Do you hate Eugene?

If not, would you like to?

If so, would you like to hate him even more?

Then boy howdy did The Walking Dead have a show for you yesterday evening.

Naked Ambition

Let’s get those pesky subplots out of the way first, though.

Turns out Rick was not buck naked in that storage container. Jadis and her band of grammatically stunted weirdos allowed him to keep his boxers. They did not, however, allow him to keep an ounce of his dignity.

Jadis has Rick periodically pulled from his cell to be photographed so that they can create a sculpture of him. Once they’ve covered all his best angles, they send him out to be killed by Winslow 2.0.

Thankfully for Rick, the show’s writers are determined to keep him as the established series lead. After receiving a surge of strength from his main character antibodies, he somehow kills an armored walker, beats down Jadis’ (armed) henchman, and overpowers Jadis herself with both hands literally tied behind his back.

The Scavengers finally surround Rick and look like they’re about to shoot when Jadis stops them (?) and decides to take Rick’s declaration that he is leaving–and potentially coming back with an invading army if they don’t help him–seriously (!).

Thus began the most awkward negotiations imaginable. Rick asks Jadis to help him take out The Saviors. Jadis asks for all The Saviors’ things. Rick counters by offering them only a quarter of The Saviors’ things. Jadis counters by asking for a quarter of The Saviors’ things AND the chance to sculpt Rick without any pants on. Rick refuses. Jadis accepts.

I mean, what the hell is happening here? Did this group, who blatantly betrayed Rick after tricking him into getting them a boatload of weapons, suddenly develop a weird honor code? How did they go from The Scavengers to The Spineless Negotiators? Jadis could have totally held out for getting a peek at Rick’s junk at least.

Anyway, Rick gets his clothes back and heads out with The Scavengers to the Sanctuary. When he gets there, he’s shocked/saddened to discover that Daryl and his crew of badasses have already done what should have been done in the first place.

Zombie Jamboree

Yeah, I said it. Daryl had the right idea.

Let’s back up a bit first. Rosita, who I used to be in love with, actually says “I believe in Rick Grimes” before deciding that their plan to take out The Sanctuary isn’t worth it. Michonne, who I had previously been willing to follow to the gates of Hell and back, says basically the same thing.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement.

Thankfully, Tara–who I have never liked–still has some damn sense. She and Morgan (who is generally awesome) cover Daryl as he plows the truck into the Sanctuary, allowing the walkers inside. This not only makes for a great moment, but also a stark reminder of just how scary zombies can be when they swarm in a large group.

The Mullet Abides

Let’s back up again to see how we got here (Hey, if the show can do multiple time jumps, so can I).

Remember how Eugene figured out Dwight was the mole because of a random paint stain? Well, he confronts him about it, demanding that he not help the other side anymore or by golly, he’ll tell Negan. Dwight counters by saying that The Saviors have already lost the war and Eugene should just shut up and not do anything. Eugene promises not to tell Negan about Dwight betraying them.

Yeah, I’m not sure how that came together either.

Later, Eugene visits Gabriel, whose main character antibodies were struggling to fight off a good old fashioned (i.e. not related to the walkers) infection. To Gabriel’s credit, his main concern was not for himself, but that Eugene get a doctor from the Sanctuary to help Maggie with her phantom pregnancy. Eugene responds by reminding Gabriel that he is a selfish coward who is too scared to help other people. He comes back later when things go badly and declares basically the exact same sentiment in slightly stronger words.

As if to drive Gabriel’s point home further, one of Negan’s wives visits Eugene to ask about a boombox he was supposed to fix for her–and to chastise him for not going along with their plan to kill Negan, which would have freed them from being his sex slaves. Instead, Eugene only thought about himself.

Eugene continues his tour of awkward encounters with Negan when he actually tries to kiss his hand. Negan then teaches Eugene how to do a proper handshake before reminding him that he needed to fix the walker problem. Eugene comes up with an admittedly cool idea of using a glider with music pumping from Sasha’s coffin iPod to lead the walkers away. His plans gets literally shot down when Dwight finds him and blows his creation out of the sky.

That’s about the time Daryl got the truck to plow into the Sanctuary and the Savior Buffet became open for business. Negan calls an emergency staff meeting. Eugene says he thinks he can fix this by making a lot of bullets (?). He’s also about to out Dwight as the traitor just as Dwight walks in. Whether it’s due to a shred of decency or a loss of nerve, Eugene doesn’t say anything.

The Verdict

I give the show a lot of credit for not doing the easy/predictable redemption story arc with Eugene. Not only is it different from the comics, but it makes a lot more sense based on what we’ve seen from the character in the past.

I almost counted Eugene’s indecision about turning on Dwight as a negative, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Eugene is so spineless that he can’t even do treachery correctly.

Speaking of not doing things correctly, we’re once again forced to sit through another absurd Rick Grimes Side Adventure. I’m not sure which is worse: The impossible physical feats or baffling decisions by the characters–including Grimes himself. The only people who believe in Rick Grimes more than Rosita and Michonne are the show’s writers, apparently.

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 7 ‘Time For After’ Review
Is it good?
Rick Grimes' adventure are getting dumber every week, but at least this episode's focus on Eugene showed that consistent/intriguing stories are still possible.
The show is making some daring (and wonderfully consistent) choices with Eugene.
Daryl definitely has the right idea on how to end this war.
Remember how scary a large group of walkers can be? You will after this episode.
Rick Grimes' side adventures are becoming as implausible as they are absurd.
6.5