Though The Walking Dead hasn’t always been known for its diversity and inclusion, that has changed dramatically since the early seasons of the series. In the apocalypse now, the world of The Walking Dead mirrors our own: There are as many women as men, and the composition of the cast is strikingly diverse; showrunner Angela Kang even brought in Lauren Ridloff this season, who is deaf and plays a deaf character on the series. The nice thing about The Walking Dead is that so many people are represented now that when we turn on our television screens, more people can look up and see people like themselves … being killed off in dramatic fashion. Representation matters, even when it comes to brutal or heartbreaking deaths.
Low-key, however, The Walking Dead has also presented in its world a lot of inclusive, progressive relationships. With a cast this diverse, interracial couples are a given. There was Maggie and Glenn, and then Rick and Michonne, and now Ezekiel and Carol. In fact, as Forbes pointed out this week, every single relationship on The Walking Dead is now interracial or LGBT, and with a cast this large, that is extraordinary, all the more so because the show never highlights this. It’s just the way it is. (Alas, this streak will likely be broken up by a relationship that Henry — of all people — develops in the next few episodes).
In this week’s episode, “Stradivarius,” the series also teased another potential forthcoming romantic relationship on the series, and the fact that it’s not a big deal is to its credit. But yes: The excursions out into the forest that Aaron from Alexandria and Jesus from The Hilltop have been making to see each other is almost certainly more than just about Jesus teaching Aaron to fight.
In the comics, at least, that relationship doesn’t become explicit for another season or season and a half, when Rick asks Aaron to join him for a trip to Ohio (to the Commonwealth). It creates and awkward but sweet moment.
If their relationship plays out like the comics, however, expect at least another full season of sexual tension before the two announce their relationship. After losing Eric last season, however, Aaron deserves happiness, while Jesus has long been the most eligible bachelor on the show not named Daryl.