At the time, especially once Beth was spirited away in a car with a cross on the back, we thought that might be the first hint to TV's version of Father Gabriel Stokes, a character in the comics who may be showing up in some version in Season 5 since Seth Gilliam was cast as a series regular and he was seen on set dressed as a priest.
It seemed like the walkers who attacked the house may have even been part of a set-up to push Daryl and Beth out of the house. Maybe that’s all true, but we thought at the time that it might also be a tie into Gabriel’s story, since in the comic books he closed the church door to his parishioners during the outbreak and left them to turn. Were those walkers his departed parishioners?
Maybe a TV version of Gabriel is still tied to the car with the cross, but he was apparently not the person living inside that house. Showrunner Scott Gimple shared the story of the house while on the summer Talking Dead special. He said they developed but didn’t air a whole backstory about a nice old undertaker guy who lived there. “He was taking dead bodies and making them whole before burying them again, as some funeral directors would,” Scott said. “He died on one of these runs in a very actual mundane way: He couldn’t get his nitroglycerin pills in time.”
So, if you ever did, don’t expect to see whoever was living in that house in Season 5. He’s gone. (Was that his dog, too?)
All of these little backstories are fascinating. It’s like that country cub that Beth and Daryl found just before this in Season 4. That backstory — of class warfare — is crying out for its own AMC webisode. Same with the cabin The Governor, Martinez and company stumbled on. We keep wanting to tie everything together, but sometimes a house you find is just a house you find and it has no connection to anything else you’ve come across.
Besides, Gabriel had a church in the comics, not a funeral home, and maybe they’ll stick with that aspect of the comics in Season 5, since we keep seeing church elements. But the big Beth questions still remain: Who was driving that car with the cross? Did they know Beth and Daryl were inside the home and worked to push them out? Why did they take Beth (and not Daryl)? Where is she now? How many cross cars are out there, and what does it all mean? Are they connected to Terminus?
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October on AMC.