22nd Nov2017

‘The Walking Dead 8×05: The Big Scary U’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

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While it may seem that the last few weeks has been all out war in The Walking Dead, we’ve also known that a Negan episode was on the way. This week we get back to his situation, and get a rare confession from the character….

With Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) trapped together, they learn some things about each other. The other Saviours looking for a way to save their leader, soon realise that they have even more problems closer to home. While all of this is going on, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) sees something that is more than a little surprising.

For fans of the comic book version of The Walking Dead, you’ll know that there is a one-shot comic called Here’s Negan. This features the story of the character giving an insight into his origins. This week we get to hear about the television show origins, which interesting do mirror what is revealed in the comic. While it only reveals an important fact though, there are still some details that he holds back. It will be interesting if the rest of the Negan story is revealed.

With Negan and Gabriel trapped in a small space surrounded by zombies, we learn things not only about Negan, but also The Saviours. Letting Gabriel into the fact that in-fighting will break out in the community without their leader, it reveals an interesting truth about The Saviours. The fact he is right also shows that it is one of their weaknesses.

We also get to hear about Negan’s motivations to kill. Yes, there is the fact that he enjoys it, but he also kills for a reason, not randomly. Negan has to convey a message in his actions, and we have seen this in the past. He may be psychotic and dangerous, but in his own messed up way he is keeping control of those in his power.

When we take a look at The Saviours, we get a glimpse into how paranoid they can be, how their community works, and how fragmented it really is. Simon (Steven Ogg) apparently takes over as “Negan” when called on, and expects the same devotion, which he doesn’t get. Dwight (Austin Amelio) becomes the voice of reason, saving his own back when people know there is a spy in their midst. Then of course there is Eugene (Josh McDermitt) spouting off his facts, and noticing a little too much.

On the subject of Dwight though there are glimpses of hope for the character. He may be hedging his bets that The Saviours are the ones who will keep him alive the longest, but he also shows signs that he is willing to help Rick’s group. That is of course as long as he can keep his nerve, and stay alive.

What can I say about the thing that Rick says? Well to be honest I’ll say as little as possible because if you’ve not seen it then I won’t ruin the moment. It is telling that the audience is as shocked as Rick is when it appears, and it has had the desired effect. Maybe it is teasing of something to come in the future, or it means something else. That is one question that is not answered.

This episode of The Walking Dead is a change of pace for season 8, and may be one that many fans needed. With more focus on story, and much more Negan, it is good to have the energetically evil character back. Whether his survival is a good sign for Rick and his friends though, is an entirely different question.

***** 5/5

The Walking Dead airs at 9pm on Fox in the UK on Mondays.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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