The Walking Dead: Why Aaron And Gabriel's Trip To The Water Tower Could Spell Disaster
Are we gearing up for a major death?
WARNING: SPOILERS for The Walking Dead 10x19, 'One More'
The third of The Walking Dead's six Season 10 bonus episodes, 'One More', focused on Aaron and Father Gabriel in the middle of an extended supply run, scouting potential food supplies with a map given to them by Maggie.
As often happens in the series, the mission goes awry, as the pair are briefly held hostage by the unstable Mays. Luckily, the pair eventually get back on the road, but rather than heading home as they originally planned, the pair commit to scouting one more building after they spot a water tower in the distance.
In the comics, a Water Tower is the location of one of the comic's most graphic deaths, and fans fear that the tower's sighting in the show is foreshadowing that death.
Father Gabriel in the comics
In the comics, as in the show, Rick Grimes's group first meets Father Gabriel after the fall of the Prison. Gabriel comes into the story when emotions are running high in the group, both with the loss of their home, and the horrible events surrounding the deaths of Ben and Billy (a situation that played out in the show with Carol's surrogate daughters, Lizzie and Mika). After kindly performing a funeral service for the boys, Gabriel is integrated into the group, though Rick remains wary of him.
From here, Gabriel's story plays out much as it did in the show. He travels with the group to the Alexandria Safe-Zone, and while he does turn on them briefly, claiming they should be exiled from the Safe-Zone for their violent acts, he eventually joins Rick and the others in their efforts to save Alexandria when it becomes overrun with Walkers. He plays a relatively small role in the Negan arc, but after the time jump, when the Whisperer War approaches, Gabriel asks to be trained in combat so that he may join Rick's militia.
The Water Tower
As the communities prepare for war, Gabriel is sent to a Water Tower outside Alexandria to keep watch, and let his allies know when the Whisperers are approaching. Unfortunately, Gabriel panicks when he sees the Whisperers with their massive horde of Walkers, and attempts to flee, but falls and breaks his ankle, leaving him dangling from the Water Tower's ladder. Gabriel is discovered by Beta, who slices open his stomach and leaves him to be devoured by Walkers.
Gabriel's remains are discovered by Jesus after the battle is over.
Disaster For Gabriel?
The Water Tower death has been teased a few times throughout the series. The first occasion was during the war with the Saviours, when an Alexandrian lookout was found hanging dead from a tower, and fans briefly feared the death might go to Eugene instead, when he injured his ankle on the radio tower prior to he and Rosita first encountering the Whisperers.
Most recently, the death was hinted at in the original Season 10 finale, 'A Certain Doom', when it was revealed that the old hospital the group were hiding in was known as The Tower. Gabriel stays behind in The Tower to hold The Whisperers off and let his fellow survivors escape, initially leading fans to believe that Gabriel was headed for a more heroic take on his comic book death. However, he was rescued at the last moment by Maggie Rhee and her friend Elijah.
With a few notable exceptions, characters who do bypass their comic book death are usually destined for the chopping block soon after. For example, Abraham dodged his comic book death of a crossbow bolt to the head only to become Negan's first victim. Gabriel, by surviving beyond the Whisperer War, has surpassed his comic death, and also potentially crossed a moral event horizon with the murder of Mays, leading fans to believe that the Water Tower seen at the end of 10x19 is foreshadowing Gabriel's demise.
On the other hand, Gabriel is a very different character now in the show than he was in the comics. So, some fans think that the Tower is a red herring, that Aaron will possibly die instead, or that the Tower is simply a symbolic hint at approaching doom.
There's a lot of speculation to be had, but unfortunately, we probably won't learn anymore about Gabriel or Aaron's fate until Season 11 of The Walking Dead premieres later in the year.