Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of The Walking Dead! Proceed with caution, survivors. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched this week’s episode, “Hostiles and Calamities”, we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.
Hooray for Eugene! In a world of savage warriors, he’s always represented us–the fangirls and fanboys. Of all the characters on The Walking Dead, he’s the one who would be most likely to watch The Walking Dead. And for that we love him to no end. In “Hostiles and Calamities,” our favorite mullet-wearing brainiac gets a whole episode all to himself, and he carries it just like we knew he could. But amidst the heart and humor he always brings, he runs afoul of some trouble that just might push him into the front ranks in the coming Rick-versus-Negan war. The question is–which side will he choose to be on?
“Hostiles and Calamities” begins immediately after Daryl left the Sanctuary. Or, rather, was let go. We finally learn that it was Sherry who released the archer, before fleeing herself. Dwight of course is left to pick up the pieces, shoulder the blame, and receive orders from Negan to fetch his ex-wife. Ironically, in her absence, Sherry plays a bigger role than ever in Dwight’s life. In a note she leaves for him in their old homestead, he learns she freed Daryl because she believed he reminded Dwight of the way he used to be, and she wanted him to forget; presumably for the sake of his sanity. But Dwight can’t bring himself to forget completely, and he keeps the wedding ring she left (which leads me to believe we’ll see Sherry again before too long), along with her note. Dwight cleverly uses the latter as a means of shifting the blame for her departure to Doctor Carson, who winds up in Negan’s furnace.
But good riddance, thinks Negan, now that he’s got the even smarter Eugene to serve as his chief engineer. And in Eugene’s “job interview” with the thug, we see him use the same tricks with which he first convinced Abraham to take him under his wing. Here, however, there’s an added wrinkle, because “Hostiles and Calamities” toys with us just like Eugene toys with the Saviors, making us think he’s crying in terror one moment, then revealing his sly smile at his victory a moment later. Eugene’s in the Sanctuary but a few days before he figures out how to get on Negan’s good side, and he rises quicker in ranks than he ever did in Alexandria, and than I daresay most anyone has at the Sanctuary. He’s essentially the exact opposite of Daryl, quickly adapting to his new way of life, and willing to proclaim he’s Negan before he’s even asked to do. He even likes that godforsaken “Easy Street” song.
Eugene’s true acid test, however, comes when he befriends Negan’s wives. Or rather, when they befriend him, in an attempt to assassinate their loving husband. It’s clear that Eugene hasn’t enjoyed the company of too many women in his day, and it’s hilariously uncertain if he treats them to a night of thirty-year-old video games because he genuinely wants to or because he’s trying to avoid being tempted by forbidden fruit. But when they try recruiting him to create a poison for Negan, saying it’s for their suicidal friend, he sees through their ruse immediately.
The question now is whether or not Eugene himself is completely trying play Negan. I’d like to think so, otherwise his evolution over the last several seasons will have been pretty much for nought… Of course I want the nerd to win!
— “No, you can’t have lobster. What the hell do you think this is?”
— Truth be told, Yar’s Revenge IS a pretty good game.
— “Video games are all about me showing all of you a fun time. Would you care for more microwave popcorn?”
— Does the relationship between Negan and his wives remind anyone else of that between Immortan Joe and his wives in Mad Max: Fury Road? They’re even similarly distinguished by their hair colors.
— “I’m gonna call it a grimly gunk.”
— “I am utterly completely stone-cold Negan.”
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).