Why Jadis means even more than you think on The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead's Season 7 finale presented a surprising ripple in the forthcoming war between Rick Grimes and Negan: Jadis. The character, commonly referred to as the Trash Queen by viewers, had secretly aligned with the other team and turned her weapons on the Alexandrians at a key moment during the standoff with the Saviors. The similarity between her name and Judas makes a lot of sense, now, doesn't it?

That act alone proved there was so much more to her than junkyard monsters and bad hairdos, and it opened the floodgate of possibilities as to what she and her Oscar the Grouch-style soldiers will get into when the show returns. Here's why Jadis may actually turn out to be way more important than any of us might have expected.

She doesn't appear in the comics

Although Jadis arrived as a quiet standout of The Walking Dead's seventh season–which, with so many new players coming into the fold this year, was quite a feat–she wasn't a character you'd find lurking in the pages of Robert Kirkman's comic series of the same name.

The closest thing to her is Derek, the leader of the Scavengers, who tries to attack Alexandria after meeting Rick and company and is really only a problem for them in that the Scavengers' vanquishment is loud enough to attract a bevy of walkers to the site, costing lives. Whereas Jadis played the part of an Alexandrian pseudo-ally, the comic Scavengers were pretty unmistakable in their villainy during their short-lived existence in the series.

She presents a ripple in the Richonne dynamic

There's no question that Jadis has shown she has the hots for Rick. There was a scene in the junkyard when she first eyed Rick and asked Michonne, "Yours?" which unquestionably indicated her interest in getting to know the good sheriff in the carnal sense. Now that she's let him down, quite literally speaking, by turning her gun on him during the big showdown with Negan, chances are, she won't be high on his freebie list, but who knows? If she sticks around long enough and the situation changes, she could try to insert herself between Rick and his leading lady yet again later on down the road. Weirder things have happened.

Her group's uniforms are significant

Actress Polyanna McIntosh told ComicBook.com there's more to their landfill clothing than might meet the eye. "We're not sitting about watching TV, so we've got a lot of time to deal with there and we've got a lot of sneaky ways and get what we need so why not make ourselves look a little matching," she explained.

Aside from the piecemeal aesthetic of her team's garbs, there was an obvious similarity between what Jadis and her team of junkyard lurkers wore and those items donned by Ezekiel's Kingdom. They were both wearing black, patchwork battle gear, and since clothes have proven to be mini-winks to a character's fate before (see also: Eastman's "save the terrapins" shirt proving his all-around peaceableness), it wouldn't be too surprising to find out that was no accident. After all, the Kingdom was also reticent to fight Negan until push came to shove, and Negan didn't give Jadis everything she'd wanted in exchange for her disloyalty to Rick. These garbage folks could be the come-around kids, too, after it's all said and done, if Negan continues being as horrible as he always is.

Some theorize she might be the Alpha (but the actress doesn't buy it)

Although McIntosh has long maintained that her character does not appear in the comics, some sources have noticed a significant similarity between the Whisperers of Kirkman's comics and these junkyard warriors. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, not only are they quiet, with Jadis purposefully trimming her sentences to bare bones to get her message across, but she also has the same mannerisms and characteristics of the Alpha from the story version.

For her part, McIntosh has attempted to dispel those rumors, telling THR that she doesn't believe it's her. "I've heard a lot rumors about Alpha from the fans but I don't know anything about them. I knew that wasn't my character and I didn't want to sully my performance by reading the comics for the first time. … All I heard is fan rumors. As far as talking to producers or anyone on the show, it's never come up. I don't know anything about her; I just know it's not me."

She's not beholden to her femininity

Aside from McIntosh's response to direct questioning on the issue, there's another reason to believe Jadis is not the secret Alpha of The Walking Dead: the role wasn't necessarily meant for a woman. The actress told AMC's Walking Dead blog, "One of the exciting things for me was that this character could have been cast as a male or female. Immediately, I knew that it wasn't about the traditional terms of femininity and the possibilities of that were exciting. I felt a great, encouraging freedom from the start with her."

While this fact might (repeat: might) preclude her from fulfilling the comics Alpha, it does still indicate that she's got some potential for untold growth. Whereas most of the female leader figures who've come along on the show have been killed off in terrible deaths (RIP Deanna and Dawn), her status as an androgynous being might mean a longer future ahead, given this show's track record with women in charge.

Her intentions could shift with the wind

Although Rick will have no choice but to distrust Jadis going forward given the events of the Season 7 finale, there's still reason to believe she might not be firmly planted in Negan's corner for the long haul. As McIntosh told AMC, "Jadis enjoys bargaining and making deals more than anything else. My view of the character is that she wasn't somebody who was in a position to be making deals in her previous life, and now it's fun for her in the new world. I think we can expect a bit more of that gleeful bargaining from her."

Of course, it's her penchant for free-wheeling dealing that got Rick into trouble the first time because she ultimately got a better offer from Negan. But if and when the chips are down on the Saviors' side of this fight, it wouldn't be too surprising to see her open up the bargaining process once again in a clutch moment.

Her quietude could be Negan's undoing

As we've learned throughout this season, Negan is a talker. His gift for gab and nefarious chuckling has carried him through many an awkward conversation in Season 7 and proves he's a man who leads with his mouth first and baseball bat second. But Jadis is his exact opposite in that regard. She doesn't mince words or pay special regard to turns of phrase.

What she doesn't say could prove to be a thorn in Negan's side during the duration of their agreement because she's not going to suddenly becoming infected with the talking bug for him. Whereas he uses words to read people–think of his surgical conversations with Eugene and others–Jadis won't be betraying much when she "talks" to him, will she? If she ever does flip the script and decide to align with Rick, she could very well be able to utilize her stealthy conversationalism to her advantage to run reconnaissance against him and the Saviors.

She didn't kill Rick

Perhaps the most important thing to take away from Jadis' last moments of Season 7 is that she didn't kill Rick when she had the chance. Even though she was clearly working for the other side and had him squarely within her clutches, she instead delivered him to Negan to do his own dirty work which means that she either has respect for him or doesn't like to get her hands dirty in the figurative sense either (which would nicely parallel her refusal to shake Rick's hand after the monster slaughter moment).

One way or the other, though, she purposefully shot him in a non-lethal spot which she knew would cause just a flesh wound. She had to have had her own reasons for that; chances are Rick was wanted by Negan dead or alive and it was up to her what condition to turn him over in. As McIntosh told Entertainment Weekly, her heap people don't like to take risks, and if it turns out she was wrong to put stock in the Saviors, she'll want Rick's mercy in return.