First Aired February 26th, 2017
A hysterical Eugene (played by Josh McDermitt) is brought into the Saviors camp but is surprised when he’s given a comfortable room and his choice of food. Meanwhile, Negan (played by Jeffery Dean Morgan) orders Dwight (played by Austin Amelio) beaten in response to Daryl’s (played by Norman Reedus) escape.
After being locked up, Dwight also learns that his wife Sherry (played by Christine Evangelista) also disappeared shortly after Daryl escaped. After Negan is satisfied Dwight had nothing to do with it, Negan releases him and orders he find Sherry and bring her back. Eugene is told he’s now one of the Saviors and is given a tour of the facility and uses his old lie of being a biochemist working on a cure to make himself seem useful. He is ordered to come up with a way to reinforce walkers used in the facility with metal to keep them from falling apart. As a “reward,” Negan allows three of his “wives” to hang with him, but when they question Eugene about his government work he’s cagey; instead he does a few homemade experiments to entertain them. Dwight goes to a prearranged meeting place he had with Sherry and finds a farewell letter where she apologizes for getting them mixed up with Negan and the Saviors.
Eugene has always been soft—to put it mildly—and it was disappointing not to see him treated more harshly. It would have been just what he needed to toughen up (or completely break). Throughout the series, Eugene seemed to be growing into a stronger character—but that all disappeared. He went back to his pathetic cover story and would have willingly sold out Daryl if he knew where he was. Eugene is a character who can’t ever be someone we can root for unless it’s him meeting a bitter end. Dwight undoubtedly loves Sherry, but his loyalty to Negan and the Saviors was literally beaten into him. If Dwight had found her, he would have likely dragged her back or even killed her if necessary. Sherry leaving him behind was a final act of kindness for Dwight: to keep him from having to do something he would regret.
The next night, two of Negan’s wives, Frankie (played by Elyse Dufour) and Tanya (played by Chloe Aktas), return to Eugene’s room expressing concern about the other wife Amber (played by Autumn Dial). Amber can’t handle the stress of a forced relationship with Negan and they ask Eugene to make something to help her commit suicide. Although reluctant, Eugene eventually agrees when they tell him she will try with or without their help. Using newfound authority and courage, Eugene forces a supply worker to give him the materials he needs. Upon returning, Dwight lies and says he found Sherry and killed her when she refused to return. He also plants the note Sherry gave Daryl when he escaped in the desk of the resident doctor, who, after being beaten, admits to being responsible. In response, Negan hurls him into a furnace and makes everyone watch him burn alive. Frankie and Tanya come for the pills Eugene made, but he refuses after deducing that they want to poison Negan. They call him a coward and storm off.
Dwight continues to protect Sherry by faking her death; nobody will bother to look for her now. That makes me think framing the doctor for Daryl’s escape was a personal vendetta, because it’d be simple enough to blame it on Sherry. There was a spark in Eugene halfway through the episode when he began demanding the supplies. For a moment, I thought he was taking steps to becoming a real survivor, but I was quickly proven wrong. Eugene had a real shot to take down Negan from the inside and someone like Daryl would have taken it no hesitation. But that fear Eugene has been carrying around ultimately won out. You can, however, cut him a little slack, given he watched a man get roasted alive—which understandably shook him. Every character on the show has grown, but Eugene remains the same self-preserving coward he was when he was introduced. This was a great episode considering it was centered on an arguably unlikeable character and I’m interested to see where Eugene goes from here.
Negan visits Eugene’s room and asks Eugene who he is and he immediately responds that he is “Negan.” Eugene/Negan then begins to oversee the reinforcement of the walkers as a fully recognized member of the Saviors and has seemingly embraced it. Eugene is the perfect kind of person for Negan; easily intimidated and ready to do anything for anyone to keep himself alive. What remains to be seen is if Eugene will actively act against everyone in Alexandria when the time comes.
“I’m Negan. I’m utterly, completely, stone-cold Negan. I was Negan before I even met you. I just needed to meet you properly to know, I’m Negan.”
“I am indeed a smarty pants.”
I can’t wait to see how Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln) and the others react to Eugene’s change of allegiance; if Eugene wasn’t scared before, he will be when he faces them.
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