|This article is about the TV Series character. You may be looking for his Comic Series or Road to Survival counterparts, or the Woodbury soldier.|
- "I was beginning to lose faith. But then I saw you. And you nodded at me. I mean, just the fact that you knew I didn't leave, that you searched and found me, that you-- seeing these numbers-- you seemed so... glad. We will set things right. But things are gonna get very hard before that time. We have to hold on. I will."
- —Gabriel to Rick Grimes[src]
Gabriel Stokes, also known as Father Gabriel, is a main character and a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead. Prior to the outbreak, he was a priest at St. Sarah's Church. After the onset of the undead apocalypse, he barricaded himself inside for 17 to 18 months, haunted by the memories of leaving his former churchgoers to die, until he joined Rick Grimes' group. Since then, he has hardened more considerably from his meek self, and now serves as one of Rick's most brave and trusted allies.
All that is known about Gabriel's life before the outbreak began is that he was a priest at St. Sarah's Episcopal Church, where he regularly celebrated mass and coordinated fundraisers.
Gabriel is a deeply religious, wise and generally well meaning, but also severely traumatized man. He is shown to have had extreme difficulty adapting to the nature of the post-apocalyptic world and instead retained his Christian faith.
Gabriel was initially shown to be a coward as instead of helping members of his congregation by giving them shelter in his church he refused to let them in (possibly out of fear), resulting in them being devoured alive by the walkers. This event has had a lasting effect on Gabriel and he is extremely damaged and remorseful as a result of it. He believes himself to be a bad person, smitten by God, initially even believing that Rick Grimes' group was sent to punish him.
When he meets Rick's group, Gabriel begins to see the reality of the new world, but remains in disbelief of certain attributes such as that cold blooded murder and even killing of the walkers is a necessary way to survive. He still retains his religious faith even as a result of witnessing true horrors, and is one of the few members of Rick's group who still holds religious faith.
Due to his cowardliness, lack of survival experience and religious nature, many members of the group initially do not seem particularly fond of Gabriel when they meet him, particularly Rick, Sasha Williams, and Maggie Greene. Gabriel, however, also seems to not care for Rick's group much following their massacre of Gareth and his people, as he betrays them to Deanna Monroe of the Alexandria Safe-Zone and warns her that they are dangerous and bad people who have committed unspeakable atrocities. In this sense, Gabriel can also be classified as a hypocrite as he fails to see the irony that he is not a good person either and has also caused atrocities, although this could be seen as a self-serving act, him wishing to exile the only people in the world who know of his sins to secure his place in the community. Whilst Gabriel is talking to Deanna, both are unaware that Maggie is listening nearby, and she shows pure shock and anger in her face towards Gabriel's betrayal and hypocrisy.
After Gabriel finally kills a walker and a suffering man, he turns cold and cruel for a brief period of time towards Sasha, who almost ends up killing him when he throws guilt on her shoulders and insults her deceased brother, Tyreese, but after Maggie defuses the situation, Gabriel eventually feels remorse for his actions and finally gains the forgiveness of Maggie and Sasha.
In Season 6 it is revealed that Gabriel maintains his faith in God, and feels remorse for his betrayal of Rick's group, and is shown searching for forgiveness from Rick's son Carl. Gabriel is shown to have become more confident as he volunteers to help execute Rick's plan to deal with the zombie herd, even though Rick shuts him down. He continues to demonstrate a growing inner strength, asking Carl for lessons on how to use weapons.
After a megaherd of walkers invades Alexandria, Gabriel assists in protecting the group and, when the time comes to leave the house they are holed up in, he promises Rick that once they are outside he will not run or turn back, which Rick acknowledges. In "No Way Out", he keeps his cool as he travels with Rick, Carl, Jessie Anderson, and her sons Ron and Sam amidst the zombie herd. When Rick changes his plan, Gabriel volunteers to take Judith by himself to safety in his Church. He confidently assures Rick that he will keep her safe, and Rick thanks him. Later on Gabriel watches from his church as Rick and other Alexandria residents take to the streets in a last stand against the zombies. He gives Judith to a woman in his congregation, grabs his machete and without hesitation, heads out to join the battle. He explains that their prayers for the salvation of the town have been answered; God has given them the courage to save Alexandria themselves. Through his selfless actions, Gabriel has earned the respect of Rick and redeemed himself from his past, as demonstrated when he battles with the survivors against the horde.
Gabriel has now shown to be brave and fearless as shown when he accompanies Rick and the group to attack a base under the control of the Saviors and personally executes one himself, showing that he is no longer afraid to take matters into his own hands. Gabriel has also shown to be becoming a leader as when Rick and the group leave to take Maggie to the Hilltop, Rick places Gabriel in charge of it's defense and Gabriel promises to not only protect Judith at all costs but Alexandria to, showing that he has now become a determined survivor who will do what it takes to protect those he cares about from danger.
In Season 7, following the death of Glenn Rhee, Gabriel becomes the new moral compass of the group and, using his religious faith and newfound optimism, gives helpful advice to his friends, such as Rick, Spencer Monroe, and Rosita Espinosa, while they are under the rule of Negan and the Saviors. During a visit by Negan, Gabriel remains optimistic of an eventual positive outcome, and says as much to Rick, who tells him that there is no way out. Gabriel, however, remains hopeful. He later counsels Rosita when she becomes obsessed with killing Negan by herself, telling her to have patience so that the group can figure out how to put things right together, and at an opportune time. Though she ultimately ignores his advice and ends up blaming him for her failure and the consequences of her actions, Gabriel calmly and pleasantly tells her that he has no regrets over what he said, and re-iterates his plea.
While Rick and the others are out, Gabriel is ambushed within Alexandria by a member of a mysterious group called The Scavengers, and is taken hostage. When his friends discover him and are assaulted, he holds one of his captors at knife point and successfully manages to convince them to listen to Rick's proposition of an alliance to fight the Saviors, demonstrating his new-found resolve and determination. After the deal is made, he thanks Rick for believing in him and coming to his aid,and Rick tells Gabriel that he was what convinced him that enemies can become friends.
Later, The Saviors and The Scavengers invaded Alexandria, and Gabriel was present alongside Alexandria's inhabitants fighting against them. As the battle draws to a close, he fires his machine gun against Negan's truck, although Negan manages to escape, much to his frustration.
Father Gabriel is first seen lying on top of a rock, kicking at walkers and yelling for help, and is rescued by Rick Grimes and his group. The group seeks refuge at Gabriel's church, although Rick tells his son Carl that he doesn't trust Gabriel. Gabriel, Rick, Bob Stookey, Sasha Williams, and Michonne set off to find a food bank with supplies that Gabriel cannot get into as it was overrun by walkers. While in the flooded basement, Gabriel seems to be focused on a female walker with glasses and refuses to kill her, trying to run up the stairs which rot and give away. Gabriel is ultimately saved by Rick, who figures out that Gabriel knew the walker as they head back to the church. While the group celebrates the decision to head to Washington, D.C., with Abraham Ford for their survival, Rick threatens to kill Gabriel if his sins end up hurting his "family" in any way. Gabriel pulls out a photograph of himself and the woman whom he saw as a walker at the food bank and prays over it.
Gabriel is threatened by Rick and Sasha, finding it suspicious that three members (Daryl Dixon, Carol Peletier, and Bob) have gone missing right after he shows up. Gabriel denies any involvement in their absence and ties to an outside group. After being forced by Rick when he asks what happened to that woman he saw as a walker and the "You'll burn for this" marking on the side of the church, Gabriel admits that he kept the church doors locked at the onset of the outbreak and refused to open them for members of his congregation who had come for refuge from the apocalypse at his church, being forced to listen to them screaming for help as they were devoured by walkers, and that he believes Rick's group has been sent to kill him as he is damned. Gabriel offers to help Rick and the group find the elementary school where Gareth's group is hiding out when they drop an injured Bob off at the churchyard, but ultimately stays behind with Carl, Eugene Porter, Rosita Espinosa, Rick's infant daughter Judith, Sasha's brother Tyreese, and Bob when the Terminus survivors enter the church. After the Terminus survivors are all massacred when they are ambushed by the survivors who went looking for the elementary school, Gabriel is shocked that they would kill people in a house of God. The following night, he is seen talking to Michonne outside the church. He tells her that she hears the voices of the people he locked out. Michonne tells him that the voices won't stop, but they won't be heard all the time. Michonne hears rustling in the bushes, and quickly Gabriel runs back inside the church.
After Daryl's return, Gabriel watches as the survivors begin barricading his church with wood from the pews and pipes from his church organ. He asks Daryl if they would be using the cross as well; Daryl simply responds, "If we need it." He is left behind with Michonne, Carl, and Judith while the others head off to rescue the kidnapped Beth Greene and Carol. While Michonne and Carl board up the front door, he notices dried blood splatters caked deep into the wood floor - remnants of the recent slaughter. He desperately tries to clean the blood out, during which Carl brings out some weapons for him to choose, telling Gabriel that they are likely to leave and that he has to learn to defend himself. Gabriel picks up a machete, and when Carl tries to teach him how to wield it he feigns sickness and heads to his office, where he secretly begins using the machete to pry out the floorboards and escape. Michonne knocks on his door later to see if he is all right and offer counseling if he needs it, which Gabriel nervously appreciates before locking the door again and finishing his work. He crawls out from underneath the church and to the outside, but accidentally steps on a nail on the ground outside, forcing him to limp away. He soon fights off a female walker and impales her on a narrow tree stump, but stops short of killing it when he sees a necklace with a gold cross hanging from its neck. Gabriel walks away, tormented by the sight.
Gabriel goes to the infested school building where the Terminus gang camped outside; he finds Mary's personal Bible and the rotting and burnt remnants of Bob's leg over the extinguished campfire. He is disgusted by what he sees and breaks down crying, having finally realized the brutal reality of this new world. He is forced to flee when the walkers trapped in the building finally bust out and give chase. He leads them back to the church, where he begs Michonne and Carl to let him back in. The pair break down the door but the rescue allows the small herd to enter the building. They escape through the hole Gabriel made in his office, then barricade the walkers inside the church. They wait outside and watch as the walkers begin to break down the doors, but Abraham's group suddenly arrive in the firetruck to block them back in again. Michonne informs Maggie that her sister is still alive and they all drive over to Grady Memorial Hospital, where Gabriel and the others see Rick's rescue team exit with Beth's body.
Gabriel is seen reading a passage of the Bible at the beginning of the episode, while the group is burying a then unknown person. He is then seen again near the end of the episode, when the scene is played again, but this time revealing the grave is Tyreese's.
Gabriel is seen with the group in this episode, talking to a depressed Maggie and telling her that he understands her pain and he is there if she ever wants to talk about her father Hershel or Beth. Maggie instead coldly says that he doesn't know shit about her pain and that he did not know Hershel or Beth, bringing up Gabriel's cowardice by hiding and shutting out members of his flock from the church. After Sasha kills a pack of dogs who were preparing to attack the group and after they barbecue them for consumption, Gabriel pulls off his clerical collar and drops it into the fire. Soon after it rains, and he becomes remorseful after burning it, saying, "Sorry, my Lord."
When the storm approaches the group, he and the rest reside within a barn Daryl found located near the road they were walking along on. He is seen sitting down and again when the entire tries desperately to block off a group of walkers from entering the barn they were settling in as the storm wreaked havoc outside. He is also seen in the next morning, asleep along the others after the chaos the night before.
Gabriel is first seen in the barn watching as Aaron, who reveals himself as a recruiter for a community called Alexandria, is led inside. He witnesses Rick bound and interrogate him. When Maggie's husband Glenn Rhee, Maggie herself, Michonne, Abraham, and Rosita are sent out to see if Aaron's telling the truth about there only being two vehicles in the area, Gabriel remains behind. Later on, Gabriel is present as the group travels to Alexandria. When the RV's battery runs out, Gabriel is seen standing behind Carl as Glenn fixes it. Eventually, the group reaches the gates of Alexandria and is content, Gabriel included.
Gabriel is briefly seen when the group arrives in Alexandria, in the background when the group is handing over their guns and again together with the rest of the group in the house.
Gabriel appears in the beginning of this episode angrily tearing pages out of a Bible after seeing a gift from a citizen called Rosemary. He is then seen towards the end of the episode talking to Deanna and recounting how Satan disguised himself as the angel of light, which he relates to Rick and his group being evil disguised as light and that they've done terrible things and they don't deserve paradise because of this, also stating that they are dangerous. Unbeknownst to Gabriel, Maggie is listening to Gabriel's warning from the basement steps.
Gabriel first appears at the gates of Alexandria as Spencer Monroe lets him out. Gabriel claims he wishes to take a quick walk, and leaves the community. Gabriel then approaches a zombie distracted by eating a corpse, and calls out to it, saying "I'm ready!", intending to let the walker kill him. He then notices the corpse the walker was eating to be moving, notifying that the person has just reanimated. The walker turns and approaches him, and, even though he knew that it was not human, he still found it emotionally difficult to kill it. He rips its head off and smashes its head in with a rock, killing it. He then neared the zombified man and crushed his head in too. Due to this emotional trial, he breaks down on the road and cries. He then returns to the community where Spencer asks if his walk around outside the community was okay, Spencer then tells if he could close the gate himself and makes a halfhearted attempt to close the gate, failing to shut it properly. At night, he declines attending the gathering and instead goes into the chapel. He finds Sasha there, requesting emotional guidance, which he coldly denies her. He then taunts her over her sins causing Bob's and Tyreese's deaths. Sasha angrily strikes him and threatens to kill him, and he is entirely unconcerned over it. Maggie intervenes and stops Sasha, to which Gabriel tells her she made a mistake in not letting Sasha kill him. Maggie convinces both of them to pray with her.
Gabriel is first seen having a conversation with Deanna, who tells him that he was wrong about Rick's group. When Rick needed volunteers to carry out his plan to lure the quarry herd away from Alexandria, Gabriel tries to volunteer, but Rick instantly declines his offer after his betrayal to him and his group.
Gabriel is first seen approaching Carl as he is walking Judith. He apologizes for saying bad things about the group and insists on wanting to learn how to survive. Carl tells Gabriel that he should tell everyone. Before walking off, Carl arranges a meeting with him. He tells Gabriel to come by at 3 o'clock to learn how to use a machete.
Later on, Gabriel is seen when the Wolves attack Alexandria. He attempts to flee from one of the attackers, but falls. The Wolf is about to execute him when Morgan Jones saves him by knocking the attacker unconscious. Gabriel then watches as Morgan bounds him and then watches as Carol shoots the subdued Wolf.
Gabriel is seen placing posters for a prayer service at 1:00 by the solar panels up but Rick coldly rips them down when he, Carl and Ron walk by heading for gun training, showing that he still despises him for his betrayal of him. Gabriel in response simply places new ones up.
Gabriel is later seen giving his prayer service by the solar panels as the burned watchtower falls down destroying a large portion of Alexandria's walls.
After the walls crumbled, Rick yells for everyone to flee to their houses. After Gabriel's prayer circle attendees scatter, he regroups with Michonne, Carl, and Ron to help Rick and an injured Deanna. As they are nearly overwhelmed by zombies in the streets, Jessie steps in and shoots some of the horde before she ushers them to rush to her house.
After the fight between Carl and Ron which causes the zombies to stream to the garage, Gabriel and the rest are shoving a couch in order to block the walkers from entering. Later, he, Jessie, Ron, Michonne and Carl watch as the herd finally begins to infest most of the streets of Alexandria. Afterwards, he helps the others keep the herd at bay as they begin to force their way in through their makeshift defenses but are forced to retreat upstairs as the walkers finally breach in. When Rick instructs them to smear on guts to camouflage themselves, Gabriel asks what should they do with Deanna as Michonne walks up and checks on her for the last time.
As they are preparing to leave, Gabriel tells Rick no matter what will happen outside he will not give up and run away in which Rick replies "I know", indicating he has possibly forgiven him. Gabriel is then among with the group, smeared with guts, standing outside on Jessie's front porch as they look out on the massive horde before continuing to pass by them.
Gabriel appears when the group is seen still walking through the herd, when Rick announces that they will need to go for the cars to drive the herd away back to the quarry. He volunteers to take Judith to his church to keep her safe, Rick thanks him for it. After that time he is seen again inside the church with the remaining Alexandrians and watches as Rick and the others fight the oncoming horde, he then does the unthinkable, he gives Judith to Anna and picks up his machete and tells the Alexandrians that they can keep Alexandria safe because God gave them the courage to do so and runs outside killing walkers. After the attack, he is shown in brief montage clips hacking and slashing away, this results in him surviving and winning the fight with the others.
Gabriel is among the townspeople sitting inside the church as Rick gives them a speech about attacking The Saviors. He is part of Rick's group to head off to the Savior's compound. When they all stop on the road to format a perimeter, Gabriel is seen walking out of a vehicle, strapped with a rifle on his shoulder. When Rick asks why Gabriel is still wearing his priest garment, he replies that he is still who he is and jokingly adds that it would be harder for the Saviors to see him in the dark which Rick laughs and pats him in the shoulder. As the other members break in and infiltrate the Saviors' outpost, Gabriel and Tara remain inside the vehicle alongside Jesus, Andy and Craig. When they hear the alarm, Gabriel, Tara and Jesus rush to help the others as Andy and Craig, told by Tara to drive back to the Hilltop to seal the deal. Outside, Gabriel loads his rifle and spots an injured Savior, lying on the ground. He recites a prayer and proceeds to shoot him. In the morning, after the bloody gunfight, Gabriel and the rest of the group are outside the building when a Savior tries to escape with a motorcycle which Daryl recognizes as his. After they capture the Savior, a woman's voice can be heard from his walkie-talkie, ordering Rick to lower his gun. She tells them that they've got Carol and Maggie with them. Gabriel and the rest remain on guard as they wait what will happen.
Gabriel arrives with Rick and the group rescuing Carol and Maggie. He moves forward to see if there are any other Saviors left in the building.
Gabriel is seen patrolling the streets of Alexandria.
When Rick and the group leave to escort Maggie to the Hilltop, Rick trusts Gabriel to look after Judith and Alexandria. Gabriel reassures Rick that he will do all he can to keep Judith safe. As Rick leaves, Gabriel proudly stands tall, and watches his friends leave.
Gabriel briefly appears in a dream sequence with the rest of the group at Alexandria having dinner outside.
When Negan inquires about Maggie’s whereabouts, Gabriel approaches and asks if Negan wants to pay his respects. Negan asks if Maggie didn’t make it. Rick says nothing but shakes his head hesitantly. Gabriel leads Negan to the graveyard where Glenn, Abraham and supposedly Maggie are buried.
Later, Gabriel, Rick and Aaron search Spencer’s house for the missing guns. Rick commends Gabriel on his Maggie ruse with Negan earlier at the graveyard: “It was quick thinking. Thank you.” Gabriel is optimistic that they will prevail in the end, referring to the fact that there was a time when they once weren’t friends, despite Rick's insistence that there is no way out.
Gabriel and Spencer drive up to the gates to find Rosita and Eugene preparing to leave. Gabriel suggests they all travel together, but Rosita and a reluctant Eugene leave on their own.
Out on the road, Spencer asks Gabriel if it is a sin to hate someone. Gabriel tells him it is not, and Spencer confesses that he hates Rick. He says he is a bad leader and hopes he doesn’t make it back from his supply run. A shocked Gabriel asks him to stop the car. He reaffirms his belief in Rick and calls Spencer a “tremendous shit”, but that he doesn’t have to be eternally. He gets out of the car and starts walking back to Alexandria alone.
In the church, Gabriel urges Rosita to refrain from attacking Negan by herself. He agrees that Negan needs to die, but recommends she wait for the right moment so the community can take him down together.
Gabriel and some of the other residents gather round as Spencer and Negan play pool in the street. He watches in horror as Negan disembowels Spencer, and is horrified when Olivia is shot in the face by Arat as punishment for Rosita’s attempt to kill Negan.
At night, Gabriel keeps watch at the gate, unaware that someone is watching him through binoculars. The dark figure then heads towards Alexandria.
Gabriel reads his bible during his night shift at the Alexandria gate. He stares into the darkness, a worried expression on his face, and leaves his post.
In the pantry, Gabriel hurriedly fills crates with food and weapons. His bible falls to the ground as he skims through the weapons registry with shaky hands. He loads the crates into a car and leaves Alexandria. A dark figure is visible in the passenger seat.
Gabriel is first seen when Tamiel retrieves him after he was kidnapped along with Alexandria's supplies. During a brief fight between Rick and the Scavengers, Gabriel holds Tamiel at knife-point and threatens to kill Tamiel if they are not let go. He tells Jadis the Saviors have lots of things that they want, and if they join them they will be rewarded more than they can imagine. Jadis says they want something now, and Gabriel says that Rick can do anything.
Back at the junkyard, Gabriel explains to Rick that he heard a noise in the pantry and was jumped and the woman was angry because she didn’t get the supplies from the boat so made him pack up everything else. He said he hoped Rick knew what he meant by boat and Rick credits him for getting them there. Gabriel says they will set things right but things will get hard before that time comes. He asks Rick why he was smiling, and Rick tells him that someone showed him enemies can become friends.
Gabriel is shown at the church. Rosita visits him and she yells at him for dissuading her from killing Negan, even though it might have gotten her killed. Gabriel patiently defends himself; he argues that the rest of the group still needs her.
Gabriel accompanies the others in delivering the guns to Jadis and her group. They looks defeated when Jadis says it is not enough and they need nearly twice as many. Rick insists on keeping 20 guns to help them in their search for more. Jadis agrees.
Gabriel accompanies Rick and the others to Oceanside. As they round up the residents, Gabriel reassures them that nobody has to get hurt. He helps the others defeat the incoming walkers.
Later, when the group is gathering the guns, Gabriel asks if it is really necessary to take them all. Rick insists that it is.
Gabriel presides over Sasha’s funeral in the graveyard, and afterwards, listens to Rick's speech.
Gabriel travels to the Sanctuary with Rick and everyone to attack Negan and the Saviors. Gabriel tries to leave the Sanctuary but then spots Gregory in need to help, so he gives him a hand, but Gregory leaves Gabriel behind by taking his car and driving off. Gabirle rushes to safety to escape the walkers and find a trailer house. Inside he finds Negan there as the trailer house is surronded by the dead.
This list shows the victims Gabriel has killed:
- The character was announced on May 5, 2014 under the name "Michael Todd", described as a "school guidance counselor who had an issue with a couple of his students", until the casting was revealed at SDCC on July 25, 2014.
- Gabriel Stokes is described as "having two sides, displaying a friendly, puckish humor but also having a haunted side stemming from a dark secret".
- This dark secret was revealed to be him not letting his fellow survivors in the church out of fear in the early days of the outbreak.
- As of Hearts Still Beating, Gabriel, Aaron and Enid are the only remaining main characters introduced in Season 5.