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The Walking Dead's Ross Marquand Defends Aaron's Most Controversial Act

Ross Marquand joined the cast of "The Walking Dead" in Season 5 as Aaron, a former NGO worker-turned-recruiter for the suburban community of Alexandria. While the once-thriving community has been ravaged by severe weather, hordes of the undead, and the flesh-wearing Whisperers, Aaron is doing all that he can to restore it to its former glory with the help of Deputy Governor Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton).

In Season 11, Aaron also begins working for Hornsby and the Commonwealth on an immigration initiative to screen and welcome survivors into their flourishing community. However, it's not as purely intentioned as his former recruiting gig. When a trip to connect with a religious groupĀ quickly turns deadly, he's forced to examine his morals and make a stand.

It's not surprising that Aaron refuses to be complicit in Hornsby and former CIA assassin Toby Carlson's (Jason Butler Harner) violent plan, though it does bring to mind a shocking choice he made earlier this season.

Here's what Ross Marquand has to say about the comparisons between Carlson's assassination of Ian (Michael Biehn) and Aaron's brutal interrogation of a Whisperer.

Aaron's fury toward the Whisperers was 'more than justified'

After 11 seasons, every character on "The Walking Dead" has blood on their hands in the name of survival. However, fans were shocked when the generally easygoing Aaron snapped in Season 11 Episode 5, "Out of the Ashes." A trip to the fallen Hilltop community takes a dark turn when they discover Keith (Brad Fleischer), a Whisperer, and Aaron decides to violently question him.

In an interview with ComicBook, Ross Marquand was asked if he thinks Aaron will return to this "darker side" after being betrayed by Hornsby and Carlson. He defended Aaron's cruelty toward Keith as "more than justified" given the harrowing circumstances.

"I mean, everything the Whisperers had done to our group for the better portion of two seasons was just absolutely inhumane, animalistic, savage behavior," he explained. His interrogation of Keith may have been less than morally sound, but it was done to protect his people from an established threat.

On the contrary, Carlson executed Ian based on orders from Hornsby. He wasn't acting out of necessity or to protect the Commonwealth from a genuine threat. "Carlson's darkness was less coming from a place of self-protection and more so from a place of subjugation," Marquand added, noting that the betrayal stings but won't send Aaron down a similar path.