The Big Scary U was a Saviors heavy episode that was the first to show them as more than awful jerks. Negan had some killer lines, Rick and Daryl blew up and who’s flying that helicopter? If this wasn’t the biggest episode of the season at least it set in motion some intriguing storylines.
Of the third tier supporting characters, Gregory is probably my favorite. He’s such a dedicated weasel. Most of the other bad guys are jerks, yes, but at least they’re committed to their bastard-ness. Gregory shifts allegiances like the wind. The episode provided a look back at Gregory sucking up to the Saviors right before Rick and company arrived at the Sanctuary gates.
In addition to Negan’s great hillbilly armor line, the Saviors meeting felt like a Cobra High Command meeting. If Cobra Commander acted more like Megatron and ready to blast any insubordinates. Regina gives a Zarana vibe, two-timing Dwight is Storm Shadow, Simon is parts Destro and Zartan and Eugene fills in nicely for Dr. Mindbender. Negan warns Simon they’re not going to indiscriminately kill everyone in the communities. They’re just going to make an example out of Rick, The Widow and The King. The others are a valuable commodity.
In his severely warped way, Negan does feel like he’s saving people. During his ‘confessional’ with Gabriel, Negan explains he’s the guy that keeps everyone in line and stops things from getting a lot worse. I was worried the writers were humanizing Negan too much when he reflected on not killing his wife when she became a walker. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has made Negan incredibly charismatic and vicious, but he was able to show another side without losing any of Negan’s credibility.
It also helped that Negan got another bada$$ moment when the Savior worker bees started getting antsy with the high command. A few whistles from Negan and everyone went to their knees. Negan is an oddity as he’s done so much evil stuff so far, but he’s almost too fun not to enjoy.
With Negan trapped, Simon and Dwight had to keep the high command together. The most significant fallout there was Eugene figuring out Dwight is the mole informing Rick and company. But considering Eugene hasn’t fully gone heel and still has concern for his old pals, does it really benefit him to snitch? It’s safe to assume Gabriel won’t be a factor much longer since it’s a safe bet his fever is the first signs of being bit by a walker.
The third subplot this week focused on Rick and Daryl’s fallout after learning of the fall of The Kingdom. Daryl wants to use the explosions to bomb the Sanctuary gates and let the walkers devour them. Rick doesn’t want to kill people for the sake of killing. This is the first instance we’ve seen of any common ground with Rick and Negan. The writers had been building toward this Rick/Daryl problem, but it still felt a little rushed. I could see Daryl’s ‘Kill ‘em all!’ mindset if he didn’t know Carol was alive. But it’s not like he rolled that right with the rest of The Kingdom to immediately go rogue.
That’s not to say Daryl has the wrong idea. Rick and Jesus have this unfounded mindset that the Saviors can be redeemed and they’re being bullied into being jerks. I don’t buy that and think someone needs to have the middle ground approach besides executions or keeping Saviors prisoners around.
For now, Rick and Daryl’s two bro wrecking crew is on hiatus. Rick is off following to chat with the Wreckers again for some silly reason, but not before spotting a helicopter. Now where could that be heading?
The Big Scary U effectively moved pieces along in the overall season scope. It wasn’t the heavy action we’ve seen in previous weeks, but wasn’t a major letdown either. Any episode where Negan gets off a few funny lines is entertaining enough for me.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC