Walking Dead 608: What Deanna and Eugene show us in “Start to Finish”

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

By season 6, The Walking Dead was clearly no longer just about Rick. Enough episodes were featuring other characters and other survivors trying to pick a spot to call their own. Still, the main dream of any survivor would be to establish some colony and essentially start over, rebuilding a society from the scraps of the old. Not only would they hopefully not have to deal with walkers anymore, but perhaps not need to scavenge supplies for everyone.

A key moment in 608 “Start to Finish” — other than hearing the name Negan — is the death of Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh). She never delivers a devastating monologue about her difficult past and what she would have changed if she could. Instead, Deanna urges Rick to cling to that vague prospect of hope and that sense that there is something more. The question is, how much more bleakness can unfold before one finally succumbs to despair and gives up?

The Walking Dead what Deanna meant for the apocalypse

I have always known that The Walking Dead would have recurring themes, and some of these themes can be found within the broader zombie sub-genre of horror. That’s why it’s tricky to craft new and interesting characters that bring a story to life. So, what does the character Deanna Monroe bring that makes her unique? Without naming names, she represents a more traditional, presumably uncorrupted politician who merely wants to do what’s best for the people in her area.

She doesn’t view society as totally collapsed, and if there is an apocalypse, she is still not ready to let it in. Deanna has that simple attitude of “I’m here, now, ready to hear the voices of the people in this place and do what’s best.” Her demise has a big role to play in the mid-season finale, as it reminds us that walkers are still a threat. It also takes off Alexandria’s band-aid solution as a fresh reminder that there are no permanent solutions to pretty much any problem. As bleak as it sounds, life’s little cart will never merely have one or two bad apples, but every single apple will grow rotten with time.

The Walking Dead: to run or hide in plain sight?

Eugene is a famous timid character from The Walking Dead, but he isn’t the only character who sometimes declines to fight or runs and hides. In fact, when chaos unfolds, pretty much any character might have to lay low, back off, or run away. When Rosita rescues Eugene in this episode, it’s no so much a moment of Eugene-ism as it is something that could happen to anyone. It’s also true that, during the episode’s true end, Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha are compelled to give up their vehicle to Negan’s gang, and it appears they have little choice in the matter.

So the question remains for these characters: Is it possible to find or create an outpost where one is never potentially in this compromising situation? Is it possible to not be locked in by the walkers or attacked by Governors or Wolves? In any case, Eugene is almost a barometer for how much trouble the group is in. If he’s in a situation where he musters all of his strength and makes a courageous decision, you know the group’s in some serious trouble.

Also, interestingly, draping one’s self in a walker’s guts to confuse the undead horde remains both a courageous and, in a way, almost cowardly act of subterfuge, blurring that line between heroism and cynical advantage of an opponent’s known weakness.  Still, of course, courage is required to walk among the walkers and even get familiar with walker entrails and filth.  So, as the series progresses, Eugene reminds us of other characters who had similar moments of weakness and handled things about as gracefully as he has done.  It’s a good thing, too!

dark. Next. Negan and Maggie’s face off in The Walking Dead’s final season

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