Examining the Theological References in The Walking Dead Episode 502: “Strangers”

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a theological scholar. My analysis is very broad, and may even be incorrect. I do not intend to imply that the following observations are exactly what the people behind AMC’s The Walking Dead intended to portray. These following observations are neither my beliefs, nor the beliefs of any persons involved with this blog, wordpress.com, AMC, or anyone else who may be involved with the production of The Walking Dead in any way, shape or form.

The church Fr. Gabriel leads is St. Sarah’s.

  • St. Sarah is the patron saint of gypsy people.
    • This can be interpreted that Rick’s group is currently a pack of travelers, gypsies in a way. It could also be hinting toward the group’s eventual travels toward Washington DC.

During a scene of dialogue in the church, multiple bible verses are listed on the hymn board in the background. Most of these verses appear to reference the rising of the dead.

  • Romans 6:4: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
  • Ezekiel 37:7: “So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons.”
  • Matthew 27:52: “- and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.”
  • Revelations 9:6: “During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.”
  • Luke 24:5: “And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said to them, Why seek you the living among the dead?”

In part of the church there are multiple crude drawings, presumably from children of the parish, that summarize the Burning Bush and 40 Years of Wandering.

  • The Burning Bush was a bush that was covered in flames, but not engulfed by fire. It was here that God appointed Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into Canaan.
    • This could be drawing a comparison to Rick leading his followers out of Georgia and toward Washington DC.
  • Moses would wander for 40 years in search of the Promised Land for his people. Moses would then die within view of the Promised Land.
    • This could be referencing Rick leading his followers through years of trials and tribulations, possibly hinting that Rick may perish before the survivors ever find peace.

After fleeing from a walker he recognizes, Fr. Gabriel spreads his arms against a wall, posed like Christ on the cross.

  • I felt as if this symbolism was unnecessary and a little too “on the nose,” not to mention that it may border on offensive for some.
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