“Welcome home, Haircut,” says one of the Saviors to Eugene (Josh McDermitt) as he’s brought into the Sanctuary and given the same room Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) tempted Daryl (Norman Reedus) with in episode 11 of season seven of AMC’s horror/drama series, The Walking Dead.
The episode begins with Dwight (Austin Amelio) discovering Fat Joey’s body and realizing that Daryl has escaped. Daryl knows what’s coming and waits in his room for Negan’s goons to beat him for allowing Daryl to escape. He hides a note written by Sherry that reads “Go now” – the note she wrote to Daryl advising him to flee.
Meanwhile, Laura (Lindsley Register) tells Eugene he’s one of them now and gets him something to eat. She shows Eugene around, explaining the system and how he is one of the elite – not a worker. The elite eat well while the workers eat crap. While Laura’s explaining this, Eugene notices a young person stealing but doesn’t say anything about it.
Dwight’s locked up in solitary in the same room where Daryl was kept. Negan arrives on the other side of the door asking Dwight where Sherry ran off to and if she freed Daryl. Negan then asks Dwight if he freed Daryl. “You were supposed to break him. Did he break you?” asks Negan. Dwight tells Negan he didn’t and is very much still “Negan.” Negan lets him out of the room and tells him to get fixed up by the doc before heading out to find Sherry.
Once in the medical office, Dr. Emmitt Carson (Tim Parati) tends to Dwight’s wounds and tells him that Sherry has a big heart and that she must have let Daryl out. The doc says he wasn’t bothered by the treatment Daryl was given and that Dwight “gets it.” After getting stitched up, Dwight stops by his room and grabs a hidden cigarette pack before leaving the Sanctuary on Daryl’s old motorcycle.
Shaking in fear, Eugene is taken to see Negan in the courtyard and Negan asks him if he’s just another assh*le and Eugene says he’s not. He rattles off all his education and his work experience prior to the zombie apocalypse, even telling Negan he’s finished his Ph.D. so he’s a doctor. He uses his old fake Human Genome Project to make himself sound more useful. Negan doesn’t seem impressed and tests Eugene by asking how they can keep the walkers they use to guard the perimeter from decaying and falling apart. Eugene tells Negan the answer is easy and he already has everything he needs to fix the problem. Eugene advises him to melt down smelt and pour it on the walkers to reinforce their decomposing bodies and better fasten them to the fence. Negan loves his answer, calling it “practical and badass” and he rewards Eugene by allowing him to spend a night with his wives. Eugene asks if he said “wives” as in plural and Negan says yes but tells Eugene he can’t have sex with them, but sometimes just being in the company of beautiful women can make a man feel like a man again.
That evening, Eugene plays video games and talks to Negan’s wives – Tanya, Frankie, and the heavy-drinking Amber. While trying to impress them with his intelligence, he describes how he can make a bomb using ordinary household products. They’re suitably impressed when Eugene takes them outside and explodes two balloon gloves filled with hydrogen peroxide, earning him a hug.
Out on the road, Dwight heads to Sherry’s old house hoping to find her, but what he finds is a letter she left for him. Sherry’s letter reveals Dwight never had a good memory and she didn’t think he would find the letter and remember this was their meet-up place if they got separated. As Dwight compares her handwriting to the note she left for Daryl, the letter further explains Dwight didn’t want to live in the world of the Saviors and she made him to keep him from dying. “You’ve become everything you didn’t want to be, and it’s my fault,” says Sherry in the letter. Sherry admits to letting Daryl go because he reminded Dwight of the person he used to be and she wanted him to forget again. Sherry ends the letter by saying she loved who Dwight was and she’s sorry she made him into who he is now.
Dwight looks at their wedding rings which were hidden in the cigarette pack. He then takes out chips and a six pack and leaves them on the dining room table before taking off.
The next evening, Tanya and Frankie stop by Eugene’s room and he’s confused by their surprise visit. They confess Negan didn’t send them this time and tell Eugene that Amber can’t live with being one of Negan’s wives. They need his help to come up with something so she’ll go to sleep and not wake up. At first Eugene doesn’t want any part of it, pointing out it’s dangerous because she’ll come back as a walker. Tanya and Frankie tell him they’ll handle it, and after wearing him down a little and appealing to his caring side, Eugene tells them to come back with Amber’s exact measurements and he’ll do it.
The following day Eugene bypasses the line waiting for supplies and asks Number 16 for cold capsules. She calls him a prick and tells him to get in line and wait his turn, and he’s almost ready to follow her order when he decides to use his newfound power as one of the elite. Eugene tells her he’s the new chief engineer and reports directly to Negan, which means she reports to him. Surprised and rattled, Number 16 apologizes and gives Eugene the pills he requested. This use of power emboldens Eugene and he grabs a bedpan, a flyswatter, a stuffed toy, and the rest of the cold medicine, just for good measure.
Back in his room, Eugene creates two capsules for Amber to use to kill herself.
Dwight returns to the Sanctuary and tells Dr. Carson he killed Sherry after she ran from him and wound up in a batch of walkers.
A little later Eugene is brought to a gathering of the Saviors in front of the furnace. The crowd kneel in front of Negan and then rise as one, with Negan warning Eugene he needs to pay attention. Negan hits Dr. Carson, showing him a note which reads “Goodbye, honey,” that was found in the doctor’s desk. Dwight’s set up Dr. Carson to take the blame for letting Daryl escape by telling Negan that right before he killed her, Sherry confessed Dr. Carson let Daryl out. Fearing Negan would blame it on her, Sherry fled the compound.
Carson begs Negan, pleading with him that he’s innocent but Negan doesn’t believe him and gets ready to burn his face the same way he did Dwight’s. Desperate not to have his face burned, Carson lies and confesses he released Daryl. “That’s all I needed to hear,” says Negan who doesn’t burn the doc’s face and smiles up at Eugene. Just when Dr. Carson believes the worst is over, Negan throws him head-first into the furnace. Negan tells Dwight he’s sorry he had to kill Sherry and Dwight replies by saying it doesn’t bother him that she’s dead. “Ice cold. I love it!” says Negan.
Later in Eugene’s room, the two wives show up looking for the poison Eugene agreed to make. Eugene tells them he made it but they can’t have it. He reveals he knows they’re really going to try to poison Negan. Tanya calls him a coward and Eugene tells her that’s a “correct assessment” of him. They leave disappointed. A little later Negan knocks on Eugene’s door with his famous bat, Lucille. Negan tells Eugene he knows it’s a big adjustment, but he doesn’t have to be afraid anymore. He tells Eugene he just needs to answer one question and it’s a big one. Negan starts to ask Eugene who he is but before he can finish, Eugene answers “I’m Negan. I’m utterly, completely, stone-cold Negan. I was Negan before I even met you, I just needed to meet you properly to know.”
The last scene of the episode takes place the following day and shows Eugene overseeing the pouring of hot smelt on the walkers. Dwight walks up and they introduce themselves, with Eugene ending by saying, “We are Negan.”
The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 11 Review:
Slow-paced but at times surprising, episode 11 titled ‘Hostiles and Calamities’ reveals what happened to Eugene at the Sanctuary after Negan took him from Alexandria upon learning he was the one who made the bullet that almost killed him. It also gave the audience some insight into who Dwight was before meeting Negan and the Saviors.
The two stand-out performances in this episode are delivered by Josh McDermitt as Eugene and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan. It’s really McDermitt who shines in this episode as he conveys how absolutely terrified Eugene is of Negan and how it might not just be an act of survival when he tells the leader of the Saviors that he’s Negan. It’s possible he might have actually been quickly transformed into a Savior. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is once again menacing and extremely intimidating as Negan. Especially impressive is the scene in which he seems to actually understand how scared Eugene is and tells him he doesn’t have to be anymore.
With it unclear as to whether Eugene is really a loyal Savior now or just trying to fit in to survive, it will be interesting to see whose side he ends up on when the big battle finally happens between the Saviors and Rick’s ever-growing like-minded group of friends.