The Walking Dead Season 8 premiere was one of the series' most methodical episodes yet as Rick (Andrew Lincoln) led an attack on Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) Sanctuary to kick off "All Out War." The details of the attack were laid out like clockwork, and what made it so fun to watch was how everything came together without the series holding our hand through the steps.
The communication between Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Dwight (Austin Amelio) via arrow? Awesome. The systematic murder of all the Savior lookouts from Dwight's tips? Ridonkulously cool. The armored cars pulled up to the Sanctuary that formed a bulletproof barrier? So rad. It was exactly what I love to see from The Walking Dead, and the well thought-out plan seemed to be an indicator of what we can expect this season from the big prolonged fight.
That is until Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), the group's resident dummy, got involved and improvised. I'll put my disclaimer up front: I've never like Gabriel. His introduction to the group involved cowardice, backstabbing and — at one point — crying in a corner in the fetal position. This guy had been living through the zombie apocalypse for a year and a half and he's still crying? Come on. Shortly after, he betrayed Rick's group by squealing to Deanna that they were dangerous, complicating things at Alexandria. Also, he told Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) she should blame herself for the deaths of Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and Bob (Larry Gilliard Jr.), goading her into killing him (she didn't, sadly). Reminder: this guy is supposed to be a priest.
Later, he was somewhat redeemed among the fandom (but not me, ever) mostly because he kept a low profile and stopped doing dumb things. Well, y'all should hate him once again because he really messed things up at the end of "Mercy."
Gabriel didn't do much in the episode until things needed screwing up, so in the final moments, he somehow convinced Rick to stop shooting at Negan and let him live. Obviously Negan can't die in the Season 8 premiere, but if we all pretend that this is real and not a television show so there's no need to drag things out, Gabriel talking Rick down from his only goal was brain-bustingly frustrating.
Negan was trapped behind a barricade and exposed vital parts through the holes in the barricade, making him open to gunfire and anyone who has played a first-person shooter knows that's an easy shot. The Saviors weren't shooting back at Rick, so there's no danger there. Only the horde of zombies coming were a problem, but they were far out so there was still time for Rick to finish Negan. But nooooooo. Gabriel told Rick, "It's not about you, right?" I don't know, I've watched this show for more than seven seasons and I'm pretty sure it's about Rick.
So after telling Rick that there was no more time to do anything else, what does Gabriel do? He saw Gregory (Xander Berkeley) begging for help and went to save him. Gregory may be the only character worse than Gabriel, so I was screaming "Noooooooooooooooooo" while this unfurled. And guess what happened? Gregory took off in Gabriel's car, leaving him to die on his own.
You might be saying that Gabriel was being a good Samaritan and living up to his priest's code, but we've seen him not honor that plenty of times, so why would he choose now to be so brave? Since Gabriel didn't spend time at the Hilltop he probably doesn't have a first-hand account of how terrible Gregory is, so maybe he thought he was just a guy that needed saving. Except he just witnessed Gregory's dickish speech to Hilltop members about leaving the fight or watching their families kicked out of the community to fend for themselves. And there's no way everyone in Alexandria didn't know how terrible Gregory was. Gabriel made the choice to save a terrible man's life seconds after saving another terrible man's life.
And the worst part of it all is that Gabriel made us have to listen to Negan say that awful line about "sh***ing pants" again.
I've had too much of Gabriel, and it's amazing the group hasn't been killed because of him. It's time for Gabriel to go.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/87c on AMC.