Sep 14, 2020
The Walking Dead RECAP: So about that cure... (S5:E5)
Well, this week’s The Walking Dead keeps up the pace of the season by ending plots a lot quicker than anyone expected. The only difference this time around is that the thing coming to an end does not leave the characters in a better place than before.
Finding out that Eugene is full of shit isn’t a real shock if you read the comics. They execute it a little differently on the show, but the outcome is the same: Eugene is lying about the cure. He’s not a scientist, he’s just a coward. A guy who is more worried about using people to survive and less about actually curing those affected by the zombie virus. It’s the greatest gut punch to the characters since Rick discovered that everyone is already infected way back at the end of season one. People can be evil and acts can be shocking, but nothing is more demoralizing than finding out that there is no hope.
Abraham is the one hit the hardest by Eugene’s revelation, and the best way to paint that picture is in chronological order. The episode presents the past history of Eugene and Abraham in disjointed, hazy chunks that highlight brutality and show just how different their paths were when they met.
Abraham is with a group that includes his wife and children. While out on a supply run, his adopted “family” turns on his real family, and his wife ends up raped and beaten. Upon his return, Abraham becomes blood drunk and murders the entire group for what they did. He manages to beat and kill everyone while his family watches, shocked at the beast within.
He tries to calm them, but the blood on his hands is not helping matters any. They leave him in the middle of the night and tell him not to follow via a note written on toilet paper. This turns out to be a mistake because they don’t make it too far before dying at the hands of zombies. Or teeth, it was probably teeth. Abraham finds their corpses and becomes distraught. He’s lost both families and he’s left with no purpose. He takes the gun from his holster and puts it in his mouth.
Out of nowhere comes Eugene, mullet and everything. He’s whimpering like a lost dog with two zombies on his tail, hungry for his sweet mullet meat. This stops Abraham before he blows his top off, and he comes to the rescue like a mad bull. He kills the zombies with ease and returns to his previous activity with speaking to Eugene. Eugene certainly speaks to him, though.
This is where his mission comes out and we learn about his “importance” in the post-apocalyptic world. This is where Abraham drinks the Kool-Aid. This is where lies start to hurt people.
Cut to the current events in the show, and we’re in the party bus on its way to DC. Things seems to be going smoothly until the bus starts to smoke and it crashes. No one is hurt, the bus is proper fucked on its side. Everyone gets out and has to deal with a bunch of zombies, with Eugene saving Tara in the process. It’s a slight issue compounded by the bus catching on fire soon after the zombies are dispatched, leaving our team without a home and without a means of conveyance.
Abraham is ready to go back to the church and regroup, but Glenn says they should keep trucking. Everyone agrees, and they move forward to a nearby town to hide out in a local library. There are plenty of nice speeches and discussions here, Abraham finds some time to bone with Rosita, and Eugene manages to bond with Tara after he’s finished watching Abraham bone Rosita. Creep.
The bonding with Tara bit is a fun little twist in the show because Eugene admits that he’s the one who caused the accident with the van. He put some glass shards in the fuel line, but never expected the entire thing to flip over or catch on fire. Foolish Eugene. Tara listens and questions why he would do such a thing, but she doesn’t press too hard. Seeing how she’s done some questionable things during her time on the show (like help a one-eyed psychopath invade the prison last season), she’s a little more open to forgiveness. At least until the end of the episode.
The team hangs out here until morning when they find an old abandoned fire truck and decide to use it to get back on the road to DC. The problem is the horde of zombies in the nearby building that swarm the group before they can get the truck running. They try to fight them off, but things look bad for a quick moment.
That’s when Eugene shows some bravery. He found a little courage after his talk with Tara, and he decides to help fight off this pack of munchers. He hops on top of the truck and blasts them with the fire hose, turning them into a large pile of liquid zombie mush. It sorta looks like the bloody shits or what I picture the final stages of Ebola would look like. I’ve been reading The Hot Zone, so I’m a little fixated on that whole thing.
The group gets back on the road soon, but they hit another block in the road. It’s the largest herd of zombies that we’ve ever seen in the show, enough to fill the entire horizon. Everyone instantly wants to turn back and find another way, but Abraham wants to motor on. He grabs Eugene and starts to march back to the truck, determined to get him to DC and cure this hell.
Glenn, Maggie, and even Rosita try to talk him out of it, but we already know what he’s been through. We know why he’s so desperate to get Eugene to DC. It’s all he has to live for and he’s not going to let some damn zombies stop him. He’s going to make it or he’s going to die trying.
A small scuffle breaks out, and there’s plenty of yelling from everyone in the group. But it is Eugene who yells the loudest of all. “I’m not a scientist,” breaks through the commotion and stops everyone in their tracks.
Eugene starts to explain himself, why he lied to everyone, why he felt the need to push towards DC and use the people around him to get him there. It’s a cowardly desire to survive when you have no real value. He creates his own value and pushes it on people. A good liar, a con man, running a deadly con in the apocalypse, and Abraham is the worst victim. People have died because of Eugene, but Abraham was the biggest crime because he is still living.
The rage we saw in the store from the flashbacks manages to bubble back to the surface of Abraham again, and he unleashes it on Eugene. He gets a few good licks in before moving away from the group down the road a bit.
Finally we see him break down. He’s at his end, and who knows if he’s going to be able to keep going. Well, the viewers do because he got a contract and he’s still in the show. So he’ll be back and he’ll cope, but right now it’s not looking good for him.
We’ll have to wait to find out what’s going to happen though. Next week we catch up with Daryl and Carol on their way to Texarkana to get a truck load of Coor’s back to Georgia in time for the Enos brothers to enjoy the big rodeo. Will Sheriff Buford T. Justice manage to stop them before they get back? Will they pick up Beth from Slabtown along the way? Will Eugene ever cut that damn mullet?
The people have spoken, Eugene. Cut the damn thing and get on with our apocalypse. The new world doesn’t need your damn cheap ass backwater haircut, for realsies or ironically.