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The Walking Dead boasts one of the most secretive production shoots in all of TV, and that's partly necessitated by the more spoiler-hungry sectors of the fandom. But every so often, someone within AMC Networks itself is guilty of mistakenly getting key information out too early. That is possibly the case here, as an AMC-sponsored survey sent out to recipients seemingly revealed the cause of Father Gabriel's sickness before the show itself has had a chance to explain things. But how did that happen, and is it even legitimately factual?
Here's the situation: AMC has an ongoing project called AMC Popular Culturists, which sends surveys to interested parties that ask their opinions on movies, TV, music, and other forms of pop culture. According to one Redditor, a recent survey featured a question that asked viewers if they thought The Walking Dead's Father Gabriel was going to die from "the flu," or if he would survive. Considering all we really know about Father Gabriel's situation is that it's debilitating for him, it's pretty bizarre that AMC possibly let the real cause out into the public like this.
Learning that Gabriel is almost definitely suffering from a flu is also pretty frustrating, since The Walking Dead was seemingly leading audiences to believe that the previously teased radioactive waste would come into play, since Gabriel potentially covered himself in the guts of walkers who'd come into contact with the waste. While somewhat ridiculous, radiation poisoning would be an all-new way for The Walking Dead to kill someone, and the repercussions of such a threat could create unpredictable story blips for years. But if Father Gabriel's sickness is explained away by a common illness like the flu, everything about that plotline would feel a lot more meaningless.
Let's not forget that we've already watched an entire Walking Dead plotline revolve around a mysterious flu getting spread through the prison. We probably don't need to dip into that germ-filled well again, especially considering that awful scenario led to Carol getting banished for a while, which was the worst.
Of course, there's always the chance that the AMC survey just used "the flu" as a catch-all term to refer to Father Gabriel's flu-like appearance, and that it's not meant to be viewed as a concrete medical diagnosis. Or it could even be a trick question. "Do you think he'll die of the flu?" No, I think he'll die of radiation poisoning.
I mean, he almost has to, right? Not only to avoid rehashing storylines, but because discovering this would likely lead to Negan matching up with his comic counterpart by covering the Saviors' weapons with walker blood and guts as a way to quickly infect Team Family's survivors. Tainted weapons aren't very fair, but they're effective, and that twist might better explain why we saw Rick is bleeding out against a tree at the end of the midseason premiere.
Now that we've seen Jadis' origins get revealed, along with some friction within the Saviors' upper ranks, The Walking Dead will hopefully offer up an answer or two about Father Gabriel's situation on Sunday night on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out which character is surprisingly interested in the priest, and then head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what other shows are on the way.