In the latest episode of The Walking Dead, fear is the name of the game.
Well children, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen Negan. But his presence instills fear in pretty much anyone he comes across. The lucky winners this week are Eugene and Dwight. And man, are they terrified.
Let’s start with Eugene. Poor, sad, petrified Eugene. You’ll remember that the last time we saw him, he was being taken away from Alexandria after Rosita let slip that there was someone making homemade bullets. And when I say slip, I mean she tried to blow Negan’s brains out with the bullet Eugene made for her but shot Lucille instead (you had one job!). Before Rosita had her pretty face scarred beyond recognition, Eugene revealed that he was the one who made the bullet, and Negan decided to take him. Fast forward to the now, where a still-petrified Eugene has arrived at the Sanctuary. If there was an Emmy category for Best Terrified Character in a Series, Josh McDermitt would win, hands down. Eugene was so scared, he cried and begged not to be put in a cell. Before he could piss his pants, the door to the cell opened and instead of darkness, there was light. The cell wasn’t a basic hole like the one Daryl was in. It was the small studio that we saw a few episodes back, the one Negan tried to tempt Daryl with in exchange for his loyalty. Eugene looked around, still petrified (smart man), but not as much. He looked in the fridge and found food, then turned on the radio, which played that FUCKING SONG!!! I swear I almost jumped out of the window when it came on.
At the same time of Eugene’s arrival, Dwight learned all at once that Daryl had escaped and killed Fat Joey. We know what happens when Negan gets angry and Dwight’s face is the evidence of said anger. God knows what’s in store for him, and even the Man (or Woman) upstairs may be clueless on that front. Cuz Negan ain’t one for routine, no ma’am. He likes variety and I was sure we were going to get some in this episode. And it didn’t take long. Before the opening credits, the Saviors burst into Dwight’s room and proceeded to beat the crap out of him, while Negan and Lucille stood in the doorway and watched.
This week’s episode was all about Eugene and it was insightful, to say the least. Eugene is a coward. He’s a liar. He has a big brain. He wants to feel useful without being in danger. But Eugene also sees opportunity where others may not. He understands that Negan is a psychopath to those he feels are disposable. But he knows good people and Eugene is good people. He’s a punk, of course, but he’s also valuable. Eugene’s best asset is his fear. He uses it to stay alive. He will do what is necessary to keep Negan happy and himself breathing and eating as many pickles as he likes.
For a minute, I thought Eugene was going to be brave. I thought the interest Negan’s wives showed in him would be enough for Eugene to help them with their plan. I thought he would finally man up and rescue everyone from the tyranny. But after seeing Negan throw Dr. Carson into the oven (like I said, Negan likes variety), Eugene changed his mind quickly. Because, like I said, he’s a smart man. Negan does not take betrayal lightly and if the plan hadn’t worked, Eugene would most likely have met the same end as Glenn and Abraham. So instead, he remained afraid but alive and in charge of things.
Will Eugene turn into another one of those Savior buttheads? Will Dwight fall further down the Negan rabbit hole? And will Negan keep finding creative ways to scare the crap out of us all?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. Photos courtesy of AMC.