The Walking Dead producers must have got all those fan letters demanding more air time for that mullet, because we finally got the solo Eugene episode we've all been dreaming of. Fortunately, Eugene's ongoing role as the show's often whimpering but always awkward comedic relief proved a winning formula, because 'Hostiles and Calamities' was one episode that ticked all the right boxes. It provided a deeper insight into the inner workings of the Sanctuary, exploring Eugene's character away from the domineering influence of Rosita and setting up a shocking moment for what was to come in Season 7 Episode 14.
Why Didn't Eugene Leave With Sasha And Rosita?
Rosita and Sasha's assassination mission quickly turned into a rescue attempt after spotting Eugene working at the Sanctuary. But rather than look relieved that he was being liberated, he outright refused to leave:
"I'm not going with you. I didn't ask you to come, so go. People got to be en route."
It's a response that shocked not only Sasha and Rosita, but confused fans everywhere. Has Eugene really committed to being just another Negan, working his way up the slimy ranks of the Saviors? Surely he wouldn't just switch sides like that?
Well, maybe not. Don't forget that when Sasha and Rosita spotted him working through the sniper's scope, they remarked that he was "playing some angle". And his profuse declarations of being "also known as Negan, who I am" seemed a little over-the-top. It's highly likely that Eugene's simply biding his time to put his own plan into action.
In fact, the biggest hint that Eugene isn't really loyal to the Saviors was revealed in Season 7 Episode 11, thanks to a certain shoplifting Savior:
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Who Was That Guy?
Eugene was really thrown in the deep end at the Sanctuary in Episode 11, which was clear to see by the shell-shocked expression on his face. He trailed after Laura, taking in all the sights of the hipster farmer's market that is the bustling trading centre of Negan's headquarters.
While Laura was busy checking those pickles were homemade, certified organic and non-GMO, something caught Eugene's eye: a red-headed teenager sneakily stealing something. The two made eye contact before he quickly slipped away into the crowd.
This isn't the first time we've seen that character on #TheWalkingDead. His first appearance was actually earlier this season, in Episode 3. Right at the very beginning of the episode, Dwight watched an older red-headed man getting beaten up in the marketplace, and presumably killed. Dwight took note of his number, then went to raid his belongings, finding mustard and pickles.
As he rummaged through the belongings, two people watched on: a pregnant woman, and a teenager. It's safe to assume that these people are the man's wife and son.
This shows two very clear links between Episode 3 and Episode 11— the jar of pickles, and the teenager who stole in front of Eugene. But the more important issue is this: why didn't Eugene tell anyone about what he saw?
Is Eugene A Saint, Or Just A Coward?
ComicBook.com put forward a theory that Eugene chose to say nothing about the crime he'd witnessed to protect someone who was clearly far worse off than him; a clear sign that despite his declaration to Negan, he's still a compassionate person, and possibly still loyal to Rick.
This is definitely possible, but it's also likely that Eugene's actions were largely motivated by cowardice. For some bizarre reason, not wanting to kill people has been the biggest trend in zombie town lately; up until recently, Morgan and Carol were both strictly opposed to the loss of life at their hands. Eugene knows that telling on the thief will most likely result in a murder, and he definitely doesn't want to be responsible for that. He hasn't killed anyone yet, and he probably doesn't want to start now.
Eugene Is Biding His Time— But For What?
So if Eugene spared that kid's life out of cowardice rather than compassion, then what's with the whole "I'm Negan" schtick?
Eugene may be a coward, but that doesn't mean he's willing to be Negan's henchman in exchange for pickles and video games. But if he wanted to plot against Negan, wouldn't he have jumped at the opportunity to get in on the wives' poison plot? Not quite. For all Eugene knew, that entire harem of women could have been sent to tempt Eugene and test his loyalty. And if that was a test, he definitely passed. The timing of Negan's death following his arrival would have been way too obvious, and Eugene has more than one reason to bide his time.
First of all, there's the prospect of being able to gather supplies and information for Rick using his newfound access-all-areas Sanctuary pass. Secondly, Eugene can see right through Dwight. He may have sacrificed the resident doctor to take the heat off both himself and Sherry, but Dwight is starting to reveal where his loyalties really lie— which could mean trouble for Negan. We might just see Eugene and Dwight pair up to betray their swaggering leader.
Gremblygunk's Higher Purpose
Funnily enough, the biggest hint at Eugene's secret plan came in the form of a knitted sloth. As well as being a way nicer companion than Rosita ever was, a popular theory on Reddit is that "Gremblygunk" is Eugene's secret hiding spot for the poison pills he made earlier in the episode. It would also explain why Gremblygunk is hanging out of Eugene's pocket while he supervises his work, rather than staying in his bedroom. And as we saw in Episode 14, he's still carrying the little guy around.
Earlier in Episode 11, Eugene is shown to be playing one of the first video games to contain an Easter Egg— which by itself was a huge hint to keep an eye out for something very significant. Who would have thought that something would be a toy sloth by the name of Gremblygunk?
What do you think Eugene's motives are?
(Source: Comic Book)