REVIEW: The Walking Dead S8E5 ‘The Big Scary U’ is a hot mess
The Walking Dead season 8 episode 5 ‘The Big Scary U’ finally gave us the return of Negan. Sadly, this was deemed unsatisfactory story alone and was accompanied by a pointless fight scene and some squabbling from the less interesting Saviours.
We’ll start with the good. The combination of Negan and Father Gabriel as a duo is something we didn’t know we wanted. It’s been clear for a while that what baddie Negan needed was humanisation, but not clear how to organically allow this in the show. The moment happened in ‘The Big Scary U’. Father Gabriel’s “confession” tactic brought about a moment of genuine pain and weakness in the villain. This, coupled with Negan’s surprising benevolence towards Gabriel, and the near-crumbling of the Saviours without him – does a lot to delve into the person and leader Negan is.
Elsewhere, the Saviours struggle to come up with any sort of viable plan without Negan. They are not sure Negan is dead, but they are sure they have been betrayed. Although we know the rat is Dwight, the obvious mole to Negan’s team is Eugene. There’s no follow-up on this, however, apart from the insinuation they believe the rat is Eugene. The Saviour leaders without Negan are very uneven. Simon seems incapable of leading without him, and I’m not entirely sure who the other two even are. Dwight and Eugene, the only pair in that room worth watching, keep fairly quiet. It’s far from riveting television as they scrabble for a plan.
That’s not as badly-thought out as the scene with Rick and Daryl however. Rick and Daryl, who, for the most part, have got along fine the last few seasons. For what appears to be no reason whatsoever, the two Alexandrian hardheads have a brawl besides a supply truck loaded with dynamite. They stop when the truck explodes, destroying the same guns they spent several episodes trying to acquire. This whole plot thread was a complete waste of time.
As with the rest of season eight so far, ‘The Big Scary U’ is uneven at best. There were some great moments. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan is always one to watch, and Father Gabriel’s companionship made for some interesting moments. If only The Walking Dead had been brave enough to try a two-hander, this could have really been something special.