The Walking Dead: Ep. 805 – The Big Scary U
The Big Scary U plays like a day in the life of the Saviors. The glimpse inside the inner working of Negan’s empire is divided into two narrative streams. One focuses on Negan and Gabriel while the other is centered on the Saviors’ brain trust. Throw in some interesting, but not totally unexpected dealings between Daryl and Rick and The Big Scary U makes for one of the more interesting episodes so far this season.
The Big Scary U starts out with a strategy meeting with Negan’s top brass and everyone’s favorite, spineless fool Gregory. The meeting offers some insight into what drives the Saviors as well as Negan’s grand plan for Maggie, Ezekiel and Rick. Gunfire interrupts the proceedings and we’re taken back to the point where Rick’s group attacks Negan’s compound in the season premiere. A small narrative time jump later and it’s back to the unlikeliest couple in the universe, Negan and Father Gabriel locked up in the dark with a horde of walkers at their door.
The scenes between Gabriel and Negan are like a two-man play set in a confessional box. Gabriel probes Negan eliciting some of the despot’s backstory as well as his outlook on life in the apocalypse. Gabriel’s skill at delving into people’s souls begins to soften Negan a little. Gabriel’s admission of what he did to his congregation causes Negan to open up about his first wife. The pain surrounding Negan’s first wife’s death shows that a heart still beats within him. Their unlikely bonding session does have a payoff however when they decide to make a break for it to find sanctuary in the compound.
On the outside, Simon and the others think Negan may be dead and contingency plans are floated to help keep the peace. There’s also the notion that there may be a traitor within the group feeding information to Rick and the others causing tensions to escalate. The unrest isn’t confined to the boardroom alone. There’s a labor uprising on the verge of boiling over and it’s not until Negan appears waving Lucille and dropping lyrics that deserve their own t-shirt that things settle down.
After intercepting the men who took off with the weapons Rick and Daryl get word that everyone from their group died in the assault. Believing Carol and Ezekiel to be dead the two disagree on what to do next and eventually come to blows. A split between the two has been foreshadowed for a while now and it was only a matter of time before things came to a head. While their disagreement probably won’t last too long it does cause them to go their separate ways. Now on his own Rick spies an unlikely object in the air that raises a load of questions that are just begging to be answered.
The Big Scary U humanizes Negan a little, gives Gabriel some street cred all while showing how relationships, even between the closest of allies, can come apart at the seams during difficult times. It also proves what a formidable opponent Negan is and that while he’s a violent killer, there are enough people that see him as a savior to keep at the top of the food chain.