Ok, can the Saviours be dead now? No, really, we’ve had four episodes of epic fighting, some tragedy - can this war be over now? Can we not have a last minute resurgence of Negan and just have it over? Can we have Gabe suddenly reveal his purpose in life is to shoot Negan in the head repeatedly?
We’ve got to have a whole episode of Negan analysis. Oh. Yay.
Did anyone want this?
So we’re actually going back before all the fighting to get some more insight into Gabe, a character no-one has cared about for so very long. Gabe is apparently super worried about dying a fruitless death
This is the man who nearly got himself killed saving Gregory’s useless arse. Gave you nearly died the most fruitless death ever. Honestly you’d have to work hard to have a more pointless death. Note, Gabe is willing to put in the work on this
We also see the Saviours before the battle, especially Negan’s inner council of soldiers including Simon, his right hand man who seems to get as much shit and threats from Negan as he gets support: I think that Negan is very aware of who may replace him. Simon’s also invested a lot in Gregory (who is there to convince everyone how he still totally has Hilltop underwraps which… is a hard sell) which isn’t exactly good for him. One thing that Negan does make clear is that he isn’t in favour of indiscriminate slaughter because people are a resource
This is an excellent and interesting point - in pre-industrial times people WERE a resource, people were valuable, everything from agriculture to building was very labour intensive. This, again harking back to the earlier episodes of this season, shows a step away from the basic survival narrative (where extra people use up your scant, scavenged resources) to building a new society (where you are confident you can produce enough resources to survive and now need people to help build a better future).
Then we get the attack and Negan and Gabe ending up in the same trailer. I thought Gabe would be brutally tortured by Negan. Instead we get them talking
Oh what joy.
Gabe has decided his purpose in life is to get Negan to confess and embrace redemption. Uh-huh. This involves lots of poking Negan to try and figure his philosophy in case we haven’t guessed it. This comes with a lot of Negan self-justification by how everyone is a combination of strength and weakness and he forces people to be strong. How he inspires people and how he has united all of the disparate gangs that used to rule here.