The Walking Dead: Why is it so easy to forgive Nicholas and not Gabriel?

Photo by Gene Page/AMC
Photo by Gene Page/AMC /
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC, The Walking Dead
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC, The Walking Dead /

On The Walking Dead we have 2 characters who are cowardly and have done things to make the audience dislike them. Both are looking for redemption. The audience is eager to see one of them redeem himself and become a valuable member of the group. The audience is eager to see the other thrown to to walkers.

What is it about Father Gabriel that makes people hate him so much? Is it because he’s a priest? Do they expect more of him because of that? Do they expect that he should have been braver in the face of the walkers and let his congregation into the church that day? Would that have saved them? If the walkers were on them, they might have died anyway.

Is it the betrayal? He told Deanna that the group had done terrible things. In Gabriel’s eyes, maybe that was true. He had seen them kill human beings, not walkers, mere hours after meeting them. And then he sees a community like Alexandria as a paradise behind walls. A place that had people who were as sheltered as he was.

Walking-Dead-502-Father-Knows-Less /

People say that he betrayed the people who saved his life, but the group never accepted him. They didn’t talk to him, they just let him tag along and they used his church as a place to stay. Carl and Michonne tried at first, but Gabriel wasn’t ready yet.

Now Gabriel sees that he was wrong. He had his breakthrough with Sasha and Maggie accepting his guilt about surviving and accepting the blame for the people of his church dying because of him. But Rick is not having it. We’ll see how the group responds as the season progresses. Carl seems like he’s going to help Gabriel in next week’s episode. But the audience doesn’t want to see it.

Noah in Revolving Door. The Walking Dead - AMC
Noah in Revolving Door. The Walking Dead – AMC /

Nicholas was part of Aiden’s run team. He was with them when they made the supply run when Tara got hurt. Nicholas and Aiden were both cocky about knowing it all when in came to runs. They wanted everyone to listen to them. They didn’t like these new people coming in and showing them up.

But they started to see that these new people really knew what they were doing. They had skills and strategies that Nicholas and Aiden didn’t have. When Aiden was in trouble, Nicholas was ready to leave him right away. He even told Aiden that’s who they were. That was obviously how they operated. If things get to risky, you have to save yourself. The walkers are too dangerous.

Nicholas, Glenn and Noah got trapped in the revolving door of walkers. Stuck. Immobile. Glenn and Noah are problem solvers. Patient. Thinkers. Nicholas panicked. At the first sign of a way out for himself, he took it. Unfortunately, that left Noah’s leg exposed for the walkers to pull and they took him.

Nicholas lied to Deanna about what happened. Nicholas then tried to kill Glenn to make sure his lies weren’t exposed. Glenn never exposed him.

Glenn Rhee and Nicholas, The Walking Dead - AMC
Glenn Rhee and Nicholas, The Walking Dead – AMC /

Nicholas seems to realize that Glenn is right and that the new group knows about the world out there and he wants to learn to be better with the roamers and not just a big talker. After one scene of Nicholas listening to Glenn and helping to kill the walkers with Heath and Glenn, the audience is brimming with cautious hope for a great redemption story in Nicholas.

What is it about Nicholas that makes the audience so willing to forgive Nicholas and want to see the turn around in him? Is it because he’s only been in the story a short time and the hate hasn’t had time to brew? Is it because Glenn is involved and it will make Glenn’s humanity toward him worthy of receiving?

I don’t have the answers. And anyone who has read my stories before knows I love Father Gabriel so I’m trying to keep that in check here. I’m just putting out the question. I wonder. The bad acts they’ve done seem similar. So it must lie somewhere in personality or length of time the hatred has built up. Or something else. I’m not sure.

Gabriel and Carl. The Walking Dead - AMC
Gabriel and Carl. The Walking Dead – AMC /

The only other possibility I can think of is Gabriel’s cowardly nature with the walkers. That seems to really have a bad effect on fans. There have been other characters who didn’t kill walkers right away, but they were introduced at times when their other positive qualities made up for it. Gabriel was introduced right after Terminus when we didn’t trust anyone and he was cowardly to boot.

Maybe Carl can give Gabriel and Eugene machete lessons at the same time and they may turn into the biter slayers of season 7? I know. I’m a hopeless optimist. So much so that I hope Nicholas and Gabriel both find redemption.

Next: The Walking Dead: A Timeline of Events-From Morgan to Morgan

More from Undead Walking