"The Big Scary U" is the fifth episode of the eighth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the one-hundred and fourth episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 19, 2017. It was written by Scott Gimple, David Leslie Johnson & Angela Kang and directed by Michael Satrazemis.
Gregory meets with Negan and his lieutenants — Simon, Dwight, Gavin, Regina and Eugene — and offers to help the Saviors by exiling any Hilltop resident who joins Rick’s alliance. Negan questions Gregory’s true allegiance and doubts that he holds any influence over the Hilltoppers. Simon supports Gregory’s plan, suggesting they back his return to Hilltop and kill anyone who doesn’t conform. Negan shuts him down, explaining that people are a resource; they must stay tactful and focus on killing the right people. Negan plans to capture Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel, and kill them in a public and bloody way. The meeting is interrupted by the sudden sound of gunfire. Negan peers out a dirty window and sees Rick’s army. He walks out to greet his visitors and his lieutenants follow.
Back in the present, Negan and Gabriel hide out in the trailer following the attack on the Sanctuary. Walkers pound relentlessly on the walls, trying to get in. Negan asks Gabriel why he helped Gregory. After some reflection, Gabriel concludes that they were destined to end up in the trailer together. “I think I’m here to take your confession,” he says.
Out on the road, Rick and Daryl question a dying Yago after running his truck off the highway. Yago informs them that all the Saviors and Kingdom fighters at the chemical plant were killed, except for Ezekiel, Jerry and Carol. He succumbs to his injuries and dies.
Back in the trailer, Negan says that he’ll wait it out a little longer, in case his lieutenants figure out a rescue plan. He shows concern about his people thinking he’s dead and explains that a lot of people will die within the Sanctuary walls if he’s not there to keep things in order.
Meanwhile, Negan’s lieutenants convene in the meeting room to formulate a plan of action. Regina suggests they send a group of workers to distract the walkers, allowing them to dispatch a team of Saviors to warn the outposts. Eugene predicts that this would cause the already anxious workers to rebel. Dwight agrees. Gavin points out that this didn’t just happen, someone at the Sanctuary must have helped Rick’s group coordinate the attack.
Eugene knocks on Dwight’s apartment door and thanks him for taking his side at the meeting. While examining the décor, he picks up a freshly painted figurine from Dwight’s chessboard and gets red paint on his fingers.
Back in the trailer, Negan shares some of his philosophies with Gabriel. He explains that everyone has weaknesses and how, before he took over, the Sanctuary was full of weak people; their previous leader allowed people to be weak and it was Negan who made them strong. Gabriel suggests a confession, reasoning that they very well may die in that trailer.
In an attempt to get Negan to open up, Gabriel asks him if he had a wife before the fall and the question seems to strike a nerve. Gabriel takes advantage of Negan’s unsettled state and grabs his gun. Negan fights back and Gabriel flees into a nearby room, slamming the door behind him. A walker punches through the trailer’s wall. Negan bashes its head with Lucille and tells Gabriel it’s time to go.
Back on the road, Rick and Daryl find explosives in Yago’s overturned truck. Daryl formulates a plan to get the Saviors to surrender. He suggests they use the explosives to blow open one of the Sanctuary walls, allowing the walkers to flood in and consume the place. Rick rejects the idea, worried it would endanger the innocent workers and their families. Daryl walks off with the dynamite, intent on executing the plan on his own. Rick tackles him to the ground.
At the Sanctuary, Eugene plays video games in his room and the power goes out.
As Rick and Daryl fight, Rick throws the bag of dynamite towards Yago’s truck. The dynamite explodes and the two men watch the burning wreckage.
Rick tries unsuccessfully to start his Jeep. Daryl rides up on his bike and reaches a detente with Rick. Rick says he’ll meet Daryl after he executes the final step of their plan.
Negan hauls the dead walker into the trailer and urges Gabriel to escape with him, saying their odds of getting to the Sanctuary are much higher if they work together. Gabriel agrees to accompany Negan if he confesses.
Gabriel reveals his own greatest sin: locking his congregation out of his church in the early days of the apocalypse, leaving them to die. Negan finally tells Gabriel that before the fall, he cheated on his wife while she was sick. He says that his weakness was his inability to put her down when she died after the fall. Gabriel absolves him.
Negan cuts the walker open, and they slather themselves in guts. Then, Negan opens the door to the trailer and walkers flood inside, taking no notice of the two men. Negan and Gabriel walk through the courtyard, unnoticed by the herd. Gabriel trips and draws the walkers’ attention. They fight the walkers together, making their way to the Sanctuary.
Negan’s lieutenants convene in the meeting room. Gavin deduces that the survivors must have overthrown the Saviors’ outposts because none of the transport trucks have appeared on the roads. Laura warns them about an approaching group of workers.
The lieutenants find a mob of workers standing in the hallway. Simon orders them back to the factory floor. The workers say it’s too hot on the factory floor and complain about being low on food and water. One of the workers asks if Negan is dead and the crowd becomes increasingly rowdier when Simon evades the question. Regina shoots a worker and proclaims "I am Negan" in an attempt to regain order.
Silence falls when Negan enters the hallway with Gabriel at his side; Negan assures everyone that he’s not ready to die and says the Saviors will do what they always do and save people. “Thank God for you,” says a worker. Negan orders his men to bring Gabriel to a cell.
Negan meets with his lieutenants. Laura and Arat bring a bag of guns that they recovered from Rick’s army and report that the weapons were from the Savior armory. Eugene notices red paint on the bag and connects it with Dwight’s red chess figurines.
As Rick walks down a road, he sees a helicopter in the sky. He continues on his way, his confusion growing.
At the Sanctuary, Negan pulls Eugene aside and offers to reward him if he can figure out a solution to the herd surrounding the Sanctuary, or kill him if he can’t.
Eugene goes to Gabriel’s cell and welcomes him to the Sanctuary. He opens the door and finds Gabriel curled up in a ball, sweating profusely. Gabriel murmurs that they must get Dr. Carson out of the Sanctuary, he’s Maggie’s doctor and she’s going to need his help. Eugene stares at Gabriel, unhappy with how the situation is unfolding.
- Lindsley Register as Laura
- Elizabeth Ludlow as Arat
- Mike Seal as Gary
- Traci Dinwiddie as Regina
- José Miguel Vasquez as José
- Brooke Jaye Taylor as Brooke
- First appearance of the Civic Republic Military.
- First appearance of Potter.
- First appearance of José.
- First appearance of Brooke.
- Last appearance of Yago.
- The title of the episode, "The Big Scary U", comes from Gregory’s speech, talking about how the “U” means the “Unknown”.
- This episode is 73 minutes long, according to AMC's schedule.
- This is the second extended episode this season and the twentieth extended episode overall.
- This is one of the episodes to have the most (3) writers.
- The episode confirms Regina as the leader of the Shephard Office Plaza. Gavin refers to Simon, Regina and himself as "the three outpost leaders" and Simon's and Gavin's outposts had previously been confirmed as the Satellite Outpost attacked in "The Damned" and the Chemical Plant Outpost attacked in "Some Guy".
- Gabriel and Negan refer to the events of the episode "Not Tomorrow Yet" while discussing Gabriel's role in attacking the Satellite Outpost.
- Gabriel and Negan use the trick of slathering themselves in walker guts previously seen in "Guts", "No Sanctuary", "Start to Finish" and "No Way Out".
- Rick saying a chokehold is illegal to Daryl is a reference to "Tell It to the Frogs" when Shane put Daryl in a chokehold and the latter said it was illegal with Shane sarcastically saying to “file a complaint.”
- While using the trick with the walker guts, Negan reveals that people sometimes get sick from doing it which happens to Gabriel.
- This may have been hinted at in "Guts" as a possible outcome when Rick warns everyone not to get the guts on their skin or in their eyes. In each previous occasion the trick was used, the users took precautions against this with extra coverings. Negan and Gabriel could not with the only noticeable precaution taken being Gabriel zipping his jacket all the way closed first.
- This episode marks the first time that Rick has appeared in 5 or more consecutive episodes in the 1st half of a single season since "Internment".
- Eugene plays a boxing video game released by Activision in 1980.
- Eugene mentions to Gabriel how they ate dogs together once. This is a callback to the events of "Them".
- This episode has the longest wait time before the main theme and opening credits of the show are shown, with a grand total of 15 minutes.
- The Scavengers make their return after being absent since the "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life".
- Rick and Daryl now consider the Kingdom to be effectively destroyed after learning of the death of Ezekiel's army in "Some Guy".
- Gabriel and Negan talking about their deepest secrets while being trapped in the trailer is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 164, where Rick talks with Negan while being trapped in a house instead.
- Negan and Gabriel killing walkers in the yard to try to get inside the Sanctuary is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 117, where Negan and a group of Saviors kill walkers to try to thin the herd instead.
- Negan talking about his late wife Lucille is reference to his backstory in Here's Negan.