While slowly (very slowly) building the alliance and the premises to an all-out war, The Walking Dead introduced yet another less-than-secondary character, this time a minor antagonist. Actually, he already appeared in The Well, but he wasn’t named by then. Anyway, the leader of the Saviors‘ cell taking care of The Kingdom‘s tributes, in New Best Friends, is revealed to be Gavin, portrayed by Jayson Warner Smith. In the show, he’s apparently reasonable, especially considering the average of his group, while in the comics there’s really not much to say about him, being the result of some British guy winning a contest and appearing in the series as a Savior as reward. Not much is something nevertheless, so let’s take a look at the original guy.
Pretty much nothing is known about Gavin’s early life, not even his surname (albeit the guy who inspired him is called Gavin Meakings). He probably lived in the State of Washington or in Virginia, but it’s unknown whether he had any family of what his job was. What we do know is that he was in his twenties when the Outbreak began, and he was among the few ones surviving the first days during which the dead started rising to consume and infect the living, and society rapidly collapsed, leaving the remaining living people in a state of anarchy and in a constant fight for survival. Albeit it’s likely Gavin was with a group, it’s unknown what he did and where he went at first, but being it a way or another, he ended up in The Sanctuary, a huge abandoned factory now occupied by The Saviors, a large group of well-armed and well-organised people. The Saviors were ruled by a psychopathic tyrant, Negan, who decided of the death and the life of his subordinates and of the many communities falling under his authority, but at least he guaranteed a decent life to the ones loyal to him. Inside The Sanctuary, you could chose to live there as a slave, working to progress into the social ladder, or to join the Saviors’ militia, hoping to survive the missions against communities of living people and herds of dead ones, but gaining a lot of privileges from the status of “soldiers”. Healthy and able to fight, Gavin obviously chose the second option, and became a Savior.
Gavin managed to climb the ladder even among the Saviors, and for some reason he became one of Negan’s trusted men. When a new community, the Alexandria Safe-Zone, fell under Negan’s dominion, one of the residents who didn’t accept the “deal”, actually just a kid named Carl, infiltrated The Sanctuary and tried to kill Negan. Despite managing to kill a couple of Saviors, Carl was obviously captured, and Negan decided to use him as leverage to convince his father, Rick, the leader of Alexandria, to be more cooperative; first, he had to give back the son to his father, unharmed, to show his “good intentions”, and Gavin was chosen to be among the ones present at the moment of the “new deal”. When Rick arrived, worried for his son, it was Gavin who was tasked with holding the lively kid, preventing him to escape or to do something stupid (like he had already done before) while Negan and Rick discussed. Rick wasn’t exactly in a talkative mood, and he attacked Negan, wanting his son back. Gavin and the others were about to intervene, but they were stopped by their boss, who wouldn’t allow Rick to punch him in front of his men to be saved by them: it was a matter of reputation. After beating the crap out of Rick with his own hands, Negan was finally able to make a new accord with him, and ordered Gavin to release the boy. The two groups came back to their respective bases, with peace finally restored between The Sanctuary and Alexandria Safe-Zone… or so it seemed: Rick, in reality, started preparing an all-out war of the communities against the Saviors, and Gavin would have had to be ready for it, as it would have been a difficult fight even for a powerful and numerous group such as the one he was a part of…
Gavin is a remorseless and loyal Savior, a man always ready to follow the orders of his leader, Negan, with little or no doubts in doing also horrible things to assure himself a decent life in the post-apocalyptic world. A skilled combatant, he’s a good fighter with guns and blades alike, as most of the Saviors. As the battle between good and evil has become a sheer quest for survival, Gavin has no problem in chosing to follow a clearly bad guy, as long as he grants him a longer life.