WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
I see Abraham also graduated for the Lori Grimes school of motoring.
Eugene. He’s been somewhat of an enigma since he joined the series with his cryptic scientific mumblings hidden behind a thick southern accent and a mullet. Now the truth’s out and things don’t look too bright for this peculiar Texan. But last night’s episode wasn’t about Eugene, it was Abraham’s story. His bitter past finally bled through into the present leaving him with an unpredictable future.
As far as the reveal about Eugene’s fraudulent trick goes, this is something that happened in the comics and was suspected by many viewers of the show, so on the whole it wasn’t that much of a surprise. The biggest hint to this happened last season when he ‘mistakenly’ shot up the truck they were escaping in, this made his actions from that point on very questionable. “Self-Help” left Eugene with nowhere to go, his charade was fragmenting from the beginning – the decision to sabotage the bus, his suggestion to go back to the church, the fact he was clearly on the firetruck roof to block up the intake vent before deciding to use up all the truck’s water (another cool new weapon to slay walkers) – it was all too much to explain.
Tara’s decision not to tell the others that Eugene was responsible for the crash was by far the lowest point in the episode, coming across as unrealistic and too convenient for the sake of the climax. Other than that, this was a decent edition of the season and much more sophisticated than last week’s Beth-tasticly boring outing.
Abraham’s back story played out almost like an episode of Lost with a few short but significant flashbacks to the tragic death of his family. The cut on his fist served as the perfect metaphorical link to the pain caused by what happened before, bleeding through into his current situation. By the end of the ‘Self Help’ we came to realize that Eugene had actually saved Abraham’s life, giving him the perfect mission to bandage his psychological pain in. The realization that Eugene’s assignment was a complete fabrication ripped of the plaster and Abraham’s pain came flooding through into his fists and ultimately into Eugene’s face – yeeouch.
The decision to split for the rest of the group appears a lot more authentic now as we look back with the knowledge of Abraham’s story. His urgency to get to D.C was clearly being pushed along by his failure to deal with the death of his family, perhaps now he can finally take the time to grieve and start the process of healing.
The advantage of having the group split up like this, allows us to get deeper insight into some of the newer characters in the series. Abraham’s small team never had the chance to explain their story in full so last night’s detour was refreshing and useful for understanding more about these characters. Eugene isn’t a bad person; he’s just a survivor who relies on his skills as a coward rather than with a crossbow.