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TV Review: The Walking Dead 8.5 “The Big Scary U”
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Walking Dead 8.5 Eugene and Dwight

The Walking Dead
Episode 8.5 “The Big Scary U”
Directed by Dan Liu
Starring Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Christian Serratos, Tom Payne, Khary Payton, Austin Amelio, Alanna Masterson, Katelyn Nacon, Steven Ogg, Pollyanna McIntosh
AMC
Air Date: Sunday, November 19, 2017

Warning – SPOILERS for AMC’s The Walking Dead…

Last week’s The Walking Dead marked a turning point for King Ezekiel, the zookeeper turned royal ruler of The Kingdom community. After an ambush by the Saviors killed off many of his soldiers, injured him, and led to the death of his beloved tiger Shiva, Ezekiel had a meltdown of sorts, telling his right-hand man and bodyguard Jerry “I ain’t no King, I’m just some guy.” Meanwhile, Rick and Daryl managed steals the guns from the Saviors they were after, and backstabbing Gregory made his way back from the Sanctuary to Hilltop, where Maggie miraculously let him return.

On this week’s episode, 8.5 “The Big Scary U,” we finally return to Negan and Father Gabriel, who were surrounded by walkers; the Saviors struggle to figure out “what went wrong,” and Rick and Daryl come to blows over what to do next.

This episode flashes back to what was going on at the Sanctuary before the ambush by the Allies — the Alexandrians led by Rick, the Kingdom led by King Ezekiel, and the Hilltop led by Jesus for Maggie. Negan and his council had been grilling Gregory, the original leader of the Hilltop Colony, about what was going on there. When the Sanctuary is attacked, this is when Negan trots out Gregory, who makes that proclamation that the Hilltop stands with Negan and anyone there who doesn’t go along with it will be exiled. After that, the war began and Gregory ends up being saved by Father Gabriel, but then ditches the holy man, leaving him surrounded by walkers.

When we last saw Father Gabriel, he had taken shelter in a trailer after his abandonment at the Sanctuary, but he wasn’t alone. Negan had also been hiding there. Now we see the duo still in the trailer surrounded by walkers, with no obvious way out to safety. Negan seems to think his people will try to rescue him. Gabriel, on the other hand, isn’t afraid to die, but is afraid to die a fruitless death. We then get a flashback to Father Gabriel praying at his church, asking God for a “purpose.”

The episode keeps returning to the trailer, where Negan tries to get Gabriel to cooperate with him so that they can get out of their situation alive. Gabriel keeps asking Negan if he wants to confess, and if he does, the priest will cooperate. Negan continues being the chatty, antagonistic person he is, holding on to his bat, never letting on what he really plans to do. But, he does say he doesn’t have anything to confess. What about all the innocent people he’s killed?, Gabriel asks. Negan says while he’s killed people, he didn’t actually cause their deaths. For instance, he killed Glenn and Abraham, but he doesn’t feel responsible for their deaths – he says Rick actually got them killed.

Meanwhile, back inside the Sanctuary, the Saviors council continues to calls their meetings, and let me tell you, these guys are so annoying and stupid too. There’s brutish Regina, who wants to use the workers as cover to get through the walkers, but Eugene finds her plan problematic. There’s just no way for it to work, and Dwight backs him up. There’s also still the issue, per Simon, that someone in that room has betrayed them — that’s how the Allies were able to pull off their sneak-attack. We know it was Dwight, but so far, no one knows who yet, but Simon threatens to have that person killed slowly over a few days for everyone to see. Yeah, OK, Simon, whatever, shut up already. All of you, shut up! Dwight, I never thought this would happen, but I am totally pulling for you!

Later, annoying Eugene goes to visit Dwight in his room to thank him for backing him up at the meeting. But he seems to be there to snoop a little too, maybe? It’s an awkward exchange, that ends with Eugene picking up one of Dwight’s homemade figurines that was still wet and getting paint on his finger. Of course, this will mean something later. (Dammit!)

So now what happened with Rick and Daryl, who had stopped the Chem outpost guys from taking off with the guns? They find the Savior who was driving the gun truck, and he’s badly hurt. They ask him what happened back at the outpost, where the Saviors and the Kingdom soldiers had had a gun fight. Who won?, they ask. “No one,” the man says, revealing before he dies that everyone there had died, except for “the King, the Axe Man, and that short-haired psycho lady,” referring to Ezekiel, Jerry, and Carol, respectively.

Rick and Daryl now have the guns, along with dynamite. Daryl wants to flood the Sanctuary with walkers, but Rick is against that because there are workers and their families there who are not soldiers. Daryl says then they’ll just attack the side with the soldiers, but Rick disagrees again, saying it’s too dangerous, it could make the workers take up arms, and most importantly, it’s not part of the “plan.” This is the plan that they’ve been going on and on about since the beginning of the season, the plan that we’re not privy to yet. Unfortunately, Daryl plans on going through with his idea anyway, because things change, he says. Rick goes to stop him and the two friends, who have been like brothers, come to blows. I did not like this!!!!! This whole season Daryl has been hostile and has been killing people without a care, which has been startling to Rick. Now, Daryl is ready to go rogue and will physically assault Rick in order to do it. Daryl gets Rick in a choke hold and almost downs him, but then Rick tosses lit dynamite into the truck, causing it to explode, which ends their fight. Rick then tries to get the jeep to work, but it won’t start up. “I guess I’m walking,” Rick says to Daryl. Yep! Just before the two part, Rick says “Choke hold’s illegal, asshole,” to which Daryl says, “Yeah it is,” not giving a shit. Daryl heads off on his motorcycle while Rick starts walking the other way. When we last see Rick, he hears and then sees a helicopter flying overhead!!! As Rick is walking, we see a lookout viewing him coming; the man then blows a whistle (looks like it might be the Scavengers).

Back to Gabriel and Negan in the trailer. Gabriel continues to ask for the confession, and he then tries to overtake Negan, but fails and then runs and locks himself in the other room. Negan then talks to him through the door, because he still needs his help to get out. Gabriel then confesses what we knew already, that when the outbreak first hit, he was a coward who locked his congregation out of his church, causing their death. “I failed them,” he says, “failed God,” which is why every day since he’s worked to serve a purpose. He once again offers pardon, penance, and forgiveness to Negan for his confession. This is when Negan finally gives something up, and we learn a little bit about him from his pre-apocalypse days: He had a wife who was sick and he lied to her and cheated on her; she ended up dying when the outbreak first happened and he couldn’t bring himself to put her down so she wouldn’t return. “That’s how I was weak,” Negan says to Gabriel, who previously had been asking him “How are you weak?” Gabriel opens the door and says “You’re forgiven,” as he goes to hand his gun to Negan. Negan punches him in the face, and says, “Keep your gun.”

Ok, now it’s time for them to get the hell out of there, which means doing the guts trick. They take apart some walkers and smear themselves with the guts to mask their humanness so they can walk through the crowd undetected. It works at first, as it typically does, but then Gabriel falls, calling attention to himself and is almost overwhelmed, but Negan saves him! Earlier, Negan had been bragging about how he “saves” people. But yeah, this came as a major surprise! The two then fight their way through the crowd, and then are seemingly blocked at the end.

But guess what? They somehow survive because they show up at the Sanctuary just as things get crazy there. Umm… what? Ugh, annoying. Anyhow, back at the Sanctuary during another annoying staff meeting where they are trying to figure out what happened to the truck from the Chem outpost, the workers have an uprising. The power is down — Simon says they took it down on purpose to conserve energy — and the people are hot and thirsty. They complain that the deal was that they do the work and the soldiers protect them. They’re also suspicious because Negan isn’t there. Where’s Negan? they keep asking. Simon tries to calm everyone down, as does Dwight, but Regina is her usual hostile self. “I’m Negan,” she replies, before shooting one of the workers who pulled a gun, and then threatened to give some more people a bullet. This is when Negan returns, with Gabriel in tow. Everyone bows to their leader, including Gabriel. Negan reassures them that he’s not dying just yet and that he’s going to get everything back under control. The workers are relieved, and one even says, “Thank you, Negan, thank god for you.” At this, Negan turns to Gabriel and says, “And that is why I’m here.” He then has his people take Gabriel to one of the cells, stressing that they should do so “gently,” indicating to us that he’s not looking to harm the priest, but likely to get him on his side.

After all this time and everything Negan has done, did you ever think he’d live up to his Savior name? The workers do rely on him and trust him, and as we can see, without him, the Sanctuary would go to hell. Without him, his council right away was going to put the workers in jeopardy.

After Negan’s shower, there’s yet another staff meeting. Holy shit!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyhow, same old shit — what happened, who’s fault is it, Negan swinging his bat around, etc., etc. Of course, here’s where Eugene notices that the backpack the worker who pulled the gun had has paint on it that matches Dwight’s figurines and now he knows that Dwight is the rat. But what will he do with this information? After all, Dwight is helping out Eugene’s people, but this is also a man who is a coward who only cares about saving his own ass. Perhaps he will keep Dwight’s secret for now, but if he has to reveal it to save himself, I’d imagine that’s exactly what he’ll do. Especially since at the end of the episode after the meeting, Negan calls over Eugene and says he’ll reward him if he figures out what happened, but kind of threatens to kill him if he doesn’t. “I got your back,” Negan tells Eugene, “You got mine?”

The episode ends with Eugene bringing food to Gabriel, but when he goes inside, the priest is sick and shivering. He says Gabriel needs Dr. Carson. A delirious Gabriel lights up at the mention of the doctor. “Carson is Maggie’s doctor, we have to get him out of here,” Gabriel tells Dwight. What will Eugene do?

I’m thankful that this fifth episode of the season was not just straight machine gun fire like the rest of Season 8 has been so far. But, I’m really starting to hate everyone, except Rick. I think this might happen to me every season where at a certain point, I only still love Rick. And with Episode 8.5, I’m definitely feeling it, although, like I mentioned, Dwight has won me over now. I know we’re supposed to hate the Saviors — at least, hate their soldiers — but I find them just so incredibly annoying. I just want them to go away. And where are Carl, Maggie, Michonne? I hate when we have to go a long time without seeing our favorite characters. It’s five episodes in and like always the season will be split, so let’s see the end of this plan already, please.

Video

‘Carol on Her Own’ Sneak Peek Ep. 805 | The Walking Dead


Negan and Father Gabriel remain trapped together in a trailer surrounded by walkers.

‘Some Guy’ Next on Ep. 805 | The Walking Dead

[Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC. Courtesy of AMC. Used with permission.]

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