Two episodes into the second half of Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” that have all but been void of Negan and the Sanctuary, we catch up with what has been happening there since the Saviors took Eugene from Alexandria earlier in the season in Episode 11, “Hostilities and Calamities.”
This episode’s title could just as aptly have been called, “I am Negan,” for its importance in the story line and the number of times it’s repeated throughout the episode. We see Eugene, although ever wary, begin to come into his own at the Sanctuary and Dwight’s treachery. Watch out – spoilers ahead.
The episode opens with Dwight and a group of Saviors standing around the dead body of Fat Joey. When Dwight hears the trucks returning with Negan and the others from Alexandria, he beats feet to his room where he sees that someone had been in there from the disarray. He also finds the note with the instructions, “Go Now,” written on it, the note that had been passed to Daryl in his cell prior to his escape.
By now, Negan has taken stock of Fat Joey’s death and the fact that Daryl has escaped. Dwight hears Negan’s coded knock at his door. When Dwight opens the door, a group of Saviors rushes in, pummeling Dwight while Negan looks on.
Eugene has been taken out of the back of one of the trucks and the hood over his head is removed. By his posture and furtive glances, it’s apparent Eugene is frightened and in his usually passive mode.
He’s led by one of the woman Saviors into the building and taken to a room. Once inside, his hands are freed and he’s told, “You’re now one of us.” Eugene takes in the room that has a comfortable bed, a small kitchen, upholstered furniture and other furnishings – opulence for the Sanctuary.
When the woman tells him he can have anything he wants to eat, Eugene asks for lobster, but when that’s not available, he asks instead for canned pasta with sauce, pickles and potato chips. When the woman leaves the room, Eugene checks out the refrigerator, which he finds stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables among other things.
He turns on something and is greeted with the “Easy Street” song.
Dwight has been taken to a cell, where we learn he has spent the night. Negan visits Dwight, telling him that one of his wives is missing. Dwight guesses that it is Shari who has gone missing. When Negan says that Sherry went missing after Daryl escaped, Dwight tells him Sherry had nothing to do with Daryl’s escape.
Negan asks Dwight who he is, to which Dwight replies, “I am Negan.”
Negan assured Dwight that they’ll find Daryl; does Dwight know where Sherry is? When he answers that he probably does, Negan sends him on his way to find her and return Shari to the Sanctuary so they can fix everything.
Dwight takes off on a motorcycle with Daryl’s crossbow on his back.
Eugene gets a tour of the building, then is taken outside where Negan is standing with several Saviors. Eugene is still very wary of what is going to happen to him. Negan asks the group of men standing around who they are, to which they answer, “I am Negan.”
As Negan begins to take stock of Eugene, he asks him if he is a “smartypants.” Eugene says that he reads a lot and gives Negan the same false story he had given to Abraham when they first met – that he has several college degrees, including Ph.D.s, that he worked on a human genome project and that he taught himself to make ammunition.
Negan takes stock of Eugene’s answer, then asks him how to keep walkers on their feet and in one piece rather than rotting away. Eugene answers that the Sanctuary should use the smelter they already have to melt scrap metal to coat the walkers in metal.
Negan is pleased with Eugene’s response and rewards him with the opportunity to spend the evening with several of Negan’s wives on the condition that no sex takes place, but that Eugene may enjoy the women’s company.
Later that evening, Eugene is playing video games as three of Negan’s wives, Amber, Frankie and Tanya, look on. Eugene brags to the ladies how super intelligent he is, one of the few of his intelligence in the world. He explains he could make a bomb out of ordinary household materials and Frankie and Tanya goad him into showing them he can. Hope, meanwhile, has been steadily drinking and doesn’t join in the conversation or the activities.
Eugene shows off his skills to Frankie and Tanya out in the courtyard, creating a small explosion.
In the meantime, Dwight arrives at his and Sherry’s former home, looking for his wife. In the background of the scene, as Dwight goes about the house, the voice of Sherry can be heard as if she’s speaking the long letter she left there for Dwight.
Dwight has brought along the “Go Now” note and compares the writing on it to Sherry’s writing, confirming to him that she’s the one who arranged Daryl’s escape.
In her letter, Sherry speaks of Dwight’s longstanding memory issues that have caused him embarrassment in the past for his inability to remember even recent events. Sherry explains that she loved Dwight the way he was before they went to the Sanctuary and that she let Daryl escape because she could see he was causing Dwight to remember how he himself used to be.
Sherry explains that she would have liked to have waited for Dwight at their old home, but she didn’t know whether he would take her back to the Sanctuary, something she didn’t want to do, or if he might even kill her with his personality change. Sherry wrote that she wished Dwight could remember at least one of their good days together as man and wife.
When Dwight returns to the Sanctuary, he visits Dr. Carson for a re-bandaging of his forehead. He tells the doctor he found Sherry and killed her.
The next evening, Frankie and Tanya again visit Eugene, explaining Negan hasn’t sent them, but that they came of their own accord.
The two explain to Eugene how miserable Amber is, that she didn’t choose to be one of Negan’s wives as the two of them had, but that she had been forced into it so that her mother would get her needed medication and not have to work at the Sanctuary. They explain that Amber wants to die – to just go to sleep and not wake up.
They tell Eugene they know he is a good man and that he can help them – that if he doesn’t Amber will try to take her own life in ways that might be painful and unpleasant.
Eugene replies without emotion, “I’m not a good man.” Even so, with more prodding from the two women, Eugene agree to make something when they can tell him Amber’s exact weight.
In preparation for creating Amber’s suicide means, Eugene visits the Sanctuary Commissary. Although he is standing in line, he goes directly to the cashier and says he wants cold capsules. The cashier scolds him and tells him to get back in line, which Eugene does momentarily.
He then walks back to the cashier and tells her he is Chief Engineer of the Sanctuary, that he reports directly to Negan and the cashier reports directly to Eugene. She asks his number, to which he replies he is “16.” The cashier apologizes for her mistake and gets Eugene the cold capsules. Emboldened by his newly-found prestige, Eugene helps himself to several other items in the commissary before leaving.
Eugene is escorted by one of the women Saviors into the room with the forge where everyone is gathered to watch the proceedings. Dwight is next to the forge, holding a long rod into the fire, which we have learned in past episodes holds an iron used to burn someone’s face, as Dwight’s had been in the past.
Dr. Carson is standing close to Negan, who suddenly strikes out at the doctor, knocking him off his feet. Negan explains that the Saviors found a note from Sherry in the doctor’s desk, implicating him in Daryl’s escape.
As Dr. Carson begs Negan not to burn him with the hot iron, Dwight looks on knowingly with a small smirk and twinkle in his eye. Negan soothes the doctor and tells Dr. Carson that if he just admits what he did, everything will be okay. The frightened doctor admits he helped Daryl escape and apologizes to Negan. Without further ado, Negan grabs the doctor and throws him head first into the forge.
Dwight, who has to have been the one to place the note from Sherry in Dr. Carson’s office, can seemingly relax now.
Frankie and Tanya once more visit Eugene’s room, this time coming to ask for the two pills they had asked him to make for Amber’s suicide. Eugene refuses to give them the pills, telling them he knows the pills are really for them to kill Negan, not to help Amber. The women are surprised and upset at Eugene’s answer, calling him a coward, to which Eugene agrees.
The threaten to blackmail Eugene by telling Negan Eugene made the poison but Eugene calls their bluff.
Next, Eugene hears Negan’s coded knock at his door. Eugene lets Negan in, and Negan tells him Frankie and Tanya have nothing but good things to say about him. Then Negan, who has been calling Eugene, Dr. Smartypants, asks Eugene who he is.
Before Negan can even finish the question. Eugene blurts out, “I am Negan.” He repeats himself, telling Negan that Eugene was Negan even before Eugene met the man.
Dwight and Eugene are overseeing the melting of the scrap metal. The re-introduce themselves by their given names, then Eugene says, “We are Negan.” Ever the man to size up a situation and find that which best suits him, Eugene’s alliance with Negan seems to have been cemented.
If you need to catch up with “The Walking Dead” Season 7 since its mid-season return, you can do so with the recaps that include spoilers:
“The Walking Dead” Recap: Season 7, Episode 9 Mid-Season Premiere
“The Walking Dead” Recap: Season 7, Episode 10 “New Best Friends”
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