Steven Ogg as Simon – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC (© 2017 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved.)
The longest day in the history of the zombie apocalypse continues to amble on in Season 8 of “The Walking Dead.” This week, fans got a glimpse of the dissension in the ranks caused to the Saviors from Rick’s attack in “The Big Scary U.”
The episode opens with what appears to be some ominous foreshadowing in which Father Gabriel prays for redemption reached redemption. He makes it clear that he no longer fears death, but dying without a purpose. Meanwhile, prior to Rick’s attack, the incredibly scary Simon is convincing Gregory that he believes he’s on the side of the Saviors. Sadly, the audience knows just how badly Gregory lets Simon down, leading to his cowardly romp back to The Hilltop. He’s in the middle of trying to convince Negan himself, when Rick arrives.
From there, it catches up to the present where Negan and Father Gabriel are surrounded by walkers together in a trailer while the Saviors try to figure out how to get out of their incredibly precarious situation without their fearless leader. Gabriel suggests that he may have found his purpose, to get Negan’s last confession.
Inside the Sanctuary, Simon is trying to figure out what to do when Regina suggests sacrificing about 40 workers so that a few soldiers can go to check on the outposts and get supplies to bail out the compound. Eugene sheepishly tells her the plan is flawed and that not only is there an inadequate chance of success, but it might turn the workers on the soldiers. The others get upset, but Dwight sticks up for Eugene. Additionally, it doesn’t take long for one of them to figure out that Rick attacking while all the outpost heads were in one place means a Savior has gone rogue.
Realizing that he is the most likely suspect to be a turncoat, Eugene privately thanks Dwight for having his back with a gift of cucumbers. Unfortunately, Dwight doesn’t seem to agree to have his back permanently, only as long as he’s right.
Inside the trailer where Gabriel and Negan are stuck, the former keeps trying to get a confession out of his enemy. Negan instructs him on a great many things, particularly his sense of morality. He says that they’re called the Saviors because he only kills those that need killing. He’s benevolent because he doesn’t allow people to be weak, like the unknown previous leader of the group. He also confesses that, prior to the apocalypse, he worked with kids. He isn’t specific but it gives fans a small glimpse into Negan’s character and who he used to be.
Gabriel presses, hoping to get Negan to say something meaningful. He starts to talk about his first wife, musing if she was real or like the others he keeps at the Sanctuary. Negan looks like he’s about to brain Gabriel for his inquisitive nature, when the priest manages to snag the handgun Negan took off him. Sadly, he misses his shot and locks himself behind an interior door.
They put a pin in that as things cut to Rick and Daryl. They’re still salvaging the wreck that they caused last week in order to get the big guns from the Saviors that almost all of the Kingdom lost their lives to secure. Seeing a bevy of explosives, Daryl suggests they double back, blow a hole in the walls of the Sanctuary and let the walkers flood in. He’s battle-hungry and wants to end this war by sundown, which apparently will never come.
Rick is intrigued, but remembers the lesson he learned from Morales earlier in the day.
“Some of the people in there aren’t fighters, doing this could change that,” he says.
Rick seems to be making the point that workers will assimilate into the world when the war is done, but if their lives are threatened, they’ll be forced to fight. Daryl disagrees, and makes his argument with a swift punch to Rick’s face. The two start to tussle and end up not noticing the wreckage catch fire. While they were trading hands instead of clearing the scene, it blew up. Their fight ends as they’re both forced to sit and watch everything that so many of their ranks died for go up in smoke.
At the trailer, Negan is talking to Gabriel through the door saying that people are a resource. Therefore, he doesn’t want to kill the only person that could help him make an adequate break for the safety of the Sanctuary. It seems genuine, as the episode had been showing the softer side of Negan. However, things start to feel really truthful when Negan opens up.
Gabriel confessed that he let his congregation die, prompting Negan to meet him halfway. It turns out that Negan, (surprise, surprise) wasn’t a great husband to his first wife. He cheated on her a lot, but she stayed with him until she died… post apocalypse. Negan confesses that his weakness was in not being able to end her after she turned. It’s hard to tell if he’s being honest, but it doesn’t matter. Gabriel emerges and, for some unfathomable reason, tries to give Negan his gun. He doesn’t accept.
Instead, they cover themselves in the guts of a walker for camouflage and open the door. Walkers flood in, but none notice them. As they slowly make their way through the crowd, it’s Negan who breaks rank in order to save Gabriel – people are a resource after all. However, as they fight, their situation becomes dire when zombies overrun them.
Inside, the worst has happened for the Saviors. While the generals still try to figure out a plan, the workers, and their vast numbers, realize that they’re deal to work while the soldiers protect them is feeling a bit one-sided. Simon tries to keep the peace, but it’s not his strong suit as he almost starts three fights. Still, his bravado starts to crack as one of the workers pulls a gun. Regina stops them, but things are about to pop off when they hear a distant whistle.
Negan strolls in with Gabriel, forcing everyone to kneel. He reminds them to keep in line because he’s the all-seeing, all-hearing bad boy that’s not going to die until he is good and ready. He tells everyone to fall back in line while he regroups, ready to figure out who the rat in their midst is. After all, none of the Saviors know who it is… except Eugene.
When they reveal someone has been feeding the rebels guns, he puts it together that Dwight is the rat, but he doesn’t reveal that information. Instead, Negan puts him to work on fixing their situation with the walkers outside.
The episode ends with Rick revealing the last part of his plan, to visit the trash people who betrayed them last season, while Father Gabriel appears to be succumbing to some kind of fever. In his addled state, he seems to reveal that Rick has a big plan for the Sanctuary that’s not been revealed yet. He has reason to believe they’re all in danger.