Eugene Porter is not an ordinary survivor by any means. He can absolutely fight, but his most valuable strength is his mind.
When he first arrived on the scene all the way back in season 4, many people probably counted Eugene out of the game and expected him to die rather early. That isn’t an unfair assessment, especially considering he couldn’t even fire a gun and needed other people to kill walkers for him. Over his time on the series, he has developed into a character that can kill walkers and fight for himself, but this isn’t the only explanation for why he is still standing.
From the moment Eugene met Abraham, he began playing the long game of survival as he concocted an elaborate story about possessing the cure to the walker outbreak. Through Abraham, Rosita and many others, Eugene was kept alive because of this lie. In seasons 4 and 5, this “cure” was a basis he used to prove his worth to the members of Rick’s group. After the truth came out, he quickly needed to adapt and make himself useful in other ways…and he sure did.
When the conflict with the Saviors began to really ramp up, Eugene realized that way more ammunition would be needed if his people stood any chance. In episode 614, he brings Abraham to a factory that he plans on using to manufacture bullets from spend casings. Few people would have ever thought of this idea to solve the problem of limited ammunition, but Eugene sure did. This ended up contributing to his capture by the Saviors after he made a bullet for Rosita, which she used to shoot at Negan during his visit to Alexandria in episode 708.
After being taken by the Saviors, Eugene quickly adapted and became “Negan” as a means of staying alive. While he really seemed to embrace the lifestyle he was given at the Sanctuary, there was clearly part of him that was working toward an exit strategy that would benefit his “traveling companions” back at Alexandria. During the final battle of All Out War, Eugene’s allegiance to the Saviors was shattered as he rigged their bullets to explode, thus giving the united communities the upper hand. It was this power move that ended the war and brought Eugene back into the fold of his former crew.
Season 9 allowed Eugene to prove his worth again several times over. Having lived at the Sanctuary for some time, Eugene knew that there were plenty of innocent people that lived there and thus saw the need to help to make the Savior community more self-sufficient. Additionally, during the construction of the bridge, Eugene played many different roles. He oversaw redirection of the herds that threatened to interfere while also updating Rick on the logistics and technical aspects of the bridge itself.
Following the six year time jump, Eugene continued to prove himself to be useful in a variety of different ways. Most surprisingly, he provides support to Rosita and Gabriel as they figure out their awkward co-parenting dynamic with Siddiq. Of course he still injects his usual humor and technical talk, but he really does seem to care about the well-being of Rosita and the baby. Him providing Gabriel with a pair of sweatpants to give to Rosita shows his emotional support, a valuable trait to have in the apocalypse.
Quite possibly, Eugene’s most important contribution as of late is his creation of the network of radios to allow for communication between the communities. Up until this point, the only real way for Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom to communicate was by sending a messenger on a long days ride, something that is even more risky now with the Whisperers lurking around. With a radio network, the leaders and residents can now be more united, discuss strategy, and alert one another to any problems that arise instantly. There’s also the fact that it allows them to listen to the open air to hear for other survivors, something that was seen in that chilling cliffhanger to end the season 9 finale. Whomever this voice may be, it will certainly shake things up for our characters as their world gets a little bigger.
Eugene is a character that has survived far longer than most fans likely ever expected. It seemed like he was someone who simply couldn’t protect himself, but over his many years on the show, the opposite has been seen. Eugene stays alive because of his unorthodox survival skills and tactics. He has learned how to fight walkers, but his real worth lies in his ability to adapt to the world around him and contribute inventions and skills that help the greater good. He may not be the first to rush into battle. Instead, he will come up with some plot to prevent the battle from happening in the first place. The post-apocalyptic world needs people like Eugene. In the end, he might just be the one to save us all.
What has been your favorite contribution Eugene has made? Share in the comments below!