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What A New ‘The Walking Dead’ Character, Princess, Means To The Future Of The Series

In the final minutes of this week’s The Walking Dead episode, “Look at the Flowers,” right before Beta rips off half his mask and does the “Thriller” dance with a horde of zombies, we are briefly introduced to a wild new character (pictured above).

Her name is Juanita Sanchez, and in the comics, she goes by “Princess,” because “Queen” makes her sound too “old.” She is played by actress Paola Lazaro. Princess is a trip, one of those horribly damaged people (she was repeatedly tied up, locked in a closet, and abused by her evil step-brother and step-father in the comics) who uses comedy to mask her pain. Princess has a lot of pain, so her sense of humor is wonderfully off-kilter and inappropriate. Princess has also spent so much time alone that she’s not sure that those she encounters are real or hallucinations. She is very cheerful and very talkative.

In the comic series, she is discovered on a mission similar to the one that Eugene is carrying out now; Eugene wants to meet Stephanie, a woman from a new community with whom he is smitten. In the comics, Eugene, Yumiko, Magna, Michonne, and Siddiq encounter Princess in Pittsburgh on the way to The Commonwealth in Ohio. Here, however, Siddiq is dead, Michonne is in search of Rick, and Magna has decided to stay behind (although, a sickened Ezekiel — dead in the Comics at this point — is along for the ride).

So, presumably, Eugene’s girlfriend, Stephanie, is from The Commonwealth, which is possibly also where Maggie and Georgie reside. They’re meeting in Charleston, West Virginia, which is about halfway between Alexandria and Ohio, which is where The Commonwealth is set in the comics, so that makes perfect sense. The lure to The Commonwealth — which is a functioning society of 50,000 people with modern amenities — may be the medical care that it can offer Ezekiel, who is otherwise dying of treatable cancer. The Commonwealth is also likely to play into CRM and The Walking Dead spin-off, The World Beyond.

We’ll learn more about Princess in next week’s episode, which is not the season finale, but because of delays, it is the last episode for awhile.