If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: A close look at Negan and the lives of the Saviors during the conflict through a familiar set of eyes. (IMDB)
Writers: David Leslie Johnson and Angela Kang
Director: Michael E. Strazemis
Running Time: 51mins
Now we finally get some resolution to the cliffhanger from the premiere. This may be the 5th episode of the season but their excuse is that all of these events are happening simultaneously so it hasn’t really been that much time. The “Big Scary U” refers to the big scary unknown and there is definitely a lot of it here.
The episode also gave us a different perspective with the Saviors. The start flashed back to the meeting they were having which was interrupted when Rick and his gang showed up. We learned that Gregory’s return to the Hilltop was part of his plan to take it back for himself. Whether he’ll succeed remains to be seen. This was followed by a discussion between the about what to do regarding Negan and the Walker herd outside. Some wanted to sacrifice the workers while Eugene and Dwight thought otherwise.
This problem along with the recent outpost attacks couldn’t have happened without inside help so fingers were being pointed at one another until the Walker herd outside became a problem inside as the resources within the Sanctuary were dwindling which was causing some friction within. The likely candidate seemed to be Eugene but we all knew that it was Dwight. He and Eugene became closer in the episode because Dwight took his side earlier.
Meanwhile, Negan and Gabriel were trapped in the portable together while a herd of Walkers were trying to get at them from the outside. This episode was the best whenever it focused on these two as they were fun to watch together mostly because of how unlikely their pairing was. There was a slight feeling out period between them and then they got to know each other. They debated Rick and Negan’s management styles. They talked about their life choices. Most importantly, Gabriel believed he was there to take Negan’s confession.
The problem was that Negan believed that he had nothing to confess to. This episode showed us a different side of Negan, a more subdued and vulnerable Negan unlike the version they beat us over the head with last season, which was nice to see here. Through his conversation with Gabriel, we got to learn a little more about his backstory. He worked at a school and his first wife was very sick. He was weak but he was also strong. He made other people strong and was stronger than the previous leader of the Sanctuary.
Realizing that he needed Gabriel, Negan tried to convince him to get out together but in doing so, Gabriel was able to get a confession from Negan, admitting that he was weak for not putting down his dead wife. Then they smeared Walker parts over themselves and walked out, taking out a few Walkers on the way. Negan arrived just in time as the conflict between the Saviors and the workers reached the boiling point.
Negan later rejoined the meeting room where he learned that Gabriel’s gun was part of the Saviors armory. Eugene is smart so he began to suspect that Dwight may be the rat within the Sanctuary though he kept it to himself here. When Eugene went to bring Gabriel some welcome gifts, Gabriel wouldn’t answer so when he opened the door, he saw Gabriel was sick but he still urged Eugene to help Dr. Carson, Maggie’s doctor, escape.
This episode also had a quick subplot that should have gotten more focus than it did here involving Rick and Daryl who fought about what to do with some dynamite they found after their heist from the end of the last episode. It didn’t quite have the impact it should have had and ended with each going their separate ways with Rick seeing a helicopter while appearing to go to the trash people who we haven’t seen yet this season.
Overall, this was a good episode that gave us some long awaited insight on Negan through his ordeal with Gabriel. It was very compelling to watch thanks to great performances by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Seth Gilliam. While the Rick and Daryl stuff was unnecessary here, the Eugene and Dwight stuff was kind of fun. This season so far has handled Negan better than the last so let’s hope they don’t beat us over the head with him again and some more time with the Sanctuary would be fun too.