Father Gabriel on The Walking Dead: Would you care to pay your respects?

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

Father Gabriel is not creepy, Negan. He wears his collar because he is a priest and an important member of the community in Alexandria on The Walking Dead.

Why are you still wearing that? Rick asked Father Gabriel that question when he finally allowed Gabriel to start helping the community. Gabriel told Rick he was still a priest. He also teased that he would be harder to see in the dark. Rick wore his sheriff’s uniform for quite some time after he was no longer a policeman.

The group didn’t take to Gabriel at first. They had just escaped from Terminus, The Governor had just attacked the prison and killed Hershel, and in the current vernacular, they had some trust issues. They didn’t trust Gabriel.

Gabriel had been sheltered in his church for quite some time. To his delicate sensibilities, these new people came in and bullied him. Then they slaughtered 3 people right in his church. They then decided to go kill more people to get Beth and Carol back. What a crazy world this was that he had hidden from for a year in his church.

He had been hiding from the world and hiding from his own guilt that he couldn’t save his congregation who came knocking with walkers as guest parishioners that he didn’t want to let join. When the group left for Washington nobody talked to Gabriel. Maggie even shunned Gabriel’s offer for help and an ear to listen to her.

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Then Gabriel started to internalize his guilt. That guilt and the illusion of paradise in Alexandria got twisted and Gabriel betrayed his new friends that weren’t really his friends yet in order to maybe have a chance in this new place. But that didn’t work out. The paradise was on the verge of collapse and his eyes were opened to the world that Rick and the group had lived in for the time he was eating canned goods in his church.

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

Maggie and Sasha started to forgive the padre and Eugene always had, but Rick shut down every chance Gabe had of integrating into the community. The Alexandrians accepted him, but Rick kept Gabriel at a distance and even publicly embarrassed him.

Finally, in the stand against Alexandria Gabriel protected Judith and helped the people of Alexandria to see that they had the courage to save the town for themselves. Rick even put Gabe in charge of Alexandria when they went to take care of Maggie and deal with the Saviors.

When Negan visited Alexandria before expected, Father Gabriel did two things that should help fans forgive him for his previous cowardice and bad decisions.

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Gabriel was not only quick thinking to turn over some dirt and create a fake grave for Maggie to fool Negan but he was brave enough to face Negan head on to ask him if he cared to pay his respects. Negan mocked Gabriel for wearing his collar, but Gabriel should be wearing his collar now more than ever.

He is once again ministering to the needs of his community. And they are allowing him to help them. Where Spencer is questioning Rick. Gabriel is supporting him. Gabriel can tell that Rick has been emotionally crippled. Where Rick wasn’t in a position to listen to Gabriel before, now he is sufficiently humbled to hear Gabriel.

Gabriel has taken the high road. He remembers who the man in the collar was and always wanted to be. He has learned who Rick is by watching and learning. Gabriel doesn’t choose to lash out at Rick the way Spencer did. He chooses to build him back up.

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Gabriel wasn’t there to be broken the way Rick was, and he has had time to make sense of Rick’s decisions in the past. He can now give Rick the strength of one day at a time. Hope. Forgiveness. Belief in himself. Gifts Rick can keep. Negan can’t take half.

Gabriel asked Negan if he cared to pay his respects. Gabriel was talking about paying his respects to Maggie. But I’d like to tell you, Father Gabriel, I respect you.