Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead was a true test of Father Gabriel's faith -- and he passed.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 8x11 follow.
Father Gabriel actor Seth Gilliam opened up about his big episode during ComicBook.com's live After the Dead recap show. The Dead or Alive Or episode called for Gabriel's faith to be so strong, he would blindly fire a gun in the direction of an ally in an effort to save them. "I believe he started hearing God again," Gilliam said. "I mean, I believe the courage for Father Gabriel comes in that. I believe he was closed off to the word for a while, he was blocked, he had many different kinds of blocks, and he found a way to unblock himself, and I think he can hear the voice of God again. So he's emboldened in a way that he's never been before in his life, I believe."
The episode itself was nearly a page out of Fear the Walking Dead's book. In the sibling series' third season, its Daniel Salazar character appeared to be cursed to a difficult life to the point that when a walker was going to bite him it was struck by lightning. Happy coincidences only happen for so many characters in the world of The Walking Dead.
Still, Gabriel's pal Carson would not survive the faith-testing episode despite Gabriel's best efforts, something Gilliam says might have larger implications. "I like the test of faith theory," Gilliam said. "I hadn't really thought about what Gabriel was thinking about, in terms of whether or not he was being tested so much as, all right, what's the next step?"
"I think in the moment [when Carson was killed], he thought that they were, that it had all come together for them," Gilliam said. "It had all come together for them, they found the antibiotic, they had the ride, they had, everything had come together for them, and even though they had been captured again, that there'd be a way to work it out. You know, he was able to talk it out before. He's taken great actions in this particular episode, but to get there, he had to talk to somebody to do so, he had to get through to Eugene. So I think Father Gabriel feels as long as he's got an opportunity to talk to people, he can reach them. And Dr. Carson saw it differently."
The illness which blinds Gabriel not only tests the character but the actor, as well. "The contacts did kind of throw me off a bit," Gilliam said. "They're handmade, and they're hand-painted, and they take up the entire pupil. Not just the pupil, I'm talking about the actual entire eyeball. So it takes a while to get used to, and they have to be moisturized every 20 minutes. Somebody's got to come and put some things in, or else they stick to the eyeball. So they can be a little uncomfortable to work with. But the effect is fantastic, so you suffer for your art, I guess."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will debut its fourth season after The Walking Dead concludes its eighth, at 10 pm ET on April 15. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.