|This article is about the TV Series character. You may be looking for his Comic Series counterpart.|
- "I want to explain myself a little. You see, we didn't want to hurt you... before. We didn't want to pull you away from your group or scare you. These aren't things we want to do. They're things we gotta do. You and your people took away our home. That's fair play. Now we're out here like everybody else trying to survive. And in order to do that, we have to hunt. Didn't start that way, eating people. It evolved into that. We evolved. We had to. And now we've devolved, into hunters... I just hope you understand that nothing happening to you now is personal. Yeah, you put us in this situation and it is almost kind of a cosmic justice for it to be you, but... we would have done this to anybody. We will. But at the end of the day, no matter how much we hate all this ugly business... A man's gotta eat. (...) If it makes you feel any better... You taste much better than we thought you would. "
- —Gareth to Bob Stookey while eating his leg[src]
Gareth is a main character and an antagonist, as well as a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead. He is the leader of Terminus and serves as the secondary antagonist of the second half of Season 4 and one of the two primary antagonists of the first half of Season 5 (along with Dawn Lerner).
Gareth is shown to be an articulate, philosophical, cunning and devious man with a puckish and sarcastic sense of humor, who will take extreme measures to stay alive by resorting to one of the most desperate means of survival, cannibalism, and no longer sees any good left in the post apocalyptic world. Gareth is shown to be a completely remorseless survivor who seems to lack empathy for human beings in general as seen when he allowed his own brother's corpse to be dissected for food, however, Gareth seems to still show care for his family as he does show slight signs of grief for the deaths of his mother and brother.
Before his transformation into the villainous leader of Terminus, Gareth was shown to have been a good, generous man who was willing to help others to survive by inviting them to live at the sanctuary of Terminus. However, it was only after the brutal attack on Terminus by an unknown violent gang of survivors that Gareth devolved from the good person he was into a cunning leader and murderer for his own people's benefit. Gareth believes that there is no good left in the world following this horrific ordeal and has deluded himself and his people into thinking that if they were to attempt to be good people, they would only succeed in making themselves vulnerable. Gareth seems to believe that the atrocities that he has committed can be justified due to the severe trauma inflicted on him during his imprisonment and torture at the hands of the rapists and evolved into the man he is in order to ensure that similar atrocities would never occur again. However, this decision made Gareth and his people to be just as bad as, if not worse than the people who tortured them, classifying Gareth and his people as being hypocrites. It is evident that Gareth sees himself to be beyond redemption as when Bob suggest that Eugene can supposedly restore humanity Gareth responds to the idea that he and his people can ever go back to being the good people they used to be by saying "Can't go back, Bob."
Despite his claims that everything he and his people do is because they have to, Gareth is shown to take some sadistic pleasure in what he does such as taunting and gloating to Bob as he eats a piece of his leg right in front of his face and also discussing of how the anatomies of females make them better for eating and that he can't wait to get a taste of Carol Peletier. It is also hinted that he and his people enjoy eating children and babies too as shown when Judith cried and inadvertently gave away Rick's group's hiding place to Gareth and his group, and Gareth smiled and remarked, "I don't know, maybe we'll keep the kid. I'm starting to like this girl" (although he may have meant he was planning to raise Judith to be a cannibal like him and his people.)
Despite his calm, cunning and sadistic personality, Gareth is also shown to be somewhat of a coward and a weakling. This is particularly shown when he and his fellow hunters are ambushed by Rick and his group at St. Sarah's church, where, after Rick shoots off two of Gareth's fingers, Gareth seems to easily surrender and begs Rick for mercy, despite the fact that he himself showed no mercy towards Rick and his group when he had them imprisoned and was about to have them slaughtered in cold-blood for food. This shows that Gareth is a pathetic and disgraceful person completely blind to the fact that his actions were too cruel for anyone to show the slightest bit of mercy.
In the end, Gareth devolved from being a good man who wanted to help innocent people into a man capable of murdering them without remorse for his own benefit. Perhaps his only redeeming quality was that as far as he was concerned, he was looking out for the well-being of his group in his own twisted way due to his deluded belief that they had to become cannibals in order to survive, but his decision to convince his group to become the way they became in order to survive, ironically, led to their deaths.
At some point after the Outbreak, Gareth helped set up the sanctuary known as Terminus. In the beginning, Gareth was a good man who only wanted to help people, as were the rest of the group who put up signs directing survivors to the sanctuary. However, they learned the hard way that not everyone who had survived the outbreak was a good person when an unknown gang of violent men saw the signs that directed them to Terminus. For reasons that were never specified, the gang murdered some of the Terminus residents and imprisoned others, including Gareth, in train cars, also raping all of the women there.
Eventually however, (after weeks of imprisonment, according to Mary) Gareth and the others somehow managed to turn the tables on their attackers and overpower them, reclaiming Terminus, but their trauma at the hands of the rapists dangerously twisted all of their minds, particularly Gareth's. They killed all of the rapists (most likely after torturing them) except for the leader, who they mentally (and presumably physically) tortured into insanity by locking him up in a train car and leaving him to rot. Hunger drove Gareth and the others (presumably as a result of having the rapists eat their supplies during their imprisonment) to cannibalize the rapists they killed, further twisting their minds.
After this, Gareth decided that there was no good left in the world and convinced his fellow surviving Terminants that by being good people, they were only making themselves vulnerable. Thus came Gareth's decision that from that moment forwards, only survivors who were willing to accept cannibalism as a means to survive would be welcome to Terminus and anyone who came to the sanctuary but refused to adapt to this lifestyle was imprisoned, slaughtered and eaten on Gareth's orders, who described himself as giving all newcomers a choice: "You join us...or you feed us."
Gareth appears in the large factory room that Rick Grimes, his son Carl, Daryl Dixon, and Michonne go inside of after sneaking into Terminus. Gareth questions them, asking if they are there to rob them, which they respond to and then if they are there seeking sanctuary. He orders them to drop their weapons and Alex frisks them. Gareth warns the four of them not to try anything stupid and has Alex show them around Terminus. Rick, after noticing the Terminus members possessing several items belonging to members of the prison group such as Daryl's poncho, Hershel Greene's pocket watch, the riot gear, and the orange hitchhiker's bag, Rick takes Alex and holds a gun at his head demanding to know where their people are and why their group has the pocket watch, riot gear and poncho. Gareth lies, claiming to have taken the riot gear off of a dead cop and that they found the poncho on a clothesline. After a Terminus resident accidentally shoots and kills Alex while aiming at Rick, a shootout ensues and Rick, Carl, Daryl, and Michonne flee, only to be stopped when Terminus residents line up along the outside of the fence at the back entrance with guns pointed at them. Gareth orders the four of them to lower their weapons. After this, Gareth calls them by specific code-names to walk towards the boxcar: Rick (Ringleader), Daryl (Archer), Michonne (Samurai), and Carl (Kid) in that order.
Gareth appears as Rick, Daryl, Bob Stookey, and Glenn Rhee are gagged and leaned over a trough in a building adjacent to the train car "A". Gareth enters, interrupting one of the Terminus guards just as he is about to knock out Glenn, asking for the "shell count" from them. After hearing muffled sounds from Bob, he reluctantly pulls down Bob's gag, after which Bob pleads that there is another way to resolve everything, and that they have plans to fix everything, telling him one group member of theirs, Eugene Porter, knows a cure and they have to get him to Washington. Gareth ignores this, telling him "Can't go back, Bob", shortly before putting Bob's gag back in. He then questions Rick about the bag of guns he had hidden earlier, which Rick describes the contents of in detail, including a red-handled machete, which he vows to kill Gareth with. Gareth, untaunted, simply laughs at the threat. Gunfire is soon heard after, interrupting Gareth and the guards again. Carol Peletier, not seen at first, then blows a hole in the gasoline tank outside, and lights it using a firecracker, creating a massive explosion that draws Gareth outside.
Gareth is later seen as the group escapes, and is shot in the arm by Rick as he lays down cover fire for the other escaping members of his group.
Gareth is seen at the end of the episode (although it is likely he was watching the group as they camped out in the woods prior) after his group knocks Bob unconscious. As Bob awakens, Gareth says that Bob is not dead yet and says the Terminus group never intended to hurt anyone, but now his hand has been forced after the shootout and the loss of Terminus. Bob looks down to find his left leg amputated, which is now cooking over the fire for Gareth and several Terminants to feast on.
Gareth continues talking to Bob until Bob reveals that he was bitten, allowing Gareth and his group to realize that they have eaten infected meat. Infuriated, Gareth then knocks Bob unconscious and leaves him near the church entrance for Rick's group to recover him. Later, he and his group watch Rick leave the church with a posse before approaching quietly and breaking in, taunting the remaining survivors that are sheltering in Gabriel's office. Rick and his posse, having snuck back inside, ambush Gareth by killing two of his men with a suppressed pistol, then shooting off two of his fingers, forcing him and the others to surrender. Now at Rick's mercy, Gareth begs him to let them go and tries desperately to justify his cannibalism and the cruelty Rick had witnessed. Rick, unwilling to risk letting Gareth harm others, brutally hacks him to death with a red-handled machete--as he had promised him earlier. He is later buried by Tyreese Williams along with the other Terminus members that were murdered.
As Tyreese is slowly dying, he has a flashback to witnessing Rick killing Gareth back in "Four Walls and a Roof".
After the Terminus survivors are ambushed at St. Sarah's Church, Gareth asks Rick why he didn't shoot and kill him a couple moments ago. Rick replies that that he didn't want to waste any bullets. Gareth tells Rick that he doesn't know what it's like to be hungry and pleads that if they are let go, their paths will never cross again.
Rick denies Gareth's request, pulls out his red-handled machete, fulfilling his promise and hacks Gareth to death.
This list shows the victims Gareth has killed:
- Alex (Indirectly Caused)
- Sam (Caused)
- At least 3 Terminus captives (Caused)
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed people (Caused or Direct)
- "No Sanctuary"
- "Four Walls and a Roof"
- "What Happened and What's Going On" (Flashback, Corpse)
- Gareth is the third major recurring antagonist in the TV Series, the first being Shane Walsh, the second being The Governor, and the fourth being Negan.
- Out of the four major recurring antagonists, Gareth has the shortest lifespan with a total of only 4 episodes alive (he appeared as a corpse and also as a flashback in "What Happened and What's Going On").
- Also, while all four of the major recurring antagonists are part of the main cast, Gareth is the only one of the four that is listed under "Also Starring".
- Gareth is also the only major recurring antagonist to not directly kill a living survivor on-screen.
- Gareth has the least number of appearances for a main character, only appearing in 4 episodes alive.
- In an interview with Yahoo! regarding the Season 4 mid-season finale, Robert Kirkman revealed that Gareth will be a twist on a known comic character, but he would not reveal any more details.
- Despite actor Andrew J. West's status as a series regular, Gareth has the shortest lifespan for a main character in the television series, since he only appears in 5 episodes.
- Out of the five episodes, only three episodes (his appearances in Season 5) feature Gareth as a main character.
- Gareth is also the first series regular to appear in all the episodes he is credited in.
- Gareth is the first series regular to die while being credited under "Also Starring", the second being Bob Stookey, the third being Deanna Monroe, the fourth being Jessie Anderson, the fifth being Spencer Monroe, the sixth being Simon and the seventh being Gregory.
- Ross Marquand, who plays Aaron, and Daniel Bonjour, who played Aiden Monroe, originally auditioned for the role of Gareth.
- In the original Comic Con trailer for Season 5, there is a scene where Gareth says to Rick, "We're gonna get to Washington, and we are gonna cure this thing.", which never actually happens in the season.
- This was most likely to mislead fans into thinking that Gareth and the people of Terminus would become allies, and that Gareth and his people wouldn't have died as early as they did.