The Walking Dead Recap: Hostiles and Calamities
By: Emily Offshack (@CanadianEmily)
SPOILERS AHEAD! You have been warned.
If you thought Negan wasn’t going to do anything else as brutal as the murders of Glenn and Abraham, you were wrong. I was both perplexed and nauseated by his decision to toss the doctor in the fire (sadly, that’s not a euphemism for anything). Does Negan not understand the difference between a PhD doctor and an MD doctor? I don’t think Eugene is going to be performing surgeries. He’s going to be too busy making bullets, coating zombies in metal, and organizing the Saviors’ annual science fair. Does Negan really think the doctor is expendable? More so than Dwight? And was Dwight’s story even believable? This whole situation doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Unless there’s another doctor lurking around somewhere, Negan just took away one critical pillar of safety for his people, which isn’t smart when at least a few of them are already trying to take him down. They aren’t all Negan.
I’ll have the lobster at the Easy Street Diner
Eugene arrives at The Sanctuary blindfolded and completely terrified. He seems convinced they are going to kill him or something equally bad. You can’t blame him for being scared, but logically, he should know Negan wants him to make bullets. That’s valuable, and it requires him to be alive – at least for now. So instead of being thrown in a cell or to the walkers, as Daryl was, Eugene gets a nice room. “Welcome home, Haircut!”
When you realize you’re not immediately dying, and you’re offered anything you want to eat, you might as well request lobster. The Saviors have a lot of things, but lobster isn’t one of them. Eugene settles for canned pasta (the orangey kind). He also requests pickles and chips. I love that Savior #42 – the answer to the universe – makes chips. I totally agree that chips are the answer to the universe. But Eugene doesn’t want them because they are kettle-cooked. He should have checked his fridge before requesting Chef Boyardee. There’s beer, bread, and fresh fruits and vegetables. All you need is Easy Street on the stereo to convince you it’s not so bad here after all.
Nobody leaves The Sanctuary
Dwight seems to be the first to realize that the smashed sandwich on the ground – and the dead body – means that Daryl has escaped. He checks Daryl’s cell to confirm and finds a ransacked room with the “go now” note left behind. He knows there are a limited amount of people who can be blamed for this, and it doesn’t take long before Negan shows up with some dudes to beat up Dwight and throw him in a cell.
Negan tells Dwight that Sherry is also gone, though Dwight denies to Negan that she would have let Daryl go. I’m not sure what good it does Dwight to claim this, but it’s respectable for him to continue to defend her when it might be his own life on the line. After a brief stay in the cell, Dwight acknowledges that he is Negan and is released. Negan points out to Dwight that Daryl is either going home or coming back to kill them – specifically the two of them. We know they didn’t find Daryl in Alexandria, but now we know Negan is anticipating another fight.
Dwight says he knows where Sherry would go, and he’s tasked to retrieve her, but not before being treated by poor Dr. Carson, who is unaware of his fate. The doctor goes on about how Dwight “gets it,” meaning Dwight could survive at The Sanctuary because he isn’t controlled by his heart. But that’s not it, Doc – his love for Sherry drives his actions. Dwight packs up some cigarettes from a mounted fish and heads out.
Dr. Eugene Smarty-Pants
Eugene gets a tour of the products and services available at The Sanctuary. “Beer, bread, cut your head.” Maintaining a mullet isn’t easy, and Eugene’s style isn’t going to change regardless of whether there’s a barber in the house. The Sanctuary point system is explained: everything has a point value and you keep track of the points you use – simple enough if the acquisition of points didn’t destroy your soul.
While clutching a huge jar of pickles, Eugene meets with Negan. It’s almost an interview: prove your value and you get to live. If there’s one thing that Eugene can’t stand, it’s someone questioning his superior intelligence. Plus, he needs Negan to think he’s special in order to survive. If he needs to continue to lie to everyone about how he worked on the Human Genome Project, he will do that. Eugene spews out a million reasons why he’s awesome, and Negan declares him Dr. Smarty-Pants. Making bullets is awesome, but the idea of using hot metal to reinforce the disintegrating defense walkers is what really impresses Negan. Cue the zombie guts falling out.
As a ”signing bonus” for Eugene, Negan offers three of his wives for a platonic evening. Tanya, Frankie, and Amber join him for a night of wine, video games, and science experiments. You can sense the wheels turning as the women learn about the type of things he can do, like make a bomb…and cool foam! And helium! Who wants some latex glove balloons at their next party? Well, Amber isn’t impressed. She is drunk and mopey, which kind of makes her more normal than those who are keeping it together.
Pretzels and Beer
Dwight arrives at the meeting location where he and Sherry agreed to find each other if they were separated. All he finds is a note from her, which reveals that she released Daryl because she knew he reminded Dwight of what he used to be. She says she didn’t think Dwight would come to find her. That he might not even remember that it was their meeting place, where they once said they would bring pretzels and beer.
The note describes the guilt that Sherry feels for turning Dwight into the person he is. He wasn’t the one who wanted to live with the Saviors, and now she has realized that being with the Saviors is worse than being dead. She says, “I loved who you were. I’m sorry I made you into who you are.”
Dwight absolutely had the intention to run away with Sherry (again). He brought the beer and pretzels. But without Sherry to be with, he heads back to The Sanctuary. It’s time to try to be who he was.
Dr. Eugene Smarty-Pants, Chief Engineer
Tanya and Frankie come to Eugene to ask if he can make a suicide pill for Amber, who only drinks and cries and doesn’t want to live as Negan’s wife anymore. Amber didn’t become a wife by choice; her mother needed medication and it was the only way. Eugene reasonably asks if The Sanctuary has any mental health services as an alternative solution, but all the women have to do is suggest he can’t do it, and he agrees to do it.
Eugene hasn’t waited in a line since before the apocalypse, so he gets impatient in the medicine line where he’s trying to obtain cold medication for Amber’s drug. He walks up to the front of the line, and the Savior at the desk tells him to get back in line. As he turns around, he also transforms. Knowing he won’t survive if people don’t respect him, he walks back up to the front of the line. He’s a member of the “elite” group of Saviors, and everyone is going to know it. He tells the woman at the desk that he is Chief Engineer, reporting directly to Negan, and is therefore her superior. He takes all the medication, a fly swatter, a bedpan, and a stuffed toy that he’ll call a Gremblygunk. You tell them, Eugene! But, really, he suddenly seems very comfortable…
Then it’s time for a little Breaking Bad scene where Eugene develops a suicide pill while wearing a fancy apron.
The doctor? Really?
You have to hand it to Dwight. He framed the doctor for Daryl’s escape in an elaborate albeit far-fetched story where Sherry was involved with Dr. Carson, who released Daryl because she wanted him to. Dwight plants part of Sherry’s note in Dr. Carson’s pocket while he gets his stitches checked, and he lies about finding and killing Sherry. Then he tells Negan the story.
Negan seems to believe all the lies. Really? It seems strange, but maybe that’s the point. A perfect villain could never be defeated. He believes it, and he gets very worked up over it. Negan threatens Dr. Carson with the iron, but claims he won’t do it if he gets an apology. So, the doctor apologizes, which is the same as admitting the crime. Negan backs down with the iron – and throws him into the fire! What?! Two stupid moves in one: believing the lie and killing the doctor.
I’m going to assume Dwight didn’t think that Negan would kill Dr. Carson. Having experienced the iron before, he likely thought that’s what would happen. It would have been unpleasant, but not deadly, and they would still get medical attention when needed. Though you should never assume Negan won’t do the worst thing.
Are we Negan?
Eugene catches Tanya and Frankie in their plot to kill Negan. The pill wasn’t for Amber after all, and Eugene refuses to participate. There’s no way Eugene is going to risk himself in this situation. They threaten to tell Negan that Eugene came up with the idea, but Eugene claims he’s more valuable so Negan will believe him. Eugene says a curious thing: that he is more valuable than Tanya and Frankie just as Dwight is more valuable than the doctor. I’m unsure of the logic of latter part, considering Dwight is one of the few Saviors who have been outwardly hostile to Negan. The ladies accuse Eugene of being a coward, and he agrees without hesitation as though it’s an irrelevant fact.
Eugene’s confidence is growing, but not so much that he isn’t scared when there’s a loud knock on his door, and he finds Negan and Lucille there to greet him. Negan says that the women had nothing but good things to say about him and reassures him that he doesn’t need to be scared anymore. Oddly, this instantly relaxes Eugene. Negan just needs him to answer one question, and Eugene confidently cuts him off to respond: “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.” It’s either a genius or scary response, depending on how you think Eugene is playing the game.
At the end, we’re left with the two main characters of this episode, Eugene and Dwight. Dwight’s trying to forget about that time Eugene bit him, because that would be awkward. Eugene clarifies their names: “I’m Eugene. You’re Dwight. We are Negan.” But are they?
Carol bakes cookies and Eugene is Negan
There are similarities in how Carol and Eugene can morph their personalities, and even their backstories, to suit the situation. The difference might be in how purposeful they are in their strategy. While Carol generally sets out with a predetermined strategy with a predetermined purpose, Eugene might be acting from moment to moment to keep himself safe. If a situation presents itself for Eugene to help the Alexandrians take down Negan, I believe he will. Right now, he doesn’t know if that will happen. His best chance for survival, either way, is to get on Negan’s good side. I don’t know if he would forge an alliance with Dwight to take Negan down from the inside. That plan has a lot more risk. For now, Eugene is happy to eat pickles and snuggle his Gremblygunk while he waits for a plan to unveil itself.
What I want to see next week: Anything other than someone getting thrown into a fire.