Though we got to see Rick and company find new allies last week on “#The Walking Dead,” this week moves away from the core group and back to the Sanctuary to allow us to catch up with #Eugene. You might remember that Negan took him after paying a visit to Alexandria after finding out Eugene can manufacture bullets.

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Eugene’s Sanctuary introduction is vastly different from Daryl’s

Eugene isn’t subjected to a jail cell or dog food or any of the torture that Daryl was when he landed in Negan’s compound. Instead, Eugene is hailed as a new member of the community as he’s shown around, given a room, gifted a jar of pickles, and even gets to show off some science experiments to a trio of Negan’s wives.

Despite all of the things Eugene gets, he still whimpers and appears anxious in front of Negan. But what’s that? There’s a smile. That’s right. After Negan’s usual “I am Negan” moment with a few of his lieutenants, just as Eugene begins to walk away, there’s a smile. It’s small, but it’s there. This is, after all, the same man who fooled Abraham and Rosita into driving him across the country because he could supposedly save the world. Eugene is a master manipulator, and he’s about to get deep into Negan’s network, which could be very good for Rick and his people one day.

Does anyone care about Dwight?

I know that getting to see Dwight’s story is supposed to make us sympathetic to him. The problem is that we’re spending so much time with Dwight instead of the characters the audience knows are more important in the long run. Sure, Dwight might eventually align with Rick and subvert Negan. With Eugene in the Sanctuary and Sherry on the loose though, do we even need Dwight as the audience’s man on the inside at this point?

Sherry let Daryl go

The only good thing to come out of Dwight’s storyline is that we do get confirmation that Sherry is the one who let Dwight go. She unlocked his door and told him when to run. While everyone likely suspected this, Dwight gets confirmation when Sherry leaves him a note at a house where they were supposed to meet if they got separated. Though he tells everyone that he killed Sherry, in reality, he read her letter and left her the promised pretzels and beer she thinks he would have forgotten about. It’s a sweet scene, but it feels more like a time filler since we already know that Sherry is the reason Dwight is in the position he’s in.

Eugene is put on the line

After being loaned three of Negan’s wives to keep him company for an evening, two of them approach Eugene about helping the third commit suicide - she wants something that will kill her in her sleep. They’ve seen his science experiments in action, so they know he has what it takes to get the job done. While Eugene seemingly works to get all the pieces in place, he surprises them by saying no.

Eugene realizes that they really want to kill Negan, not their sister wife. They call him a coward and he agrees. But is he really? Eugene is always quick to agree that he’s a coward, but this episode actually feels like Eugene stepping up. If he’d allowed them to kill Negan outright, one of his right hand men would have simply taken his place. The power vacuum wouldn’t have lasted for long. Negan is right not to give them the pills. He’s biding his time in this situation, knowing that Negan needs his intelligence. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

The verdict and what’s next

Despite this episode spending too much time on Dwight and moving a tad too slowly, the Eugene bits were fantastic. I’m glad “The Walking Dead” decided to highlight him instead of leaving the audience wondering.

4 out of 5 stars

#Hostiles and Calamities