There’s no question that Negan appreciates people who have value to him. That’s why he appreciates Eugene so much.
When Negan had Rick and the gang lined up in the season 7 premiere, he could have picked Eugene as his victim. Now it looks like he’s glad he didn’t kill The Mulleted One.
During Eugene’s tour of the factory he just happened to notice that Negan had a bunch of shop equipment. It also happened to be the kind of equipment needed to make molten lead Walkers. It was a happy coincidence, one that ended up currying a lot of favor for Eugene in Negan’s eyes when Negan asked Eugene for a solution to the rotting Walker issue he was having. The question was meant as a test, and while it’s likely that Negan wouldn’t have hurt Eugene if he hadn’t come up with an answer on the spot (he makes bullets, that’s enough for Negan), the fact that his answer was so freaking awesome is what really elevated Eugene’s status in Negan’s eyes.
If you think back to the timeline of the episode, Eugene arrived at the Sanctuary before he was formally introduced to Negan. He was shown to his swank apartment, and then he was walked through the factory floor and given his requested jar of pickles (a happy accident that they had some) on the way to meeting Negan. This tells us that Negan gave an order at some point for Eugene to be given the VIP treatment. (The “signing bonus” came later)
Negan saw something promising with Eugene and he wanted to be sure that he was comfortable from the start. This was not a situation where he could lock him away in a cell and expect Eugene to have the same level of output as he would if Eugene was treated well.
When Daryl arrived at the Sanctuary, he was immediately thrown into a dark cell and left there for a while with “Easy Street” playing on repeat. He had the option of getting his own apartment if, and only if, he renounced his identity and pledged loyalty to Negan. Daryl refused, and so he was thrown back into his cell.
Negan already had a plan for Eugene to have his own apartment when he arrived, which suggests that Negan saw potential in The Mulleted One. Jump to the end of the episode and the moment when Negan starts to ask Eugene who he is, and Eugene immediately says that he is Negan. Negan can see that Eugene is the kind of guy who jumps when someone says “boo.” Eugene is a pretty safe bet as far as prisoners go. He’s too scared to cause problems, and after watching Negan dispatch Dr. Carson there’s no question that he’s going to stay in line as best he can. Negan likes this, too.
Negan likes good little soldiers who fall in line. He likes his team taking initiative when it benefits him, and he likes when he has shiny new toys that no one else has. With Eugene, Negan has both. Eugene has pledged himself to Negan, and he offers Negan something that no one else can offer.
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It will be interesting to see how this relationship develops. Some fans are already speculating that Eugene is simply falling in line until he is rescued, while others speculate that Eugene will follow anyone who can keep him safe, even if it means turning tail and going over to the Dark Side. Either way, Negan appreciates Eugene and is making sure he has the VIP experience at the Sanctuary.