Walking Dead: Negan’s reign, Eugene’s shame in ‘Hostiles and Calamities’

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC /

“Hostiles and Calamities” is the eleventh episode of the seventh season of the popular television series The Walking Dead. It originally aired on February 26, 2017, and was directed by Kari Skogland and written by David Leslie Johnson. In “Hostiles and Calamities,” the focus shifts away from the main group of survivors, led by Rick Grimes, and instead centers on the characters Eugene Porter and Dwight, whom we first encountered in the season 6 episode “Always Accountable.” Eugene and Dwight are now living (and captured) in the Sanctuary, the main base of the Saviors, a group led by the infamous Negan.

The episode explores how Eugene adapts to his newfound life among the Saviors. Eugene is a Walking Dead character known for his intelligence and resourcefulness, and he is trying to make the best of his situation by using his skills to gain favor with Negan and the Saviors. He convinces Negan he is adequate as a sort of professional scientist and possible advisor (telling Negan, “I am indeed a smarty pants”). On the other hand, Dwight struggles with the guilt and inner conflict resulting from his actions under Negan’s command.

Eugene’s own struggles with loyalty in The Walking Dead

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams, Ross Marquand as Aaron, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter – The Walking Dead Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

This episode also begs us to reassess the question: Is Eugene a coward? As Negan commands everyone to say of themselves, “I am Negan,” Eugene goes so far as to suggest he “was Negan” before he even met him. While there is reason to consider Eugene a coward, we have in the past seen him redeem himself with acts of courage. We also know that Negan is a formidable opponent who is gifted (in a way) with an ability to control others through intimidation, sadistic cruelty, and fear.

In other words, Eugene is not motivated here purely by cowardice, but because he’s calculated it as probably the least bad of numerous lousy options. “Hostiles and Calamities” also provides insight into the lives of characters not part of the core group of survivors and offers a different perspective on the post-apocalyptic world. This includes Negan’s “wives”: Tanya, Frankie, and Amber. The episode also delves into the complex dynamics of the Saviors and the methods Negan uses to maintain control (we previously saw Negan relying on Dwight in attempts to “break” Daryl in the episode “The Cell“).

“Hostiles and Calamities” is not a bad episode

The episode received mixed reviews from fans and critics, with some appreciating the character development and the exploration of life at the Sanctuary, while others found it slower in pace compared to the more action-packed episodes.

Personally, I often see The Walking Dead as a show that, at times, tries to do the Star Trek thing of having characters who “seek out new life and new civilizations.” It often happens that a person won’t like what they find. Though The Saviors don’t offer much of anything entirely unique storywise, there is at least a sense of natural trajectory, and Eugene remains a likable, interesting, and unique character with traits worth exploring.

This episode serves as a decent piece of the larger narrative within The Walking Dead series, shedding light on the various factions and characters within the post-apocalyptic world. We also get the sense that Negan’s chain of command is only as strong as its weakest links, and those links of loyalty are close to breaking due to Negan’s constant displays of narcissism and sadism.

Honestly, he is not my favorite villain from The Walking Dead, as he’s a bit of a cartoonish stereotype, but there nevertheless are characters like him in real life. That is perhaps the scariest thing about The Walking Dead, knowing that people similar to Negan (or The Governor) really are out there, and sometimes making headlines we can read about every day.

Next. Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman drafted different fate for Glenn Rhee. dark

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