The Walking Dead has employed a new strategy this season. After bringing together the entire (remaining) cast in the season opener, the writers have broken up the principal players. The result is more localized stories that are playing out like high quality short films, that are interconnected. Instead of a serialized weekly drama where characters are contractually forced to pop up every episode. This week we spend time getting to know Abraham and Eugene. And we find out that they are a pair of damaged individuals, even by The Walking Dead's standards.
The title of the episode is, "Self-Help," however it could have easily been titled, "Self-Preservation" instead. For the first time since his introduction, we get a glimpse into Abraham's violent and traumatic back-story. Apparently at some point in the past he raged on some human beings and beat them to death in front of his wife and kids. His family grew distrustful and left him alone in the zombie apocalypse. Up until the final moments of this episode, Abraham has had a purpose and burning ambition to get Eugene to Washington DC, to save human kind. Seeing into his recent past, where he had lost all hope to the point of being suicidal, shows that his bravado is to cover up his past failures. In any case, meeting Eugene gave the former mission-less soldier a purpose in life.
On the other hand Eugene's mental stability and inability to survive in their post-apocalyptic reality has risen to the surface. He is unable to defend himself during zombie attacks because he becomes paralyzed with fear. In addition, we see Eugene become increasingly unhinged, beginning with Tara catching him watching Rosita and Abraham have sex, in a disturbingly perverted fashion.
Readers of The Walking Dead knew Eugene's secret, but it is a credit to the show that you never know if the plot will deviate or stick to the source material. After Abraham is willing to risk the lives of everyone to get Eugene to DC, Eugene tells the truth about himself. He is a pathological liar, who made up his story about being a scientist in an effort to get protection in the new violent world. The list of people who died in an effort to protect him is shocking. The effects of which can be felt most immediately by Abraham, who promptly knocks Eugene the f*%k out. However on further reflection, it has affected the entire dynamic of the show as Glenn and Maggie are separated from Rick's clan. What is yet to be determined is what will everyone do next? Without the hope of the cure in their grasp how will they respond and what will be their secondary plan?
While this is effectively Eugene's episode, Abraham has an entire character arc throughout it. The episode leaves him lost without a direction and it will be interesting to see how he functions without a mission. Additionally, if he does make it back to Rick's camp, it hasn't been established if he is willing to be one of his soldiers. We aren't even at the halfway mark and the series is at a crossroads.
This is yet another example of how the quality of writing is the true strength of the show. Next episode looks to focus on Carol and Darryl, which results in Carol being captured by the weirdos at the hospital from "Slabtown." While the show hasn't reinvented itself, the writers have found a fresh way to present the story which shows the endless possibilities ahead of us and the characters in the show. This was an episode that has affected the entire complexion of the series. Finding out how all the characters react and find new purpose should be fun to watch unfold.
What did you think of the episode? How do you think Glenn and Maggie will reunite with Rick? What will everyone do next? Let us know on the comment boards!
Source: Point of Geeks