The Walking Dead: Why are you still wearing that?

Father Gabriel. The Walking Dead. AMC.
Father Gabriel. The Walking Dead. AMC. /

When they were preparing to attack Negan’s compound on The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes asked Father Gabriel why he was still wearing his cleric’s clothing.

That’s a good question.

When Rick asked Gabriel about his priest clothing, Gabriel replied calmly that it was still who he was, or so he thought. Then he deadpanned that it would be harder to see him in the dark.

I’ve examined clothing before and how uniforms seem to play a role in certain characters’ identities. Perhaps it helps establish some kind of order in the chaos of the new world as in the examples of Grady Memorial and the Alexandria constable uniforms.

Related Story: Do clothes make the man?

Perhaps it helps people hold onto a bit of who they once were. This seems to be part of Gabriel clinging to his uniform. It’s interesting that Rick would ask that question. It’s a question the audience wanted asked, but Rick wore his sheriff’s uniform all while at the quarry and on the farm.

Rick went home before he went into Atlanta. He could have found some clothes to wear somewhere other than a uniform. Not only did he wear his uniform, he wore it buttoned up and properly. He tucked in his shirt and wore the badge.

Rick’s question is valid though. Usually I have theories or guesses about people’s behavior. I have many guesses about why he wore the clothes until now, why he shed them at one point and then put them back on. But I’m not sure why he’s still wearing them now, months after the meat poncho.

I want him to stop wearing them. I want him to join the group as a person, not a priest. People can still come to him for priestly advice even if he’s not wearing his collar. But he needs to do so in his own time.

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Carl still wears his dad’s hat. Daryl still wears his angel wings vest. Michonne has her headbands. Eugene has his mullet. Abraham has his mustache.  (Nick from Fear the Walking Dead still wears his old man jacket!)

Some people don’t have physical things that define them or that they feel express their identity. Some do. Who are we to deny them the comfort of their identity?