Previously on The Walking Dead: Rick was told by the camp at the junkyard that he had to go one-on-one with an armor-clad Walker named Winslow in order to receive their help in defeating Negan and The Saviors. Just when it looked like Rick had killed Winslow and won, it turned out he was actually killed by the cast of Moonlight, so Rick and company went home with nothing.
THE STORY SO FAR: Eugene is still being held captive by Negan and The Saviors as punishment for Rosita dropping the ball from outer space and all the way into the Grand Canyon with her failed attempt to kill Negan. He soon learns of all the valuable resources they have available to them (including a fully-functional Atari 2600), and also learns that he’s considered by Negan to be a valuable resource as well, due to the fact that he’s an (allegedly) brilliant genius who knows how to get things done (such as make bullets from scratch and come up with ways to keep the Walkers used as security for the Saviors’ camp from disintegrating).
Oh, and Dwight gets his ass thoroughly kicked by Negan and the Saviors due to Daryl’s escape and Sherry’s disappearance, and so he has to find a way to get back on Negan’s good side.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THE EPISODE: Eugene being a LOT less insufferable compared to how he’s been in past episode, as he shows up going from terrified (when he first arrives at the camp) to nervous (when he sees what the camp is actually like) to increasingly confident (when he realizes that he commands fear/respect/admiration due to his new position with Negan and all he can do) to confident-but-cautious (when he finally swears his loyalty to Negan and decides to do what he wants).
Negan wasn’t nearly as insufferable as he’s been in past episodes either. The fact that the hip-dipping monologuing was kept to a minimum certainly helped.
Eugene bullshitting his way through his interactions with Negan, with the ‘wives’ sent to keep him entertained in order to gain far more respect than he ever got with Rick or Abraham.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: Depending on your point of view, Negan is back. And he and the Saviors are still here to remind us how mean they are and how they truly are the villains of this story.
I know that the show wants us to care about Sherry’s disappearance and about her and Dwight no longer being together because of circumstance forcing them apart and making them into people they don’t want to be and the fact that he’s willing to lie to Negan and tell him that Sherry was killed by a group of Walkers and that he finished her off with no regrets, but…my level of interest in this storyline is the same as Chrissy Teigen’s interest in hearing Casey Affleck’s acceptance speech at the Oscars.
And this earworm made a brief but still-very-much-disturbing appearance…
DOES NEGAN KILL ANYONE ELSE?: He sure does. When Dwight plants evidence in Dr. Carson’s office that makes it seem as if he’s the one responsible for Daryl and Sherry’s disappearing acts, Negan decides to reprimand him with a hot iron to the face unless he admits what he did. Unfortunately, Dr. Carson (who clearly learned nothing from watching Mystic River) lies and takes the blame for letting Daryl go in order to look heroic in Sherry’s eyes. Negan approves of this and puts the hot iron down…and instead throws Dr. Carson in to the furnace to burn from head to toe. Which is also what he deserves for not listening to Tuddy and continuing to deliver mail from the school to Henry Hill’s house.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF HE’S NOT, THEN WE RIOT: He’s still alive and far away from Negan and The Saviors, hence why they’re so pissed-off and looking for payback.
ANY TIME-TRAVELING ALIENS IN THIS EPISODE?: I did rewind my DVR several times while watching this episode, and in the scene where Negan kills Dr. Carson, I did spot one of them in the background:
TO SUM IT ALL UP: This wasn’t an entirely necessary episode, but it did a good job showing us what Eugene was dealing with while held captive by The Saviors, and how the treatment he got with them (all the Atari 2600 games he can play, spaghetti with orange-y sauce, respect and admiration from the ‘wives’ over his scientific knowledge, which quickly came to an end when he made it clear that he wasn’t going to help them kill Negan) was clearly much different than what he got from being with Rick and company. Which now leaves us to wonder whether he really has crossed over to the other side to swear loyalty to Negan or whether this is all a long con to figure out a weakness that will help Rick and company take them all down for good.
Only five more episodes until we find out.
This episode of The Walking Dead was brought to you by “Hot Like Fire” by Aaliyah…
And also by “Fire” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience…
(Mostly because I had trouble choosing between the two)