Pray for Father Gabriel. The once cowardly priest played by Seth Gilliam is all but foreordained to receive his grisly comic book fate in The Walking Dead Season 10 finale, where Gabriel appears in a leadership role while acting as a guardian for RJ (Antony Azor) and Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming). "A Certain Doom" opens with Gabriel, panicked by a zombie horde swarming the hospital tower hideout sheltering dozens of refugees, calming the nerves of RJ and Gracie (Anabelle Holloway) as a massive walker army commanded by Whisperer Beta (Ryan Hurst) descends upon the survivors.
As seen in the first trailer for the finale, which prominently features six-season series veteran Gilliam, Gabriel rallies the troops led into the horde by Daryl (Norman Reedus) before wielding a shotgun to defend Judith and Rachel (Avianna Mynhier) while holed up on the higher levels of the tower. Someone bursts through barricaded doors opposite the armed and ready Gabriel, but it's not immediately clear who this trespasser might be.
A cryptic comment from executive producer and Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple may have hinted at bad things to come for Gabriel when the former showrunner said carers for the Grimes children are "the ones in danger."
"Judith is taking care of herself fine, even taking care of RJ. Anybody who gets in that [guardian] position with Judith winds up going," Gimple said during a virtual Comic-Con panel. "I'm just saying, I'm not as worried about RJ and Judith as the person taking care of them."
In the comic books, Gabriel panics and slips from his vantage point atop a water tower when he's unnerved by the overwhelming number of walkers unleashed by Beta. Left dangling helplessly with a snapped ankle, Gabriel is gutted by the Whisperer commander and quickly consumed by his zombie horde.
Gabriel avenged Siddiq (Avi Nash) earlier this season when he slaughtered his friend's already-jailed killer, Whisperer spy Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas), inside the cell vacated by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). A bloodthirsty Gabriel later made girlfriend Rosita (Christian Serratos) visibly uncomfortable when he pushed for more vicious retaliation, telling the Alexandrians to start "pulling teeth and taking fingers" if it means silencing the Whisperers.
And according to Gilliam, the disgraced priest is still seeking forgiveness for dooming his congregation at the onset of the apocalypse.
"I think Father Gabriel has kind of embraced the inner voice in him that he feels is his communiqué with God, and that he's got this purpose now," Gilliam said during virtual Comic-Con. "He failed in his first go-around to protect his community and to protect his flock, locking them all outside of the church, and I think this is his chance — in his thinking — God is giving him a second chance at leadership."0comments
Gilliam continued, "He's going to do everything he can to do it correctly this time, to do the right thing."
The Walking Dead Season 10 finale premieres Sunday, October 4 on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.