Spoilers below for The Walking Dead's winter finale, so be sure to watch before reading on.
After seven episodes rife with protagonist paranoia, The Walking Dead brought a brutal end to one threat while putting many of the core characters in an extremely dangerous and unfamiliar situation. Season 10's midseason finale didn't mess too hard with The Walking Dead's time-honored formula for capping off its eight-episode runs, which was mostly a good thing. We obviously don't yet know what will happen with Daryl & Co. inside that walker-filled cavern, but it was made pretty clear that the duplicitous Dante won't be around to see it happen.
CinemaBlend had a chance to talk with The Walking Dead's Juan Javier Cardenas about his relatively short, but highly effective, arc as the Siddiq-murdering Whisperer Dante. Justice came pretty quick for Dante in the episode "The World Before," so we probably won't be seeing him anymore, which is completely different from the character's comic arc. Still, the character's actions in Alexandria will continue weighing on those who are aware of them. Especially Father Gabriel, who went absolutely apeshit on Dante inside the prison cell.
Though our conversation didn't start with Dante's death, let's begin on that note at the moment, because ouch! Here's Juan Javier Cardenas on how filming that scene went with co-star Seth Gilliam:
A character like Father Gabriel could come across as hokey in many actors' hands, but Seth Gilliam totally pulls off his portrayal of someone who doesn't lose faith in fellow human beings, regardless of the horrors he's seen. As such, it's all the more surprising to see him attack Dante after being provoked only by the villain's words and nihilistic outlook on humanity. Not to mention him causing everyone's sickness. Sure, it was Siddiq's murder that really sent Gabriel over the edge, but he's obviously had restraint when dealing with Negan and some others.
From a performance perspective, Juan Javier Cardenas was aiming to bring Seth Gilliam to the right emotional peak during their characters' confrontation. In his words:
One might think that Father Gabriel wears his heart on his sleeve, but the character's true emotions are only rarely played up by Seth Gilliam. So it's both shocking and believable that his stress levels were so sharpened that he would impulsively stab the bejesus out of the next person that stepped just over the line.
As much as he might have enjoyed playing Dante, Juan Javier Cardenas understands the damaging effect that his character has on the other survivors. Here, he talks about the sadness invested in his arc, and what's to come in the future.
The biggest question on my mind right now is what Father Gabriel is going to do with Dante's body, and whether or not he's going to confess his deadly transgressions to everyone else. After all, that would mean he'd go straight into that messy jail cell himself, right?
The Walking Dead's midseason finale also left us with other questions, such as where exactly Michonne and Virgil are headed, and how the currently trapped Whisperer-hunters are going to escape their hectic ordeal in a safe and timely fashion. Also, why didn't we get an update on Negan and Alpha? We're going to have to spend a few months waiting before we learn anything concrete about the Whisperers War, since it won't be back on AMC until some point in early 2020.
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.
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