Thoughts with summary mixed together.
I give this a 57 on Robin's scale.
This to me was Negan's episode mainly with some Rick thrown in there; not enough Rick for me though. Before going into the Negan part; I will talk on the Rick piece:
This episode if anything, has Rick flipping from one way of treating the Saviors to another. If you look at Morgan's flashback to Rick's speech to everyone a few episodes back this season and then look at the way Rick dealt with the Savior who was dying who drove the 50 caliber gun jeep there are is a difference. Morgan's flashback speech Rick was take no prisoners.
Later on (see dynamite section) Rick was willing to give the Saviors a chance; Daryl wasn't. I still am guessing what the base Rules of Engagement are that he has told his people to use on the Saviors. Is it take no prisoners? Has he changed his views on those rules? If so, when is he going to tell everyone else to take prisoners because these people will be living with us after the war?
The one thing I have observed this season is that everyone seems to have their own rules of engagement and are in different directions. This makes tracking the overall strategy against the Saviors difficult to follow.
The title comes out of the lips of Gregory a few minutes into the episode as the 'Big Unknown'
* Episode flashes back to Gabriel praying to god to make his death an important one in terms
of helping others.
* Flashback to Simon serving Sorghum pancakes to Gregory at the Sanctuary before the Siege there.
* Flash to present where we have a beginning of a few scenes with Negan and Father Gabriel (the best scenes for me in this episode.) Negan tackles Gabriel who laughs as he disarms him and Gabriel thinks he is there to hear Negan's confession. Negan doesn't kill Gabriel because he needs him to get out of the trailer to the main building.
* Negan confesses that he had a wife originally (cheated on her) and he dealt a lot with children. His wife turned early in the outbreak however he couldn't put her down. Gabriel for some reason reciprocates with a confession about what he did to his people. Negan thinks he's stone cold. After hearing this Gabriel agrees to help Negan out of there.
* We flashback to the past before the seige on the Sanctuary and we get the Savior's point of view.
Gregory tries to convince Simon and Negan that he is of value and he can get the Hilltop inhabitants to fall in line with the Saviors with the threat of having them banished from the Hilltop if they don't comply.
* We flash to Rick and Daryl finding out from the dying 50 caliber Gun jeep driver that
most of the Kingdom members have been killed but the King, Carol and Jerry.
* (See the bad) Instead of loading up the 50 caliber guns they have spent the past three episodes talking about (and apparently the overall goal or plan); they get into a fist fight over dynamite. Daryl wants to blow up the Sanctuary to get Negan's people to surrender. Rick disagrees because there are innocent workers in the building. Rick blows up the 50 caliber guns with the dynamite (See the bad).
* The Savior leaders finally figure out there's a mole amongst them.
* The workers in the Sanctuary rebel against Simon and other leaders and Negan returns back just in
time to talk about his steel balls.
* Rick spots a helicopter.
* Eugene finds Gabriel in his cell, sweating. It appears he's been bitten. Credits.
* I loved Negan's confession to Father Gabriel. I believe it. Fanboys can see it paraphrases Negan's back story released earlier this year in the spin off comic book series entitled 'Here's Negan!'. He gave enough of himself to allow me to believe he still cannot be trusted, however there is a person behind the monster he has become.
* Negan makes it clear to Gregory that he loved to kill, however he's very pragmatic and big on who specifically should be killed. It has to be someone that is going to emotionally affect the most people around him to reinforce compliance. I think that interesting and shows some complexity of character.
* Gregory sneaks out of Hilltop, we assume to be an informant for the Saviors about the attack at the outpost and also because clearly everyone has favored Maggie over him as leader. Simon appears to be talking about the attack on the outpost (which he found out about) and questions Gregory as to whether Gregory knew about it and Gregory emphatically says no, so why isn't Simon using Gregory as an informant to figure out who it was that lead Rick (from the Hilltop) to the Outpost? Instead he uses Gregory to persuade his people to stop warring on fear of banishment? If they are in open rebellion without Gregory's knowledge, shouldn't it be clear to Simon that Gregory has little or no pull with his people? This made no sense to me. It makes Simon look pretty stupid in favor of plot movement.
* Eugene's dialog continues (for me) to get in the way of the impact of what he is saying. It's character over story with him (I guess.) This is also the case with Negan 'I wear a leather jacket, I have Lucille, and my nut sack is made of steel.' Really? It's too much for me. He's too over the top.
* Rick blowing up the 50 caliber guns with the dynamite calls into question why he wanted the guns to begin with and why it was the source of his entire plan three episodes ago. It just makes it look like the story line is all over the place.
* Who owns the helicopter? Is is a new group?
* Why did Rick leave the plan about the guns? Did he suddenly have a conscience? Is he having a conflict of interest over how to treat the Saviors?