Was Father Gabriel playing favorites?

Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Stokes - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Stokes - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

The Walking Dead’s Father Gabriel wasn’t there when Negan killed Glenn and Abraham but he sees what happens in Alexandria. What does his reaction tell us?

Father Gabriel has come a long way from the meek minister locked away in his church. He can fight, and he has proven his loyalty time and again. He was the one who suggested that they dig an extra grave for Maggie, and he tries his best to offer guidance to Rosita and Spencer as they work through their respective anger.

In “Sing Me a Song,” Father Gabriel and Spencer head out on a run and Spencer ends up giving a confession of sorts to Father Gabriel. He says he hates Rick, and no matter how much Gabriel says that Rick inspired him and kept everyone together, Spencer believes that Rick is to blame for the loss of his family. The bottom line, Gabriel says, is that there is no way of knowing how Rick’s actions would have changed the past. Gabriel puts Spencer in his place, and then he gets out of the car and leaves Spencer with his thoughts.

Gabriel knows that Spencer’s thoughts are dangerous. He even says that it’s not the thoughts, but the actions that make you a sinner.

Later, in “Hearts Still Beating,” when Negan and Spencer set up a game of pool in the middle of the street, Gabriel is one of the people who comes to watch the interaction. While he may not have been able to hear everything that was being said, Gabriel had reason to suspect that Spencer might be up to no good. When things started to go south, Gabriel had a clear view when Negan stabbed and gutted Spencer. He was also able to view the scene when Arat killed Olivia.

If you go back and watch the two death scenes carefully, Gabriel can be seen in the frames immediately following both deaths, but his reaction to them is very different. When Spencer dies, Gabriel’s face registers shock along with everyone else standing there. When Olivia is shot his expression is one of pure anguish.

Both deaths are very different from one another. Spencer’s death is the result of his own actions, while Olivia died because of someone else’s actions. Her death was tragic, and Gabriel’s reaction reflected that tragedy. He was upset at her loss, but not so much with Spencer’s death. Was Gabriel’s reaction different because he knew what Spencer was trying to do?

More from Undead Walking

Gabriel has come a long way since Rick’s group first encountered him, and it appears that the good Father has realized that in this brave new world, perhaps some people are beyond saving.