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Warning: spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead is one of the most popular shows on television, and fans who have stuck around for seven seasons are pretty invested in the characters by this point. One character who was never especially popular with viewers was none other than Father Gabriel, whose most defining qualities early on were cowardice and disloyalty. Actor Seth Gilliam has now revealed his thoughts on Gabriel's growth and how fans reacted to him in his early days on the show, saying this:
I think it's a fantastic journey that Father Gabriel is on. It was a little difficult at the beginning, helping people to discern between reality and what the show is. We'd go to conventions and people would line up for fifteen minutes. They'd wait in line just to come tell me how much they hated me. I'd be like, 'Really? Really, OK. And do you want to buy a picture?' 'No I just wanted to tell you that you suck.'
Seth Gilliam shared the story of fan reactions to his character during an appearance on Talking Dead, and the reactions certainly sound like they could make for a depressing convention experience. Anybody who takes a break from fun at a fan con to heckle an actor for his character's actions must have some seriously strong feelings about that character. Unfortunately for Gilliam, he happened to play a character that was really, really hard to like for many people for a long time.
That said, Gabriel has really begun to hold his own in the zombie apocalypse over the past couple of seasons. Once he finally accepted that he needs to get his hands dirty and help out if he wants to survive, he became a useful member of the group. Sure, sometimes he's just babysitting Judith or manning the gate, but somebody needs to do those things, and he's certainly doing more than he used to.
In the last couple of episodes, Gabriel even managed to leave a clue for Rick and Co. to come after him (and their entire pantry full of goods) after Jadis and her group raided Alexandria. Given that Jadis' group could be a valuable ally to Alexandria (provided that Rick gets his hands on a whole bunch of guns for them), Gabriel could be indirectly responsible for an alliance to make a stand against Negan. Who knows? Maybe Gabriel will go down as one of the big heroes of Season 7. Anything can really happen at this point.
For Seth Gilliam's sake, I hope fans enjoy Gabriel's journey in Season 7 enough to stop telling him that they dislike him at conventions. If not, he can always bond with Jeffrey Dean Morgan over getting hate because of what their characters get up to.
You can catch new episodes of The Walking Dead on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule to see what non-zombie apocalypse series are on the airwaves nowadays.