Say whatever else one wants to say about the last ten seasons of The Walking Dead, but fans have to give it this much: It never runs out of new kinds of zombies, and it never fails to conjure up new grisly and brutal ways to kill off characters. In this week’s episode, “One More,” viewers were introduced to a new character by the name of Mays played by longtime veteran actor Robert Patrick. Mays introduced a new way to die in the zombie apocalypse, although thankfully, both Gabriel and Aaron were spared from his form of death.
“One Time” acts as a stand-alone episode, and while one might call it a “filler” episode, the episode did what Fear the Walking Dead has done so well recently, which is to tell a intimate character story focused on a small number of individuals. In this case, it was just Aaron and Gabriel, who go out on a supply run using a map Maggie had given them containing spots where supplies might be found. Unfortunately for the duo, they mostly come up empty until they stumble upon what looks like an abandoned building, which isn’t even on Maggie’s map.
In the course of checking out the building, Aaron and Gabriel find two things that compel them to stay the night: (1) A $2,000 bottle of whiskey, and (2) A live boar, which tries to attack Aaron before he takes it down. He and Gabriel make a meal of it and spend the night drinking rare and expensive whiskey while playing cards and shooting the sh*t. It’s here where we find out two things about Gabriel: (1) He has an extensive knowledge of whiskey, and (2) He will never return to preaching because he believes that there is more evil than good among the remaining survivors of the world.
Unfortunately, when Aaron leaves in the middle of the night to take a leak, they discover that the building had not been abandoned but had in fact been occupied by Mays. Mays abducts Aaron and ties him to a chair. Mays also believes that there is more evil than good, and while Aaron and Gabriel try to convince him otherwise — and that Mays should go back with them to their Alexandria community — Mays is determined to prove that everyone only looks about for themselves.
How exactly does Mays decide to illustrate this? With a game of Russian roulette, only there’s a twist. Mays puts one bullet in the chamber, and he gives both Aaron and Gabriel a choice: (1) Point it at their own head, or (2) Point it at the head of the other. And they have to take turns. The person who survives gets to walk. In other words, Gabriel and Aaron have to choose whether to shoot themselves in the head or point the gun at each other.
Much to Mays’ dismay, Gabriel and Aaron insist on pointing the gun at their own temple instead of at each other. In fact, even once Aaron knows that the bullet is in the chamber, he still points the gun at his own temple, because he’d rather kill himself than his friend, even though both men have children to go home to. Mays, however, stops Aaron milliseconds before he pulls the trigger and kills himself, finally convinced that Aaron and Gabriel are right. Maybe there is good in the world, and maybe he can trust them to take him back to their community.
However, just as Mays frees Aaron, Gabriel beats Mays on the head with Aaron’s mace, killing him instantly. “We couldn’t take him with us,” Gabriel says to a stunned Aaron. “He killed his brother’s family!” It is a scene that is both horrific and a little funny in how shocking and sudden Father Gabriel’s attack is. He spent 10 minutes convincing Mays that they wouldn’t hurt him, but as soon as he was given the opportunity, he killed Mays with a quick and fatal blow.
He is not wrong to do so, because after they killed Mays, they find his brother in the attic above. His twin brother (also played by Patrick) is handcuffed to the wall, and beneath him are the corpses of his family.
“He made me play,” the brother says of Mays, and it is evident by the bullet holes in the skulls of the corpses. It looks as though the daughter shot herself in the temple, while Mays’ shot the wife in the head. To be honest, in this scenario, it feels more like a mercy killing. That seems to be the case for Mays’ brother, too, because as soon as he is freed from his handcuffs, he takes the gun and shoots himself. He can’t live with himself, and being forced to live with the corpses of his wife and daughter was no doubt worse than surviving.
It’s a very grim scenario and a grisly way to die. It’s a keen reminder, too, that Gabriel is right: At the moment, anyway, there is more evil than good in the world. As The Walking Dead is introduced to a much bigger slice of the wider world in its final season, we will find out how true that statement remains.