The Walking Dead: Self-Help

Eugene: “I have a very important mission.”

This episode gave us two background stories and added to the exploration of the many ways that people can lose their minds and/or commit acts of evil cowardice in this post-apocalyptic world.

This was Abraham’s and Eugene’s episode. We learn that Abraham was a survivor from the start but the brutality that has carried him this far scared his wife and children so badly that they ran from him and ended up dying. All I could think was it must have been too early in the disaster. His wife and children were still too close to civilization and saw him as a monster. Given time they would have realized that he was just the type of monster they needed. But instead they ran and Abraham, feeling responsible for their deaths was about to kill himself when Eugene arrives and gives him a reason to go on.

For many viewers, Eugene’s disclosure that he wasn’t a scientist didn’t come as a big surprise. His story didn’t really hang together and that became more obvious during the episode. When he started to go on about global warming I thought that for sure someone would get suspicious. Glenn changed the subject abruptly and I thought that maybe he knew that Eugene was lying and I’m sure in some corner of his mind he did but he and the others wanted to believe Eugene as much as he wanted them to.

Eugene compares himself to the priest and feels that neither of them had a choice but to be the cowards they were. It isn’t until he is, as Tara says, “screwed either way” that he tells the truth in the hope that he can help someone by making sure that no one else gets killed. At least he makes that choice although I can’t say that I blamed Abraham for punching him. As for Abraham, it becomes very clear that he has gone over the edge and is a danger in his own way. He is obsessed with finishing his mission despite the costs to others. Perhaps it is the only way he can justify continuing to live after the death of his family. The scene where he falls to his knees is heartbreaking as his memories and the present moment converge. It is hard to say what will happen to him now.

I’m sure that there are many that will find this another ‘slow’ episode but I felt that it raised some important issues and provided some context for what will come next. Whatever hope Eugene provided is now gone...again. Is it enough to just survive for yourself? Is it enough to find a new beginning in the mess that is the present world? What kind of civilization will there be where everyone is ‘strong’ and your only choices are to help those that you know can help you and kill those that might kill you. Is something beyond mere survival even possible if there is no way to reverse or address the issue of walkers?

Bits and Pieces

Rosita and Abraham are obviously an item. Of course there would be little privacy for sex in these situations. You certainly wouldn’t want to go off into the woods or some other private place. It was a nice touch when Tara shooed Eugene away and then went to take a peek herself.

How clearly was Eugene thinking if he put glass in the gas line? He could have easily killed them all.

Eugene took out his first walker and then helped the group by using the water hose. He may be an asset to the group even if he isn’t a scientist, that is, of course, if he lives.

Abraham is still wearing his wedding ring. Also he has been to a goat rodeo.


Tara: “Party’s getting a little long in the back.”

Tara: “I know it’s tough and it’s scary but it’s time to be brave.”
Eugene: “It isn’t voluntary?”
Tara: “It is when you’re screwed either way. So you cut through the choice that might help somebody.”

Tara: “Maybe we can find some bikes. Bikes don’t burn.”

Abraham: “It’s gotten to the point where everybody is strong.”

Glenn: “I didn’t need to know that, but cool.”

Eugene: “It’s just that I enjoy the female form and I consider this a victimless crime that provides both comfort and distraction.”

Tara: “Welcome to the human race, asshole.”

Abraham: “There is no damned corner on this damned earth that has not been dicked hard beyond recognition.”


Jess Lynde said...

I loved the structure of this one. The way it slowly revealed the backstory that brought Abraham to his driving mission, dovetailing with the same moment it was revealed as a great big lie created really nice resonance. And, I particularly loved the way the moment of the reveal focused on the pain and loss it had caused, but then the episode left us with the moment in which the lie saved two lives: Eugene’s and Abraham’s.

I was rather surprised that Eugene’s revelations came now, when they are only 15 miles up the road. It made narrative sense, given the head space the characters were in, but I didn’t expect the mission to fall apart quite so quickly. So what happens now? Double back and regroup with Rick, Daryl, and crew? And then what? Push to D.C. anyway, or just to the next promising resting place? Does the production crew want to start making Georgia look like other places, or will the action remain in Georgia?

I really enjoyed the night at the bookstore sequence. So many lovely elements in that one. Lots of bits reflecting on (1) the world as it is (showing how skilled they are at setting up camp, repairing wounds); (2) what that world has done to them (most everyone still being troubled by the night before at the church, Abraham noting how killing is the easiest thing in the world now); (3) the ways they still maintain their humanity (Abraham and Rosita sharing a moment of passion, Eugene watching, and Tara and Eugene reaching out to one another with compassion and human connection); and (4) their hopes for the future (Glenn and Maggie’s conversation about the happiness they feel being on a journey about what’s gonna be, not what was). But it pointedly ended on that ominous shot of Abraham looking out the window as the walker goes by with the eerie music coming up. Great sequence.

I also really liked the through line for Rosita in this episode. It started by showing how she supports him by following his orders, but then progressed through her slowly coming around to supporting him by refusing to let his relentless drive hurt Eugene and the others. I loved the contrast between her private attempts to get him to see reason while still publicly supporting him, and her later very public stand against him regarding the detour and Eugene. That moment when she refuses to let Abraham kill Eugene ----- with pain in her eyes, but her had on her gun --- was quite potent.

Heather said...

Remember that one TV show called LOST?

This episode made me nostalgic for it.