In yet another largely unimpressive season, some of The Walking Dead‘s most interesting scenes this year concern the church, and, more specifically, involve Father Gabriel. When audiences were initially introduced to this character, he was annoying, meek, and naive. As the season has progressed, he is still annoying, but he has also proven himself to be crafty, surprisingly capable, and probably evil.
Team Rick saves this guy from a hoard of walkers, and in that particular situation, Father Gabriel seems clueless as to how to handle himself in the new reality. Fast forward to “Crossed.” This same man hacks himself out of the church, abandoning Carl, Michonne, and Judith. He encounters a walker, and while he stops short of killing her, he swiftly disables her. Gabriel is injured and alone, and yet he has no problem at all taking down this thing. This just does not mesh with what we know about Gabriel – he has clearly done this sort of thing before.
Gabriel first presents himself as sick with guilt and unbearably remorseful for his sins. He obsessively scrubs at the blood stains on the church floor and harshly judges Rick and friends for the Great Church Machete Massacre of 2014. All the while, Gabriel himself is responsible for a considerably larger massacre right outside of the church. He seems to revere the church interior, though, thus downplaying his own crimes as they did not technically take place on holy ground.
As soon as Gabriel plows his way out of the church, he stomps on a nail that goes straight through his shoe and into his foot. He grimaces, yanks it out, and hobbles on his way to mowing down walkers. A previous scene in this episode shows Carl trying to teach Father Gabriel how to protect himself. This is a man who allegedly could not handle Carl’s discussion of zombie skull-crushing techniques, yet he has no qualms when it comes to deftly extracting a rusty nail from his own foot.
“Crossed” fully reveals Father Gabriel to be a dishonest man who is hiding something rather significant. Why the act? Is he even a priest? I’m curious to find out the truth about his character. More than that, though, I am ecstatic about the approaching midseason break! Coming up with this post was like pulling teeth – or removing nails from your own foot.