Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) has spent the last few seasons of The Walking Dead proving his mettle as a loyal and contributing member of the Alexandria community — but some fans still have yet to trust the preacher.
Last we saw Gabriel, he was accidentally left behind at the Sanctuary, home base of the Saviors, after risking his life to save the cowardly Gregory (Xander Berkeley) in episode 8x01. It was part of the plan for the Alexandria, Hilltop and Kingdom communities to launch a surprise attack on the Sanctuary and unleash a massive herd of Walkers onto the compound, but Gabriel didn't make it out: with nowhere to run, he took shelter in a trailer and ended up trapped with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Father Gabriel might be dead.
Or he might be a spy. Some fans have raised speculation that Gabriel is a traitor, pointing to his rescue of the treacherous Gregory and that he didn't immediately point his rifle at Negan when the big bad ominously stepped out of the shadows. Some viewers think Gabriel never truly changed — when we were first introduced to him in season 5, we learned he abandoned his "flock" during the early onset of the outbreak, leaving them clawing outside of his church to die, and in 5x14, "Spend," Gabriel told then-Alexandria leader Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) that Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and co. were evil and undeserving of paradise — but ever since truly integrating himself into the group, Gabriel has gone to great lengths to prove his mettle.
Rick spent much of season 6 finding Gabriel untrustworthy — despite the holy man's apologies — until 6x14, "Start to Finish," when, during a Walker siege on Alexandra, Gabriel said he wouldn't run away this time. "I know," Rick said, going so far as to entrust Gabriel with the care of his young daughter, Judith, in 6x15, "No Way Out." Gabriel also stood his ground during Alexandria's clandestine attack on a Savior outpost in 6x12, "Not Tomorrow Yet," and was once again trusted by Rick with the care of Judith and all of Alexandria in 6x16, "Last Day on Earth."
Come season 7, when Gabriel was kidnapped by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and the Scavengers, Rosita (Christian Serratos) thought Gabriel turncoat and ran — until Rick and co. rescued him from his captors, with Rick reaffirming Gabriel that he knew he hadn't betrayed the family. Gabriel has Rick's full trust, and while he has a spotty past, he's made great strides in redeeming and proving himself — why would he throw in with Negan and the Saviors now?
Gilliam agrees, shooting down the theories that Gabriel has turned traitor: "I've heard some things about in cahoots — which would be an interesting story twist, by the way, in an alternative universe — but I don't really see that happening," Gilliam told ComicBook.com exclusively during his visit to Walker Stalker Atlanta.
For now, it seems the only traitor from the Team Family camp is Eugene (Josh McDermitt). Damn it, Eugene.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.