On Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead, Father Gabriel's (Seth Gilliam) faith was shaken (yet again) when what he thought was divine intervention turned out to be dumb luck that ran out. The priest has been captured by the Saviors and is dying of an infection that's left him nearly blind. Things look dark for him right now, and a fan theory argues that the writers are looking to the Bible to hint that Father Gabriel will die in the service of the Lord after God provides one last time.
For a while, God seemed to be looking out for Gabriel and the obstetrician Dr. Carson (R. Keith Harris), who Gabriel thinks its his divine mandate to rescue ("God's Plan" starts playing). They were hopelessly lost on their journey back to Hilltop. Dr. Carson, a man of science, was skeptical they'd make it and was very worried about his companion's declining health, but Father Gabriel was certain that God would provide. Then they found a cabin in the woods stocked with antibiotics, a map and car keys and it began to seem like Gabriel might be right. When Carson later got his leg caught in a bear trap and got jumped on by a walker, Gabriel blindly stepped on some bear traps without tripping them and got the walker off Carson with a headshot that he took with his eyes closed. It was like a prayer-guided bullet.
Moments later, as they were getting into the car, they were apprehended by Saviors. But Carson now believed that Gabriel was right and God was protecting them, and so he reached for a Savior's gun. At that moment their luck ran out. Carson was immediately gunned down, leaving Gabriel sobbing that he'd failed. He was taken to Eugene's (Josh McDermitt) Savior outpost, where he was set to work sorting bullet casings.
This is where things get interesting, according to Reddit user xyanon36. "I think Gabriel is an allegory for Samson and his story will play out like Samson's story in the Bible," the user writes, pointing out that The Walking Dead has previously included religious allegories before. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) leading his people out of Egypt (Georgia) for the Promised Land (Washington, D.C.), for example. Plus that whole resurrection of the dead thing.
The biblical figure of Samson was a great warrior who fought the Philistines, but lost his strength when he trusted Delilah with the secret of his strength, his hair, and she betrayed him by having it cut off in his sleep.
"That doesn't apply to Gabriel, but the ending of Samson's story does," the fan explains. "Samson is captured by the Philistines, blinded by them, and forced to work grinding corn. But he gets his strength back one more time and breaks the support pillar of the temple, killing many of the Philistines," as well as himself.
"I think it's possible Gabriel might do something like this, perhaps rigging something in the factory to explode, or maybe grabbing a weapon and firing blindly at the Saviors until he's cut down," the user continues.
This is a compelling theory; the Saviors are certainly lower-case philistines who don't appreciate culture and beauty. They only care about colonialism. Gabriel is blind, obviously, and sorting bullets is The Walking Dead's version of grinding grain. Most importantly, Gabriel has lost his strength, which came from his faith. Of course, Samson is most famous for his hair, while Gabriel is bald. Maybe Eugene will get in on this too then, since his power comes from his mullet (Josh McDermitt will fight anyone who suggests he cut his hair, though).
Whether he goes it alone or with help, Father Gabriel has earned the right to a heroic death. Sacrificing himself to help end the war with the Saviors would give him the higher purpose he's in search of. It would allow him to regain his faith at a crucial moment, which is about as happy an ending as The Walking Dead will give a character. Despite all the horrible betrayals he was party to in the past, Gabriel would then be redeemed and potentially be allowed entry to Heaven when he reached the pearly gates.
Or maybe he'll die like a coward like he did in the comics. Either way, it's pretty clear that Father Gabriel won't make it to Season 9.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.