The latest episode of The Walking Dead dedicates itself to the story of the survivors who left for Washington, DC. As it often does when the survivors split up, the series dedicates individual episodes to each side, leaving tiny cliffhangers each week.
The structure is what it is. I find it no more exasperating than I do the fact that the survivors split up in the first place when they clearly promised each other four weeks ago that they would remain together moving forward. This separated path tends to lead to death.
I suppose the top-heavy cast needs thinning out anyway… much like Eugene’s mullet.
At any rate, Abraham pilots his church bus full of Eugene (the supposed savior of the world) and others at an alarming rate down a backcountry road. Sure enough, the van backfires and crashes near an oncoming hoard of walkers.
Enter our long-missing heavy dosage of zombie gore.
There are a few things notable about this scene. First, we get our first glimpse of a potential back-story for Abraham and his militaristic fervor. Second, this fervor is perhaps heightened by Eugene’s complete inability to protect himself at all – fairly surprising considering nearly everyone remaining in the group is a 4-star zombie stabber by now.
On a side note, I’m not entirely sure how many people have read the comics or spoilers online (or finished the episode yet), so, if you want to remain completely pristine about the potential direction of the series, then skip this paragraph. Given that Eugene has shown absolutely no skills or craft whatsoever aside from some rudimentary survival skills and MacGyver-ish tendencies, I’m intrigued by the levels at which Abraham has gone to delude himself that the Mulleted Wonder actually singlehandedly possesses the key to saving the world from the zombie apocalypse. I can imagine that would be easier to swallow in the comics, but, as Eugene is represented in the show, it’s indeed a difficult pill to swallow.
Ok, end spoilers for those who skipped ahead.
After some late-night philosophizing between Abraham and Glenn, Eugene has quite a moment. First, he watches Abraham and Rosita have sex (they are aware he’s watching). Second, he confesses to Tara that he sabotaged the bus in hopes it would never leave the church parking lot. Now, he never actually explains fully why he did that, but… (see above spoiler paragraph).
Back in the Abraham flashback, after violently bashing in the heads of a collective of people (not walkers?), we see him approach three other survivors: a woman (Ella) and two children. They are clearly not thrilled with Abraham’s violent tendencies and blood-covered visage. Later, they wait until he falls asleep to escape him. Probably a bad choice, right?
The best scene of the episode hands-down has to be the fire truck scene in which Eugene fairly effectively proves wrong what I just claimed about him. Overjoyed at the availability of another form of transportation, Abraham hops in the cab and starts driving it away only to have it give out seconds later. What he didn’t consider was the fire truck actually served a purpose: it was blocking the door to the fire station, which contained a large horde of zombies.
The survivors start hacking away, and, shortly before becoming overrun, Eugene turns the hose on the zombies, effectively melting them away like an army of Wicked Witches of the West. The unintentionally hilarious camera angles of the zombies as the heavy stream of water blows them away provided the evening’s levity.
Later down the road, they encounter a massive farm full of hundreds of zombies. Abraham wants to plow forward, but the rest of his posse are more dubious.
This gives Abraham the chance to say the new classic line “We got a shit storm behind door A, and storm of shit behind door B.” Magnificent.
After a group argument, Eugene finally freaks out and confirms what I’ve been stepping around all recap: he’s not a scientist, and he has no idea how to stop this zombie plague. Naturally, this news goes over about as well as a whore in church. Eugene explains that he apparently knows “things,” but, if he does, then I’ve clearly forgotten them. The drive behind the lie was simply to flee to Washington, DC, where he felt existed the greatest chance at safety.
One thing he doesn’t know is the key to public relations. After informing the rest of the gang one too many times that he’s smarter than they are, Eugene is effectively beat to death by an enraged Abraham. At least it appears he’s dead. I’ll be honest and say that I’m basing this on the fact that the actor playing Eugene, Josh McDermitt, tweeted “What a wild ride – Thank you” earlier this evening. I’m thinking that means he’s off the show.
Finally, in Abraham’s flashback, we discover that zombies ultimately mauled the woman and children he’d hoped to save. Grief stricken, Abraham puts a gun in his mouth, but, before he can pull the trigger, Eugene stumbles up, chased by zombies. Abraham offs the zombies and forms a partnership with Eugene who claims to have some important work to do, thus bridging the flashbacks to the present in a remorseful way.
This was a decent episode overall and moved the plot forward quite a bit considering Eugene’s massive revelation. Granted, I’m not sure anyone watching the series was actually fooled, but you tell me. The biggest question remaining is where does this particular group of survivors go now? Do they follow through with Washington, DC? Does the show diverge from the comics?
It’s the little cliffhangers and lingering questions that the showrunners clearly understand are propelling viewers forward through the series week after week.
Either that or the massive zombie gore.
Choose your storm of shit.