Ever since he was first introduced to The Walking Dead viewers back in the early days of Season 5, Father Gabriel Stokes has gone through some thangs, to put it as simply as possible. Currently in the second of Season 11’s three episode blocks, Gabriel is as confident as cold-blooded as can be, and is a world or two away from the haunted priest who was traumatized by his own cowardice. He’s definitely in a better place all these years later, in as much as “better” means “still alive,” since fans are constantly waiting for him to bite the bullet. But it’s clear that his moral compass has spun right out of its casing.
Father Gabriel’s Big Regret, According To Seth Gilliam
The Walking Dead star Seth Gilliam talked to CinemaBlend and other press to promote its return to AMC for the middle of its final season. When I asked Gilliam what he thought Father Gabriel’s biggest regrets might be at this point in the post-apocalypse, he didn’t reflect on such congregation-sacrificing actions, but rather when the religious figure turned coat on Rick upon discovering a safe haven in Alexandria. In his words:
It’d be a brilliant move if he could somehow go back and give it another go. If Father Gabriel’s Season 5 introduction didn’t instantly make him a fan-favorite, his tattling to Deanna was a major reason why the character was so reviled at first. Granted, he wasn’t exactly out of his mind for taking that step, since even the Walking Dead characters and cast members are aware that the survivors are only heroes when viewed from certain angles, only to become vicious monsters from a flipped perspective.
The same basically goes for Negan, who was totally seen as a hero by the rest of the Saviors and…wait, no, he was still a monster no matter how you looked at him at that point in his life. Jeffrey Dean Morgan recently shared that he’d stop Negan from killing Glenn if he could go back and do so. (Sorry, Abraham.) But while that act put Negan at odds with Maggie, to the point where he chose to strike out on his own in the winter premiere, Gabriel is as close as can be with Maggie.
And that’s saying something, since Maggie was actually the one who overheard Gabriel telling Deanna that Rick was evil and dangerous and would destroy their well-kept community. But seeing as how voicing his paranoia is quite a few steps down from “murdering somebody’s husband” on the scale of vengence-inspiring acts, it’s no surprise Maggie and Gabriel have kept their teamwork going strong, while Negan has yet to truly convince anyone beyond maybe Lydia that he’s redeemable.
How Far Father Gabriel Would Go To Protect Other Protagonists
It's funny in a not-at-all-humorous way to think about Father Gabriel at one point being too timid to even kill a walker, much less an actively breathing human, since he has been a fairly lethal machine in Season 11 so far. Which isn't to say he's become an emotional void or anything, but he certainly appears more capable of leading the group now than at any point before Rick was snatched up in Season 9.
To that end, I also asked Seth Gilliam if there was anything Father Gabriel wouldn't do for his fellow survivors in Season 11, and his answer should strike fear in anyone who makes a move to get in Gabriel's way going forward. In his words:
And if he's willing to lay down his life to keep others safe, you best believe Gabriel would lay down a slew of antagonists and walkers before it happened. No bullets? No blades? No rocks? No problem. Father Gabriel is here to gouge some eyes out and rip some heads off with his bare hands.
Considering he’s more hardcore than ever when it comes to putting threats down, I do wonder if any part of Gabriel regrets not killing Negan in the instances where he could have done so without anyone else’s awareness. Well, I guess that’d be a regret that every Walking Dead character has in the present-day timeline.
The Walking Dead airs new episodes on AMC every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. ET. While waiting to see what shakes out from Andrew Lincoln’s recent trip to Georgia, check out all the other big TV shows ending this year, and head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see when all your favorites will be popping up next.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.