WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for “Hostiles and Calamities,” tonight’s episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which as of publication hasn’t yet aired on the West Coast, as well as the Image Comics series.
As is the case with most any adaptation, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has seen many of its characters take different paths than they do in the comic. For instance, Andrea, who’s still very much alive in the Image Comics series, became somewhat of an antagonist on the television drama when she became romantically linked with The Governor. Her premature death was widely decried by fans.
In tonight’s episode, “Hostiles and Calamities,” it seems the producers are making some changes to Eugene Porter as well. Captured by The Saviors, he quickly becomes favored by Negan due to his intelligence. Not only can The Saviors bulk up their armory with his bullet-making skills, Eugene even knows how to use molten metal to strengthen The Sanctuary’s walker barricade.
In addition to being smart, Eugene’s also a coward, even by his own admission. Negan likely senses that, knowing Eugene will beeasy to bend to his will and adopt The Saviors’ philosophy.
And that’s exactly what happens by the end of the episode. Whereas in the comic series, Eugene loyally stands by the Alexandrians, in the final moments of “Hostiles and Calamities” he commits himself to being one of Negan’s people. It’s worth noting this reads as resignation rather than a genuine conversion of his views. He’s treated well, with vintage video games and a cushy room; he sees what happens to those who disobey their leader (thanks to a grueling riff on Negan’s frequent face-ironings), and he’s not sure whether he’ll get rescued anytime soon.
With that in mind, he goes back on his agreement to give several of Negan’s wives a suicide poison, then joins Dwight on watch duty. “We are Negan,” they both affirm in monotone, defeated voices. That’s all a far cry from the comic, where Eugene defiantly disobeys Negan while in captivity, going as far to say he’ll never follow him, “no matter how many genitals you sever.”
Of course, it looks like Dwight may be secretly plotting to take down Negan, and maybe Eugene will come around to do the same, becoming a key role in defeating The Saviors, as he does in the book. For now, though, it looks like the show’s Eugene has a much weaker backbone than in the source material. He’s quietly going to do as he’s told, because that’s how he survives. More on all of this in tonight’s full recap and review.
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