Is Father Gabriel Blind On 'The Walking Dead'? An Infection Is Wreaking Havoc On His Body
Spoilers for the March 11 episode. Since being captured by the Saviors, Father Gabriel has been sick with an illness that has kept him in quarentine, and safe from assassination, for quite some time. While he and Dr. Carson find antibiotics in Sunday's episode, is Father Gabriel blind on The Walking Dead? He's still a survivor, but vision is narrowing.
Whatever infection Gabriel had, or has, clearly damaged his sight quite a bit. Based on the graphics in the episode, he has a very small amount of sight left. Carson tests his vision multiple times during the hour, and it does not improve. The drugs get him back on his feet and feeling better by the end, but his sight is still not what it used to be. Negan puts him to work sorting bullets by hand, because to Negan, that's all he's good for with his current skill set and physical ability.
"I think his faith is destroyed," said "Dead Or Alive Or" director Michael Satrazemis in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "This is the hard stuff. When I read it, I got excited about telling these kind of stories because of the big emotions. That’s what I’m on this planet to do. That one was a tough one. To literally have blind faith and then have it crushed, I don’t think it looks too good for a blind bullet sorter. It’s a rough place to be and he’s right back with the one guy that gave him a chance and it didn’t work out and he wound up right back with him. We’ll see. It definitely had his faith crushed, I believe."
With concepts such as blind faith, blind justice, and second sight out there in our cultural vernacular, it's pretty on the nose to have this man who still believes in higher powers and is bent on finding his true purpose lose his physical vision. That doesn't make it a bad choice, just a choice that's easy to follow. You'd think Gabriel would recognize a test of faith when it happens to him.
His other senses are heightening, too. That, or he's hearing things. A bell that only Gabriel could hear leads him and Carson to the radio operator's house, where he finds the antibiotics that saved his life. Was that bell really there? On one hand, Gabriel also uses his new super-senses to discover that they walked into a trap — just not before Carson literally walks into a trap.
He also doesn't notice the Saviors coming for them until it's too late for him, and especially for Carson. Going forward, the biggest potential problem is that if Gabriel's infection comes back, or spreads, there's no doctor left to treat him.
His bravery heightened, that's for sure. Is it ironic that, in any other circumstance, Gabriel probably would have been too scared to shoot the walker attacking Carson. With his sight all but gone, all bets were off, and he just went for it.
So, Gabriel is not totally blind, at least not yet. He would probably be deemed legally blind by modern medicine, but again that's hard to gauge in this environment. He has light perception and some vision, but no longer feels comfortable behind the wheel of a car.
It'll be interesting to see how The Walking Dead continues to tell this story. Gabriel has never exactly been a hero, but honestly it might be a blessing in disguise that he ended up back in the Sanctuary. Evil as Negan is, it's kind of the safest place for him, and if he puts his mind to it he can do plenty of damage from within the belly of the beast.