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Major spoilers below for The Walking Dead's latest episode, "Hostiles and Calamities."
Hmmm. When The Walking Dead does good by its characters, it excels with flying colors, and the same goes for when things get soiled for one reason or another. With tonight's episode, Eugene slipped into the unpredictable purgatory between those two stations, as he entered Negan's Sanctuary a hostage and a victim, but took little time to affix himself directly beneath the antagonist's tyrannical thumb. Is the AMC drama putting our mulletted hero in an advantageous position to destroy the enemy from within, or has Eugene actually become a Negan-phyte?
Though Eugene expected to be treated like something less than human when he arrived at the Sanctuary, the exact opposite happened. As opposed to Negan's plan to suffer Dwight into submission, Eugene is given the Cloud Nine route, complete with big compliments and a lush room and important tasks to accomplish. It's everything that the lie-telling Southerner has wanted out of life, and after Abraham's death dropped him back into a non-winning mindset, it's the kind of life that Eugene probably never expected to see. It's the kind of life that has seemingly made him give up his own identity, the very identity that made him so important within the Sanctuary to begin with.
One could think it's all just an act, but not even his new Grembly-grunk, with stuffing for a brain, could really think that's what is happening here. Though he'd once fooled many into thinking he had a straight line to the scientific future of the United States, Eugene has become incredibly easy to read since then, and there was nothing beyond "gradual acceptance" seen on his face tonight. He created women-pleasing explosives, created supposed "suicide pills" before figuring out what they were really for, gave Negan a genius way to re-enforce the walker-filled exterior, and watched Dr. Carson get thrown into the furnace. And it was all numbed with video games.
Further, Eugene did not offer up those pills because he realized they were for Negan, which seemingly fits him even more squarely in Negan's ruling fist. But what if the always-empathetic Eugene was actually just saving Frankie & Co. from having to take on the task of killing Negan themselves, and he plans on attempting that duty? That's not so crazy, right? Watching Eugene and Dwight in those final seconds, though...I just don't know.