Important! Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the most recent episode of The Walking Dead– The Big Scary U.
War seemed to be a continuous theme throughout The Big Scary U, but not in the way it has been. The episode picks up right before Rick and the crew show up for the All Out War, but explores the inner wars that are also happening in between.
The three main conflicts:
The Saviors-The group struggles to figure out how to move forward with Negan being temporarily MIA.
Negan and Gabriel-Trapped in a trailer sorrounded by walkers, the two are forced to get to know eah other a bit better
Rick and Daryl-Daryl wanting to stop Negan regardless of who he hurts, and Rick realizing that they need to find humanity in this somewhere.
We are taken in a flashback to the very start of the All Out War, right before Rick, The Hilltop and The Kingdom arrive in droves to attack the Sanctuary.
As Negan originally says, as he walks out in the season 8 premiere and says “I was in a meeting.”
Well, now we know he WAS actually in a meeting. A meeting in which he asked his top dogs about the attack at Alexandria and who knew about it. His main target though was Gregory. So what did Gregory do when he slunk over to the saviors?
Gregory doesn’t spill much and seems to be playing it safe, saying he tried to stop it before it started. He’s a pretty frustrating character, and we now know of course that he’s safe and sounds at the Hilltop with Maggie, and of course, Khal.
He tries to ration with Negan that he can go back to the Hilltop and “convince” his people still not to fight.
He is obviously wanting to settle with words, but we know Negan doesn’t roll like that.
“If you kill the right people at the right time, everybody’s happy, some more than others. You kill one, you can be saving hundreds more. That is what we’re all about. We save people.” -Negan
In this episode, we start to see Negan give reasons for the way he acts. It seems like in his head, being harsh is how you rule out the weak from the strong.
Simon seems to be at a conflict with Negan, but the two play it off until Rick and the group arrive and send their three shot warning.
The episode then takes a turn, sending us into the trailer where we see Negan and Father Gabriel trapped together.
Halfway through their discussion, seemingly about life, there came a very gratifying moment.
I loved seeing Gabriel hold his own against Negan. Not only do we get the answer as to why Gabriel saved Gregory, but he says it proudly when he realizes what the reason may be. To get Negan to confess his sins, and save him.
In that moment, he really owns who he is and it gave him a power I’ve never seen him be so confident in. It was almost as though his calm religious way was a shield protecting him from Negan.
Here’s where we start learning about Negan.
Gabriel asks him about his wives, and this is the first time Negan comes close to breaking. It seems unlike him to show such emotion, but given the circumstances of the unexpected fight and now being surrounded by walkers, he seems to actually feel weak. He talks about the children he used to work with to try and save.
We begin to understand the power of Lucille, because in Negan’s weak moment with his eyes closed, he holds his beloved bat and says:
“Lucille, give me strength.”
The two, with a giant callback from season 1 cover themselves with walker guts and head back to the Sanctuary.
Another unexpected and probably unwanted conflict was Rick and Daryl. Like many predicted, Daryl’s rogue and hapless killing got to a point where Rick so strongly disagreed that he tried to stop him. It leads Daryl to do something to Rick that is pretty shocking.
It’s hard to watch, but it also seems like a brotherly conflict, so I’m not too entirely worried about the relationship of these two, and think they’ll bounce back quickly once they reunite.
Now that Negan is back with his people, he may be a little bit stronger, but he has still taken a huge loss.
One great thing that’s happening, Dwight’s relationship with Eugene. It’s adorable and the fact that Eugene brings him a jar of pickles is really the highlight of the episode.
One sad thing that’s happening, it looks like Father Gabriel may actually have gotten ill from the zombie guts-which means we may be getting close to saying our goodbyes. Unless somebody magically comes up with a zombie virus cure.
Last but not leat, the helicopter! Do you think that was real? Maybe to signal the beginning of a new chapter?
What do you think these conflicts mean for the rest of the season?
Catch The Walking Dead Sunday nights on AMC!