At the end of this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Dead or Alive or,” Negan hit upon a plan to defeat Rick and the Alexandrians in the All Out War. It is a sinister, evil, and cruel plan, and in case the plan wasn’t obvious, allow us to explain.
Father Gabriel is deathly ill — nearly blind, in fact — and that illness dates all the way back to when Gabriel and Negan escaped the trailer on the Savior compound by covering themselves in zombie guts. Though he was not bitten, the blood from the guts got into his system, likely through a cut or an open wound (or even his eyes).
Now, the thing about zombies, as has been explained on this show, is that the “zombie bite” does not necessarily kill a person. It’s the infection one receives from the bite. It’s why they were able to cut off Hershel’s leg — doing so stopped the spread of the infection. In some cases, as with T-Dog, the zombie bites were damaging enough to kill him. In Carl’s case, the bite on the stomach began the spread of the infection, and there was no way to stop the spread in that location. However, note that Siddiq did offer him some medication to ease the pain.