Synopsis of 8×05: Some of Negan’s backstory is revealed, while the mole within the Saviors is yet to be discovered. And Father Gabriel… tries…
Cut to the most useless person on The Walking Dead – Gregory – shortly after his appearance at the Sanctuary. Simon brings him pancakes as a reward for showing up and then whisks him off to a meeting with Negan. When Gregory tries to play the politician and tell Negan that he doesn’t like killing people, Negan is quick to disagree. “Under the right circumstances” he likes killing people – kill the right people at the right time and the rest are saved.
Gregory wants to return to the Hilltop and toss anyone disloyal to the Saviors, while Simon wants to kill them all as an example, but Negan doesn’t like either of those plans. He believes that people are the foundation of what they’re trying to build and a public killing of Rick, the Widow, and the King will force everyone else to fall in line. Towards the end of the meeting, gunfire erupts and audiences are brought back to the season premiere when Rick confronts Negan.
When the dust settles, Negan and Father Gabriel are alone in a trailer surrounded by walkers. Negan immediately tackles and disarms him, first teasing him about not shooting a single bullet and then admitting it was probably smarter that way. They manage to have a civil conversation, where Negan explains to Gabriel that Rick is an asshole and is going to get a lot people killed. Gabriel, for his part, believes that everything that brought them together happened for a reason and that he’s there to take Negan’s confession.
The Savior from the chemical plant survived the jeep accident long enough to tell Rick and Daryl that no one won, but that Carol, Jerry, and Ezekiel survived – in spite of Rick.
Negan doesn’t have anything to confess to Gabriel, but explains to him that people inside the Sanctuary are going to start dying without him there. Speaking truth to power, his lieutenants are meeting without him and struggling to come up with a plan. Regina wants to sacrifice some workers, but Eugene shoots down every one of her plans. And to fuel their strife, they also realize that someone on the inside must be working with Rick.
After the meeting, Eugene brings his pickles to Dwight in thanks for siding with him at the meeting. He toys with a wet chess set that Dwight has made for himself – getting red paint on his hands – before leaving.
Father Gabriel continues to try to dig into Negan’s past, with Negan only admitting that he’s helped weak people all of his life. He took the Sanctuary and made everyone there strong, which makes the world stronger – he even plans to take Gabriel on as his next project because he’s weak. Negan also berates Gabriel’s past strengths, killing sleeping Saviors at the satellite complex, as a weakness.
Intent on getting a confession out of him, Negan explains that he hasn’t killed anyone who didn’t need it. The workers aren’t slaves and no one is starving in the Sanctuary. When asked about his wives, Negan insists that they made a choice. While he’s explaining all of this Gabriel uses the distraction to try to get the handgun back from Negan. He shoots, misses, and retreats to a separate room while Negan deems it time to go.
Daryl goes to collect dynamite from the jeep, with the intention of blowing up the Sanctuary once and for all. Rick, having a sudden change of heart, doesn’t want to harm the workers and they get into a physical fight over how to proceed with the plan. As they fight, Rick throws the dynamite back towards the jeep – which is leaking gas – and the whole thing ignites. So much for that plan. They’re forced to continue on with Plan A.
With few options and time running out, Negan tries to coax Gabriel into working with him so that they can make it back to the Sanctuary alive. Gabriel tells Negan about his greatest sin, locking his congregation out of the church and allowing them to die, and explains why they have to move forward as equals – so long as Negan confesses.
Finally, Negan gives in. He tells Gabriel about his first, real wife and how she got sick and died in the middle of the apocalypse. His weakness was that he couldn’t put her down. That admission is enough to bring Gabriel out of the room. He tries to hand Negan the gun and tells him that he’s forgiven, but Negan just punches him in the face and allows him to keep the gun.
Together, they gut up in one of the walkers’ innards. Once they’re covered, they make enough noise to draw attention to the trailer once more and let the walkers in around them. They’re ignored by the horde and Negan obviously has an easier time moving through the undead than Gabriel, but they fight their way through working as a team.
As the power has gone out at the Sanctuary, the workers come up the stairs where they’re not supposed to be and confront Negan’s lieutenants about the conditions. Things begin to get out of hand and guns are drawn just before whistling can be heard. Negan and Gabriel round the corner as everyone kneels down. Gabriel is witness to the people being thankful for Negan before he’s gently carted off.
Once things settle down, Negan’s group meets with him again. Simon is still convinced someone is working with Rick and some red paint on a bag tips Eugene off to the fact that Dwight is the mole. At the end of the meeting, Negan encourages Eugene to use his brain and solve the mystery quickly – before the Sanctuary runs out of food and water.
Rick is walking down the road when he spots a fully functional helicopter flying overhead, signalling interesting things to come.
Eugene goes to give Father Gabriel a few creature comforts – namely food and pillow – to get him through his incarceration, but when he opens the door he finds Gabriel sweating profusely and gravely ill. He manages to tell Eugene that Carson is Maggie’s doctor and that they need to get him out of the Sanctuary.