(Spoilers for The Walking Dead comics will be found below.)
In Issue #158 of The Walking Dead comics, Father Gabriel meets his demise during The Whisperer War. His character is still alive on the television series, but in this week’s episode, “One More,” there were several clever (and funny) nods toward his character’s comic-book death.
For the unfamiliar: in the comics, Gabriel is killed while keeping lookout from a water tower during The Whisperer War. From his vantage point on top of the water tower, Gabriel sees a horde of walkers rushing toward him, and so he tries to quickly walk down the water tower before he is trapped. On his way down, however, he slips, and in an attempt to catch himself with his foot on the ladder, Gabriel’s leg snaps. He’s left hanging on the ladder when along comes Beta, who guts his stomach like a fish. Gabriel’s guts fall out. The walkers at that point devour his upside-down-body from the waist down, so that all is left is a pair of legs.
Gabriel obviously lived in this week’s The Walking Dead, but there were clear references to his comic death. In fact, the title of the episode, “One More,” refers to “one more” stop on Maggie’s map, the last stop of which is a water tower, referred to twice in the episode. The episode in fact ends with Aaron and Gabriel looking into the sky beyond them at the water tower on the horizon, a sly nod toward Gabriel’s death site.
Meanwhile, earlier in the episode, Gabriel climbs on top of a roof, and Aaron asks him if he sees anything up there. Gabriel responds casually, “It’s just a ladder.” The “ladder” is a nod toward the final resting place for Gabriel in the comics (and for those who knew this, it amped up the dramatic tension in the episode).
Finally, when Gabriel is walking in the mud, he slips and and quickly falls down (as he did on the ladder in the comics), but here, Aaron kills the walker before it falls on Gabriel. However, Gabriel’s machete goes through the zombie’s guts, and his entrails fall out onto Gabriel, just as Gabriel’s guts fell out in the comics.
These are very clever nods to Robert Kirkman’s source material, although in the end, Gabriel lives another day. Hopefully, he will survive the remainder of the series, which enters its last season this fall.
‘The Walking Dead’ returns with the fourth bonus episode of the 10th season next Sunday.