The Walking Dead S08E05: The Big Scary U
Finally. We haven’t seen Negan since the season premiere of The Walking Dead when we were left with him stranded in a trailer with Father Gabriel, surrounded by a herd of walkers. This episode is parallel to the timeline of episode 3: Monsters, where we see Gregory return to the Hilltop in the vehicle that he stole from Father Gabriel.
We immediately join Negan and Father Gabriel in the dark trailer. Despite Gabriel having multiple weapons, Negan quickly overpowers him. Everyone was hoping for a good confessional scene or a solid Negan backstory to come out of this. We got a touch of both, but it left me wanting more. I have read some of the Here’s Negan comic, so I have an idea of his backstory. They could have given us more. Let’s just hope that they give it to us in a future episode.
Father Gabriel talks to Negan, hoping to coerce a confession out of him. Instead, we got a series of stories about his wife, his past involvement with children, and how he doesn’t show remorse for killing people like Glenn and Abraham. He killed them, he didn’t “get them killed.” That was Rick’s doing. After their conversations, which have escalated and caused walkers to start to break through the windows of the trailer, Negan decides that it is time to move, with Gabriel’s help. Gabriel, taking these conversations as a sort of confession, tells Negan that he is forgiven. Negan responds by punching him in the face. They smear walker guts and make their way through the herd together into the safety of the Sanctuary.
Bird in the Sky
It has not been unnoticed that Rick and Daryl’s story arc has appeared in every episode this season. This is an unusual, anti-Gimple approach to storytelling, where the writers tend to focus on one group at a time, often spreading multiple episodes between the times when we see certain characters. There was a heated exchange that turned to fisticuffs, which was a shock to the proverbial “Rickyl” bromance. The two of them eventually separate to travel to their next destinations, Rick on foot after his vehicle was destroyed in the car chase last episode. He appears to be heading to the junkyard to revisit Jadis and the Scavengers/Hipsters/Garbage Pail Kids. (Why? Who knows…) Along the way, a helicopter flies overhead. What? Where did that come from? Who has a helicopter, and the fuel to operate it?
The Sanctuary Revolt
There was a meeting of the upper tier of Saviors at the Sanctuary, immediately following the attack. At this point, the lieutenants are unsure of Negan’s survival and are convinced that there is a mole within their ranks that is leaking information to the opposing side. They are in conflict with each other over their next moves. The power in the Sanctuary then goes out, causing a revolt of the workers that live there. There is a heated exchange between them until Negan shows up, covered in guts, with Father Gabriel in tow, and dissipates the brewing rebellion.
Finally, after Gabriel was put in a prison cell, Eugene pays him a visit to welcome him to the Sanctuary and give him a few comforts. When Gabriel doesn’t respond, Eugene opens the door to find him in a heap on the floor, sweating and delirious. Eugene tells him that they need to visit the doctor, and Gabriel says that if this is the Hilltop’s doctor, Maggie’s doctor, that they need to get him back to Maggie. It is unclear if he is sick from the walker guts, if he got bit, or if there is another reason for his condition. Father Gabriel has kind of grown on me since his introduction, and I enjoy watching his evolution. So I hope that it isn’t the beginning of the end for Judith’s best babysitter.
We are once again left with several unanswered questions. It is only 3 weeks until the mid-season finale, which is usually the biggest punch of the season, next to the finale in April. While I felt that the season started off strong, there have been a lot of overlapping storylines and revisiting of the past, as The Walking Dead loves to do. But when you look at the overall storyline, not much time has passed since the start of the war. The next few episodes will need to ramp up if we are expected to have any more progression before the mid-season finale in a few weeks.
Images courtesy of AMC