesus tells Rick they can keep their guns and confides that his community ran out of ammo months ago. The gates open, revealing a large manor house and a farming community inside. Jesus explains that the house was once a living history museum. Jesus takes the group inside, where they meet Gregory, the community's leader. Gregory orders Rick's group to clean up before meeting with him. Jesus assures Rick and Daryl that he can convince Gregory to make a fair trade. They hear a commotion outside. "They're back," a resident tells Gregory.
When Ethan comes back from a mission to Negan, Ethan stabs Gregory in the gut and Rick kills him. Jesus calms astonished residents by pointing out that Ethan initiated the bloodshed. In the library, Jesus explains that Negan is the head of a group called the Saviors, who agreed not to attack the Hilltop in exchange for half of their supplies. Rick's group offers to rescue Craig and wipe out the Saviors in exchange for food, medicine and supplies. Jesus agrees to take the offer to Gregory. Later, Jesus reports that Gregory wants to discuss the offer with Maggie.
Jesus is first seen in the church in Alexandria as Rick tries to convince the Alexandrians that they need to fight against the Saviors.
On the road, Jesus and Andy are trying to decide which of three decapitated walker heads that they have collected, as part of their plan to fool the Saviors, looks most like Gregory. Jesus picks a head but remarks that Gregory's nose is slightly different. Rick grabs the head and pummels the nose as Jesus and Andy watch in shock, figuring Andy can tell the Saviors that he broke Gregory's nose in a struggle. Andy remarks to Rick that "the Saviors, they're scary, but those pricks got nothing on you."
Later, Jesus, Gabriel Stokes, Tara Chambler, Andy, and Craig wait outside in a car. Jesus listens as Tara confesses to Gabriel that she told her girlfriend Denise Cloyd that she loved her, but only did so to hide her misgivings about their mission to kill the Saviors. Jesus asks Tara if she does love Denise, to which Tara says she does. "So you know what you're fighting for," Jesus says.
When the alarm inside the Saviors base is activated, Tara says that they need to get back to the Hilltop so that the deal is still on. Jesus declines and sends Andy and Craig back to the Hilltop alone, staying behind to help the others. Once inside, he shoots a weakened Savior, saving Glenn and Heath. “So this is the next world,” Jesus comments.
Jesus approaches to Maggie and Sasha to where Glenn and Abraham are buried and places flowers on the graves. Gregory arrives and demands to know why Maggie’s people didn’t wipe out all The Saviors, and whether they know about his deal with Rick. He tells Maggie and Sasha to burn Glenn and Abraham’s bodies and orders them to leave The Hilltop by morning. Gregory tells Jesus that if they leave, he has plausible deniability, and The Saviors won’t think they colluded to take down their outpost.
Sasha makes her bed in Jesus’s trailer, where she and Maggie are staying the night. She asks Jesus to change Gregory’s mind and offers to earn Maggie’s keep by scavenging for The Hilltop. Jesus gives her Abraham’s brake light necklace. Maggie asks Jesus why Hilltop residents burn their dead -- “What do you have to remember them by?” Jesus simply says, “Us.” The Saviors secretly leads walkers flooding in through the front gate, drawn by the music, Jesus helps Sasha and Maggie kill walkers. When they arrive with Simon leading them, Gregory tells Jesus to hide Maggie and Sasha in the foyer closet, however Jesus secretly hides them in his closet. Jesus watches as Gregory leads Simon to the clost, he finds boxes of scotch. Simon says Negan will be pleased and orders a nearby Savior to put the liquor in Negan's truck. On his way out, Simon orders Gregory to kneel, which he does with little resistance. He and the Saviors leave.
He releases Maggie and Sasha from Gregory’s bedroom closet. Gregory yells at Jesus for hiding them there instead of the foyer closet. Jesus stands up to Gregory and forces him to let Maggie and Sasha stay. Jesus threatens to reveal Gregory’s deal with Alexandria, stripping him of his plausible deniability. Suddenly, Maggie punches Gregory in the face, reaches into his pocket and takes Glenn’s watch, which Gregory stole from the grave.
Jesus tells Maggie and Sasha that initially, he couldn’t imagine anyone but Gregory running The Hilltop. “I can now,” he says cryptically. Maggie leaves. Sasha asks Jesus to find out where Negan lives, but to keep it a secret from Maggie. Jesus agrees to follow the truck that’s heading back to The Saviors’ compound.
The Saviors leave The Hilltop. Jesus sneaks into the truck that’s bound for their compound. He hears a voice say, “Hey,” and looks towards the back of the truck to see Carl peeking out from behind some boxes.
Jesus and Carl emerge from their hiding spots in the back of the cargo truck. Jesus pours syrup on the ground behind the truck, leaving a trail. He proposes they jump out of the moving truck and follow on foot. Carl is hesitant and asks Jesus to show him how it’s done. Jesus leaps out; he sees Carl waving goodbye, from the truck, and realizes he’s been played. Negan and Carl prepare to leave in the cargo truck. On their way out, Jesus is shown hiding on top of the truck and stays behind at the compound.
Jesus finds Daryl in the midst of bashing in Fat Joey’s head. Daryl grabs Joey’s gun (Rick’s Colt Python) and hops on a motorcycle. Daryl and Jesus leave the compound. Rick, Michonne, Carl, Rosita and Tara enter the Hilltop and reunite with Maggie, Sasha and Enid. Daryl and Jesus come out to greet them. Daryl gives Rick the gun he retrieved from Fat Joey. Together, they stride towards the mansion.
Jesus is seen with Rick and the others in the Hilltop mansion, trying to get Gregory to join the fight against the Saviors. Jesus even calls out Gregory, sarcastically calling him brave. After Gregory decides not to help, Jesus and the others learn Enid had been asking Hilltop members to join the fight, to which they decided to do. Jesus reveals to them a long-range walkie-talkie stolen from the Saviors; they can listen in and hear if Negan dispatches his men to Alexandria
Afterwords, Jesus then decides to take Rick and the group to the Kingdom, to meet Ezekiel. He leads them to the outskirts of the Kingdom, where they are greeted by Richard and Alvaro. Jesus makes introductions and explains that they have similar interests. After some hesitation, Richard invites them to follow him. Richard, assuming Rick is interested in becoming a trade partner, confides in Jesus. He stresses their need to battle the Saviors. Jesus assures Richard that he has good news.
When taken in to meet Ezekiel, he is happy to see Jesus and asks if Rick and his friends are new allies, he says they are. Jesus introduces him to Rick and requests Ezekiel to join in on Rick's plan to fight the Saviors, which Ezekiel ponders heavily. Ezekiel reprimands Jesus for telling Rick about his deal with the Saviors. They plead their case; in the process, Richard urges Ezekiel to fight the Saviors before things get worse. However, Ezekiel is reluctant to violate the peace he holds with the Saviors and refuses the offer, but he offers asylum in the Kingdom to Daryl. Jesus and the others leave, while Daryl stays at the Kingdom. On their way back to Hilltop, they encounter a group of cars blocking the road with a wire that, when pushed, will set off explosives, set by the Saviors. Jesus and the others are able to disarm the explosives, but when walkers close in on them and Saviors heading to Alexandria, Jesus and Sasha were told to head back to Hilltop on foot by Rick.
Jesus and Maggie work on plans for the future of the community. Gradually, the people of Hilltop begin to look to her as a leader as she gives residents knife-throwing lessons, in preparation for the war against the Saviors. In Jesus’ trailer, Maggie falls asleep while working at the kitchen table. Jesus hands Sasha his map of Negan’s compound.
Maggie apologizes to Jesus for taking over his trailer. Having grown up in a group home, it doesn't bother him. With Maggie, Sasha and Enid, he feels close to people for the first time. Maggie leaves to speak with the blacksmith about making spears they can trade with the Kingdom for body armor.
Jesus and Enid catches Sasha taking some bullets hidden in a book. Jesus allows her to take the bullets, but he begs Sasha to delay her mission until more people can join her, however Sasha refuses. Jesus doesn't stop her and leaves. Enid warns Sasha that she’s going to tell Maggie what’s going on, but she’ll give Sasha a ten-minute head start. Outside, Kal warns everyone that the Saviors are coming.
Jesus watches as the Saviors leave with Harlan Carson. Gregory, who allowed them to take him, shifts around uncomfortably, sensing their disappointment.
Gregory summons Jesus to his office and hands him job assignments for the newcomers. Jesus accuses Gregory of letting the Saviors take Dr. Carson and splitting up groups to protect himself. Gregory warns Jesus against talking back to him. Gregory says he’s realized they’re no longer friends.
As Jesus leaves, Daryl suddenly appears to him, asking where Sasha and Rosita are.
After Tara tells Rick about the arsenal at Oceanside, they lead a group of Alexandrians to the distant community. Jesus joins alongside them in order to acquire the guns and people to win the war against the Saviors.
Jesus voices his regrets to Daryl about Rosita and Sasha, chastising himself for not stopping their attack against Negan. Daryl assures Jesus that Sasha is a good shot and guesses that they could be back at the Hilltop.
Later, Rick’s group sets off the explosives near the Oceanside walls. Jesus and Daryl capture Beatrice and Kathy as the other residents flee. They are able to round up the residents and Rick assures them that he doesn’t plan to hurt anyone but they have something they need. Natania appears, holding Tara at gunpoint. Cyndie tells her people that Rick’s group wants to fight the Saviors. Beatrice suggests they join the fight but Natania refuses to lose more people to the Saviors.
Michonne warns Rick that walkers are approaching. Jesus along with Rick’s group and the Oceansiders work together and take down the walkers. Beatrice hands Rick his knife back and they shake hands. Natania angrily concedes and allows Rick’s group to take their guns but she remains unconvinced that they won’t fight.
Rick’s group returns to Alexandria late at night. Rosita opens the gate for them. Jesus asks about Sasha's whereabouts, but Rosita doesn't answer and tells them there is someone there to see them.
Rosita leads the group to the jail, where Dwight is being held. Daryl charges at him but is held back by Rick and Michonne as Rosita insists he wants to help them.
Jesus is with the group interrogating Dwight in the prison cell, Rosita announces that the Saviors have Sasha. She says that she doesn’t trust Dwight, but Jesus reasons he may be their only chance to get Sasha back.
Jesus reviews Rick’s plan with Maggie and Enid as they watch over Judith. She considers their options and contemplates joining the fight at Alexandria. Jesus remarks that he's happy she is the one making the tough decisions, as Gregory is noticeably absent. Enid places Glenn’s pocket watch in her hand as she leaves the room with Judith.
Jesus arrives with Maggie and the Hilltop fighters just in time to join the fight against the Saviors alongside The Kingdom, gunning down Saviors that was about to kill Rick. Maggie yells orders to the fighters as Negan notices she is alive and well.
After the Saviors and the Scavengers have fled, Maggie and Jesus track Sasha down in the woods. Jesus pins her down and Maggie’s eyes fill with tears as she puts her down for good. He later attends her funeral.
Jesus is present when Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel stand on a podium and address the crowd as the leaders of their respective communities: Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom, united and ready for an all out war.
Jesus will appear in this Season.
This list shows the victims Paul has killed:
- "No, not this guy."
- —Rick about bringing Paul back with them to Alexandria.[src]
The next day, Jesus escapes and tells Rick that "they need to talk". Jesus informs Rick and the group about the Hilltop, another community. Rick trusts him and he and some of the group go to the Hilltop with Jesus.
Rick shows great trust in Jesus, even though it is shown that Rick is nearly always distrustful of people after encountering hostiles such as the Governor and the Terminus. Rick and Jesus have a stable relationship.
- "So long, ya prick!"
- —Daryl to Paul after leaving him on the side of the road.[src]
It can be assumed Jesus and Daryl have a stable relationship, since Jesus has helped the group, and vice versa.
In "Hearts Still Beating", Jesus sees Daryl ,who escaped The Sanctuary with Sherry's help, bashing Fat Joey's head in with a pipe. Jesus seems a bit stressed at first, but then realizes that it had to be done.
- "Gregory's not exactly good at confrontation, he's not the leader I would have chosen but he helped make this place what it is ... and the people like him."
- —Paul describing Gregory.[src]
While not much has been shown of Gregory and Jesus' relationship, it can be assumed Jesus has concerns regarding what direction Gregory is taking the Hilltop community. In Go Getters, Paul questions Gregory's leadership and threatens that he would tell the rest of the community about his deal with Alexandria.
Jesus and Negan have not shared any on screen time yet, however it is clear that Jesus dislikes Negan because of the actions of him and his men. He was also willing to kill his men in order for him to stop demanding supplies and possibly killing more people from Hilltop, albeit secretly to avoid Hilltop getting the blame.
Jesus, along with Andy, were determined to save Craig from the Saviors. Jesus is relieved when they rescue him.
- "So, you know what you're fighting for."
- —Jesus to Tara about Denise[src]
Jesus shows to trust Sasha and values her pressence at Hilltop, along with Maggie. He even shows sympathy for her after her boyfriend, Abraham Ford, was killed by Negan. The two are seen working together to take out a group of walkers that were lured into Hilltop by the Saviors lead by Simon. Later on, Jesus is sent by Sasha to sneak into a Savior truck and find out where their main base is.
Jesus shows to care for Maggie very much. At first, Maggie did not trust Jesus, but after seeing the Hilltop and him not pulling anything against her people, she begins to trust him. When Gregory requests to speak to Maggie, Jesus apologizes to her about Gregory's behavior and warns her of how much of a prick Gregory is. After Maggie's husband, Glenn Rhee, was killed by Negan, Jesus shows sympathy and does what he can for her. When Saviors let walkers into Hilltop, Jesus is sent down to help Sasha by order of Maggie, though he likely would've helped out Sasha without Maggie's order. Later on, Jesus notices how much Maggie has been helping out Hilltop and thinks to himself how she could replace Gregory as leader.
At first, Jesus was not trusted by Carl, with him raising a gun on Jesus. However, Carl started to trust him. When Jesus snuck into a Savior truck that was going to the Sanctuary, he noticed Carl in the truck and gave him a smile. When they were getting close to the Sanctuary, Jesus believed they should jump out, with him doing so, while Carl stayed behind to personally kill Negan.
Jesus and Ezekiel have shown to be good friends, both making deals with each other before the Saviors, however Ezekiel reprimands Jesus for telling Rick about his deal with the Saviors.
- "You know, Richard, I've never seen you smile. I think that's gonna change today."
- —Jesus to Richard[src]
Jesus and Richard are shown to trust one another. Jesus is aware of Richard's immense hatred for the Saviors, and hoped to surprise him with Rick Grimes' plan to take out the Saviors.
- The casting call for this character was Jason.
- Unlike his comic book counterpart, Paul does not possess the surname "Monroe"
- Despite the last name change, Tom Payne said he considers Monroe to be Jesus' last name, and he understands fans being upset about the last name change.
- Paul prefers the nickname, "Jesus", as his friends at the Hilltop Colony call him that. This is due to his uncanny resemblance of Jesus Christ not only in appearance, but in behavior.
- Tom Payne on Jesus possibly being gay on the show: "What I find interesting from the comics is that it's not a big deal. He just is who he is. And I enjoy the fact that in the show, they want to do right by the characters. So, um... you'll find out! What I will say is that the showrunners and everyone who works at the show respect the vision of the characters. We haven't gotten to that aspect of the character, but I think everyone will be happy."
- Robert Kirkman confirmed in Letterhacks #162 that Jesus is indeed gay on the show. This makes him the sixth LGBT character alongside Tara, Alisha, Aaron, Eric, and Denise being the third known gay male.
- It was officially confirmed in "The Other Side" that he had trouble getting close to most people, including boyfriends.
- In the original script of "The Next World", Jesus drops down into a horse stance, but the writers decided that they shouldn't give up that he's a super capable fighter. They instead worked on evasion techniques.