‘The Walking Dead’: Father Gabriel’s Faith is Put to the Test

Jake Labay
The Walking Dead TV
The Walking Dead TV

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the Season 8, Episode 11 of The Walking Dead, entitled “Dead or Alive Or.” Proceed with caution.

After following Carl’s death with a very somber-heavy episode, The Walking Dead returned with a new episode titled “Dead or Alive Or.”

The focus shifted from Rick’s grief to Father Gabriel’s faith. Gabriel continues to battle the mysterious sickness – which he got back at The Sanctuary –  and now it’s starting to take its toll on him.

Trials and Tests

When Gabriel escaped the tense confrontation he had with Negan, it was shocking that he walked away with his life. However, he didn’t come out of there fully intact. He was hit with a bad illness which many assumed was a walker bite at first.

Thanks to Eugene, Gabriel and Carson were able to escape Sanctuary and be put out on the road toward Hilltop. Gabriel is looking frail and weak at this point. The most worrisome part about his condition is that his vision is starting to fail him. Things aren’t looking good.

The duo discovers an abandoned house which Gabriel is able to track down by hearing a bell. Gabriel chalks it up to God showing the way, though Carson isn’t convinced. By some miracle – possibly divine – they find antibiotics in the house which Carson realizes can help Gabriel. Part of Carson begins to believe the faith that Gabriel’s been preaching. More importantly, Gabriel might make it through.

Blinded by Faith

Father Gabriel is a man dedicated to his faith. His beliefs may have allowed him to escape death several times in the past. His latest struggles — the attack by the Saviors, being trapped with Negan, and falling ill — have tested him more than ever.

Carson told Gabriel that his infection was starting to heal with the medicine, but the damage to his sight may be permanent. The priest sees this as good news, saying that keeping his life is more important anyway.

They hit the road, but it isn’t long until they run into a danger. They stumble into an area covered in bear traps and walkers everywhere. Carson is left to fend for himself. Gabriel knows his companion is in trouble but can’t do much. That doesn’t stop the blind priest though; he raises his gun, gives one final prayer and pulls the trigger.

His bullet strikes. Another miracle. Carson looked in disbelief, thinking maybe there’s a God.

But Was His Faith Enough?

After escaping the walkers, Carson still is in shock at what just happened. Father Gabriel tells the doctor to try and “believe and he will see it.”

Just as things begin to look up, Saviors appear and ambush the pair. They get captured and Carson ends up with a bullet in the chest. With the last bit of vision he has, Gabriel sees the good doctor fall and a bit of his faith is shattered.

Gabriel is taken back to Sanctuary where he will work in Eugene’s outpost loading up ammo casings. He feels convinced that God finally “showed him what he needed to do.”

Many fans felt torn towards the issue of Father Gabriel’s faith. Some felt that his views are justifiable, that him keeping his faith was the right thing. Others were upset that Carl’s dead and he’s still alive. Although after these events, is Gabriel’s faith still intact? More importantly, will keep helping him stay alive or is his time almost up?

And what will the mission for this man of God be?

Jake Labay
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