Why The Walking Dead Fans Should Be Worried About Father Gabriel, According To Guest Star Robert Patrick

robert patrick's mays playing cards with father gabriel on the walking dead season 10

(Image credit: amc press)

Major spoilers below for The Walking Dead's latest episode, "One More," so be warned!

Once it was confirmed that The X-Files and Terminator 2 vet Robert Patrick was joining the cast of The Walking Dead during its extended Season 10 run, fans knew it wouldn't be a plain-Jane cameo. And boy, did the episode "One More" deliver the goods with his character Mays, as well as his OTHER character, Mays' super-tragic brother-captive. But according to Patrick, the biggest takeaway from his character's introduction and bloody exit has little to do with Mays, but should be an ominous warning about Seth Gilliam's Father Gabriel.

When CinemaBlend had the pleasure of speaking with Robert Patrick ahead of his Walking Dead debut, I asked if Mays' actions against Father Gabriel and Ross Marquand's Aaron were solely because they took his stuff, or if he's just a chaotic and unhinged person in general. Perhaps understandably, the actor did not see Mays as being mentally unstable or even villainous, but saw him as someone who conformed to the times to keep himself above ground. Here's how Patrick explained it:

I don't even know, is he unhinged? You know, the guy's a survivor. The guy has turned his back on God; he obviously had strong faith and belief in God. How do we know how human beings are going to react in stressful situations? . . . That's the part of Mays that I think was the big hook for me. Who is this guy, where he came from, why he's a survivor, why he turned his back on God. I mean, The Walking Dead is really a metaphor for life without God anyway, to be honest with you. There's not a lot of hope, it's so bleak, and no one has faith. And it's the beauty of Seth's character, he's still trying to hang on to that. I think that's what's so exhilarating about Mays as a character is he was willing to be vulnerable and let himself admit to Seth's character that he didn't believe him anymore. That was the very thing, but he gets [Mays] back in, and gets him to let them [free]. 'I'm gonna let you go. I want to be accepted back into the pack. I'm a lost sheep. I want to come back into the block.' And then who kills him? That to me, it just felt like it was just beautiful writing on the writers.

Mays' death was the first major shock of The Walking Dead's "One More," as it definitely didn't feel 100% justified in the moment for Father Gabriel to slam Aaron's spiked mace-hand into Mays' head. To Father Gabriel, Mays' confession wasn't something to balance with a priest's forgiveness, but rather an omen of what could come later if they allowed Mays to follow them back to Alexandria. And that was even before Gabriel and Aaron stumbled upon the bearded hostage and corpses in the attic, putting Gabriel's impulsive actions under a more questionable light.

seth gilliam's father gabriel and ross marquand's aaron full of mud in the walking dead season 10

(Image credit: amc press)

From Mays' perspective, however, he comes home to find two strangers taking his possibly hard-earned food, drink and shelter, while also putting themselves in the position to stumble upon his chained-up brother. That's a big old no-no, but not one that Mays appeared willing to punish them for beyond that intense Russian Roulette sequence. In his mind, Father Gabriel's words and guidance were effective enough tools to bring him back around to religious concepts, and had earned the two men a "get out of Mays' jail free" card. So to Robert Patrick, Mays' change of heart being rewarded with murder is a major warning sign that Seth Gilliam's priest is no longer led by ethics and morals. Here's how Patrick views Mays and what he says the character's untimely death implies about Gabriel:

Well, I mean, when we meet him, he's a pretty good guy. He's captured a boar, he's got booze, he's got ammunition. I mean, he's doing something right. And he's got his brother chained up in the attic space. [Laughs.] He knows how to keep a prisoner. I don't know. I mean, is Mays really that bad a guy? I don't see Mays as a bad guy, to be honest with you. I felt like it's more telling about the fact that Seth becomes the judge, jury and executioner, and I think that should be the alarming thing for people watching The Walking Dead is: what is the dark path that [Father Gabriel] is about to go on? Because he's obviously getting very dark.

To be sure, Robert Patrick likely doesn't have full access to exactly where Father Gabriel's story is going in The Walking Dead's future, at least unless showrunner Angela Kang & Co. chose to share the full scope of things with the Sons of Anarchy vet ahead of filming his guest role. So there's no reason to take his words as gospel, but there has definitely been something different on the rise within Father Gabriel that isn't quite so godly or divine. Considering the comic character had already been killed off by this point in the narrative, it's exciting to think about The Walking Dead's creative team finding more ways to defy expectations with the character in the wake of Mays' murder.

How comfortable will Aaron be after all this? Will he share Mays' disturbing story with others in Alexandria? And perhaps the most important question of all: Did Mays have an estranged third brother that will allow Robert Patrick to return to The Walking Dead in the eleventh and final season? I'm guessing that third one is a no, but at least we know there are lots of other interesting new characters coming to the show soon.

Having already given viewers more insight into Maggie's big return and her new friends, as well as Daryl's first big love interest (who might have been doomed), The Walking Dead's extended Season 10 run has three episodes left to go on AMC, so be sure to keep watching every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. ET. And for god's sakes, don't be taking your brother's bread and shit, even if your family is hungry.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.