Holy sh*t the amount of foreshadowing in this episode.
As the season has progressed we’ve seen each akuma become stronger than the one before it. There was also a notable progression in akuma ability last season. While the earlier incarnations (Bubbler, Pigeon etc) still posed some degree of danger, it’s fair to say those towards the end (Pixelator, Antibug, Volpina) were a greater risk.
This progression mirrors the change in Gabriel’s disposition. The stronger an akuma becomes, the greater the chance it will be able to overpower him, thus turning into a potentially fatal threat. It’s very telling of his character, a true believer in “the ends justify the means”. He overestimates his strengths and that will inevitably be his downfall—or the cause of great destruction to those around him.
And this is why Adrien is in greater danger than ever before.
Gabriel is not just gambling with himself—the threat to his son’s safety is very real too. As Gabriel’s desperation grows, so do his reckless decisions. In Riposte he decides to risk the akumatization of Kagami, with the knowledge she would pursue and attack Adrien. As mentioned the greater the strength, the less he is able to control. Kagami’s were fencing abilities magnified in her akumatized form—there were moments where she not only over-powered the duo, but almost killed Adrien as well (slicing the moving vehicle he was in, destroying the sarcophagus etc.).
Towards the end of Robostus Marinette asks Master Fu if it were possible for someone to use both the cat and ladybug miraculous simultaneously. We learned in the origin episodes that combining the pair will lead to absolute power—now more light was shed on what the results of doing so would be. Marinette then asks something along the lines of;
“But with power like that we could do so much good; like end poverty, stop wars and finally defeat Hawkmoth!”
Master Fu quickly shot down the thought, stating that the cat and bug miraculous must remain separate to sustain cosmic order and balance. He goes on to say; had Robustus obtained the absolute power to make himself human, it would have resulted in the sacrifice of another life.
According to speculation, Mrs. Agreste is presumably dead or missing. Gabriel seeks to reverse and/or bring her back by obtaining the absolute power of the miraculous. I suspect if he manages to do so, his success would result in a loss equivalently great. The loss of someone he cares for just as much.
And that is why Adrien Agreste is in more danger than ever before.
While Gabriel is the world’s shittiest father, I don’t think he would purposely exchange his son’s life for his wife’s. I think he doesn’t understand the consequences of what he intends to do—and as mentioned that will be his downfall.
However, his list of people he isn’t willing to let go probably ends after Adrien. I don’t think he would hesitate in the case of someone else—the only other person of significance I can think of would be Marinette/LB.