The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 11
‘Hostiles and Calamities’
Since The Walking Dead returned from its mid-season break we have not been back to ‘The Sanctuary’ and this week we got our third tour of the facility. Our first experience was Daryl’s torture and captivity showing us how they indoctrinate their new recruits into serving Negan and how they pay their way to live. The second tour was when Carl stowed away and got caught but was given a proper tour of the Sanctuary but witnessed how they had supposedly broken Daryl and now we get to see how the other half lives, the people Negan deems worthwhile I suppose would be the best way of putting it.
This was very much a focus on what happened to Eugene after he was taken from Alexandria at the mid-season break but unlike Daryl who was tortured psychologically, Negan treated Eugene like a proper member of The Saviors I think this is because he sees the value of what Eugene brings to the table with all his knowledge and know how. It was especially fitting that when Eugene was given his room and left alone he went to the stereo and ‘Easy Street’ by The Collapsible Hearts Club was what was playing. This shows the huge contrast in the context of the song, with Daryl it was used to break him being played constantly as psychological warfare where as with Eugene it seems to be he has finally found a place where he doesn’t have to scrimp and survive but could easily live here.
The tour that Eugene gets around The Sanctuary starts to show him all that is on offer for him now he is part of The Saviors so long as he works with them he can pretty much have anything he wants but he is still wary of this fact and on guard even after his tour guide gives him a jar of pickles something he quite likes and asked for earlier. This sort of indoctrination would break anyone down who had been struggling to survive this long in The Walking Dead universe but it would particularly work well on Eugene as he in his own words describes himself as a bit of a coward and not very good at surviving, which has been shown many times thus far.
Negan having acquired Eugene puts a test in front of him and asks him who he is testing who this man is and if he is worth becoming a member of his team is a good turning point as it shows Negan doesn’t usually do this sort of thing. Eugene is still fearful as he is the man who made the bullet that nearly killed Negan after all and we have seen Negan countless times bait and switch between acting nice then beating people to death with Lucille or just killing them outright so his fear is rightly justified.
After passing Negan’s test Eugene is rewarded with an evening with his ‘wives’ thus reinforcing the fact that if Eugene cooperates and is an asset he will be rewarded, a simple technique used to indoctrinate his followers all of this coupled with the fact he starts to let his guard down leads you to believe that Eugene has finally found where he belongs.
The fact that Negan’s own wives try to convince Eugene to create a poison to help kill Negan under false pretences and Eugene figuring it out and then refusing to help really helps demonstrate which side Eugene’s loyalties fall. This could be a huge turning point in Eugene’s character as he later says when he is asked by Negan ‘who are you?’ he replies without hesitation that he has always been Negan he just didn’t know it yet and has come to accept it now.
It is also worth noting that there is already discontent in the Sanctuary with workers not getting a fair share in their opinion and living in constant fear of Negan’s form of justice. The fact that his own wives want him dead should be testament to how much he is disliked in his own camp perhaps Rick can use this to his advantage when he is trying to beat Negan and The Saviors.
The other main character of this episode is Negan’s right hand man Dwight. His journey has been that of a loyal servant of Negan’s since he was broken and indoctrinated into the Saviors. However his interactions with Daryl have showed him how he used to be a better man and that he could be that again if he tried. The most interesting thing to note is how his wife Sherri noticed this but Dwight was unaware of Daryls influence. For this reason she freed Daryl because she saw much of Dwight in him and didn’t want him to become like Dwight. It’s surprising that Dwight hasn’t snapped before this point and gone after Negan; the man who is his keeper and torturer too. Perhaps with Rick assembling an army to fight Negan, Dwight could play a part in bringing Negan down in the future.
I feel they could have expanded on this journey from serial murderer with no conscience to the man he used to be before Negan broke him. This character arc is emphasised through the letter his wife left him at their old home after running off because she freed Daryl knowing the consequences for her would be dire. Dwight lies to Negan that he had killed her which shows that he still has some compassion This is contrasted by him letting the Doctor take the fall for her crimes. It’s clear that he is still conflicted so could go either way at this point.
Lastly we have to talk about Negan; he doesn’t have a lot of screen time this week but he dominates any scene he is in with his presence. Even when he is not on screen you still get the feeling he is watching everything, his interactions with Eugene in particular are good. I like how he plays on his fears but at the same time has a friendly overtone to mask his malice.
His interactions with Dwight are those of a master beating his dog back down and making him know who his master is by locking him in the cell. We learn that this is where he was kept when he tried to escape with his wife last time so he does not want to spend time there at all. Essentially Negan uses psychological attacks to keep his subordinates in line and for everyone else he uses fear which is evident in all his violent actions. This is proven in the scene with the Doctor which seems that Negan will let him live as a valuable asset but his instability and love of violence as well as power is too over whelming and he kills him in the most brutal way.
Though “Hostiles and Calamities” didn’t progress the story too much it did help fill in the blanks of what happened in the Sanctuary and with Eugene after the mid-season break. Whether it turns out that Eugene has been turned by Negan’s rewards and indoctrination remains to be seen or whether Dwight has been fed the same line one too many times and is ready to rebel is too close to call but that final moment of watching the two together leaves us wondering just who’s side they really are on.
- Eugene reverting back to his fake persona
- Dwight fighting with whether to betray Negan or return to being his right hand man.
- Negans interactions with Eugene
- that poor Doctor!
- Negans wives trusting Eugene with their plan so easily