REVIEW: The Walking Dead, S8 Ep5 – The Big Scary U

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep5 - The Big Scary U

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead focused on the Saviors’ camp, particularly on Negan and his generals, and revealed a side of Negan we’ve never seen before.

That being said, even the unexpectedly softer version of Negan did not make up for this being another dull entry into the season. Last week‘s painfully tragic episode about the humbling of King Ezekiel was way more compelling.

Negan spent the most part of the episode with his usual swagger and casual reference to male genitalia. During his strategic planning session with his other leaders, he showed his furious and fearsome side, right up until Rick confronts him in the season premiere.

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep5 - The Big Scary UAs one reviewer pointed out, this was the best material ever given to Gabriel, who has spent most of his time on The Walking Dead characterized by his great act of cowardice. And now, as he began the episode praying for a purpose, it very much looks like he is being set up for a noble, sacrificial death. It was surprising that Negan didn’t kill him outright, but instead even gave the priest a confession of sorts.

This was Negan at probably his most vulnerable, calmly and (seemingly) sincerely talking about his past, working with kids, and having a sick wife. His reaction to the coming of the apocalypse was to let go of all sentimentality and emotion, facets of humanity that would make him weak and that would have prevented him from surviving as effectively as he had so far. It was a relief to hear him sound like an actual human being for once and not just a monster.

But soon, the time for quiet reflection was over, and Negan showed Gabriel that classic The Walking Dead strategy of covering one’s self in walker guts so that one can walk amongst the dead. And so, they made it back into the Sanctuary, seemingly unscathed.

The Walking Dead, S8 Ep5 - The Big Scary UDaryl and Rick also had a disagreement, as main characters are prone to do this season, over setting off a bomb on innocent people. Daryl has been cold and ruthless all season, without mercy when it comes to the Saviors. But the fight ended with a stalemate as Rick detonated the bomb and the two just ran away from the explosion.

We spent some time with asshole characters we didn’t really care about like Simon, Regina, Dwight, and Eugene (who’s probably due for a fall one of these days). The social contract between the top Saviors and the workers had always been fragile but never more so than when Negan himself was not around. His timely return was proof that without him as a figurehead, things would fall apart fast in the Sanctuary.

This season of The Walking Dead continues to slog on despite occasional inspired moments where main characters are explored in depth. But it’s still a long drawn-out affair, and one that needs to pick up the pace a bit more if it wants to keep us watching.