Warning: major spoilers for The Walking Dead comics follow.
The biggest mystery coming out of Sunday night’s The Walking Dead midseason 7 premiere (Rock in the Road) was not “Why is Rick smiling?” (although it’s been among the top two). Instead, Father Gabriel is stealing the spotlight with fans wondering where he went when driving out of Alexandria and who popped up in his car just before it got through Alexandria’s gates.
Pulling knowledge from Robert Kirkman’s source material, The Walking Dead comics, we are often able to find a bit of insight regarding mysteries on the AMC series. In this case, however, the incident which saw Father Gabriel being kidnapped in live action was not a part of the comic book’s story.
Gabriel does, however, survive much longer in the books.
Father Gabriel on television has mirrored his comic book counterpart to an extent, in that they both are looking to gain Rick’s trust and become a factor in Alexandria’s leadership.
If you’re worried about Gabriel’s fate, there is no need if he is going to get back on track with the comics. Gabriel does not die until the first issue of the Whisperer War story arc. In fact, it is one of the most brutal deaths in The Walking Dead’s history.
Just as the Whisperers began their march on Alexandria, Gabriel saw their horde approaching from his water tower perch. He promptly rushed down its ladder in an effort to get to the ground and make a path to Alexandria to warn them of the enemy’s arrival. On the way down, however, Gabriel slips and gravity takes over until his leg gets caught in the ladder and the bone rips straight through his leg’s skin. As Gabriel hung defenselessly, the leader of the Whisperers sliced his stomach open and left him to be devoured by the undead which followed.
No one in Alexandria is aware of his death.
Of course, The Walking Dead’s AMC series has taken the liberty of altering character fates when adapted for television…just ask Denise Cloyd.