One thing that they say is that confession is good for the soul. If that’s the case, there was a lot of soul cleansing going on with this episode. The confessions ran the gamut, from Abraham’s admission to Glenn all the way to Eugene spilling his seeds of truth to the entirety of our short bus riders. Given the nature of this show, it isn’t all that surprising that a few of the confessions might have left the audience feeling a little dirty on the inside.
Clearly, after the events of the previous episode, we needed to get a little more action-oriented this time around, and The Walking Dead delivered, ramping up the action once again. However, it wasn’t the action and the violence that took center stage for this episode, as we not only got to see a continuation of the story for those who had left the church behind, but we also learned about what exactly got Abraham tied up with Eugene’s crazy dream of curing the virus completely. Suddenly, his drive to keep pushing on towards D.C. makes sense, with all of the cards of his past laid on the table.
Thankfully, even with everything that was going on, we had moments of levity. We got to witness what happens when Eugene visits the “self-help” section of a bookstore. We got to see Tara’s justifications, regarding being “screwed either way”. And we discovered that, sometimes, hand wounds bleed far worse than head wounds. More on all of that as we take a look at “Self Help”.
5. The Full Group
You’d think at this point in their survival, any group that includes Glenn would be used to looking carefully everywhere, especially when presented with a gift horse of a fire truck. However, the entire group seemed more entranced with the possible new ride to take the time to really do any sort of investigation of the surroundings, missing a number of cues that there were Walkers barricaded inside the building. The most obvious? The scrawled “SICK INSIDE, LET THEM DIE” on the ground. In fact, you know what? Whoever wrote that gets added, too, because they didn’t think to write it on the side of the freaking building. So congrats, everyone involved in that scenario, from the off-camera inception to the bloody end.
Tara was almost given a reprieve because she actually had the gumption to suggest, out loud, that maybe they should look for bikes. Still, she gave Eugene a knife. Yes, she gave him a knife. It’s not like she gave him a gun, but the guy had proven to be completely useless in combat beforehand, so why not just give him a knife? Or, better idea, why not actually make a point of securing a place for him to lay low and hide. Eugene still had his secret at this point. Consequently, his survival was of the utmost importance, as far as everyone knew. Letting, nay, encouraging him to wade into combat, even only armed with a knife? Not the best plan, even if it did work out in the end and kept you from being zombie lunch.
In all honesty, Eugene could be all five points on this list, but he takes the #3 spot here for sabotaging the bus that was bringing the group north. As Tara quickly points out, he could easily have killed them all, when all he was hoping to do was slow (or completely stop) their continued journey as a smaller splinter group. Admittedly, the last time that Eugene killed a truck, he did it with bullets, so he’s taking steps in a direction, but you’d have to think that he would have had plenty of time to do something much less dangerous to stop the group from making it to D.C. in a timely manner.
Okay, when all of the flashbacks were completed, it became a little more obvious as to exactly why Abraham was so dedicated to The Mission (dundundunnnnnnnn), but one would assume that he would go about things a bit more tactically. Yes, he has a pile of reasons to want to see the Walkers all brought low. Yes, he believes that he has the person who can fix everything, and restore the world, under his care. And yes, getting to Washington faster would be preferable to taking extra time. You know what else would be preferable? Making it there in one piece? It’s not like the apocalypse happened yesterday. You can take a day to rest, recover, and scavenge for supplies. You can also take a little time to backtrack and go around the ginormous herd of Walkers ahead of you, instead of trying to plow through them. Good thing you got distracted by something else, though, right?
Ah, that something else. Eugene clearly takes the top spot, as well as the #3 spot. Not so much for his admission that he actually, um, isn’t really the mulleted savior of humanity. That moment actually showed that Eugene is a very intelligent, if somewhat conniving, individual (and also casts a certain questioning light on his “porn”… is he really that awkward, or was it an excuse that allowed him to watch others have sex?) who is both willing and able to get others to protect him. This is a world where survival isn’t just about who is the strongest. If you can just be smart enough, you can get the strong to work for you. No, Eugene gets to hold down the top spot in “Self Help” for one specific reason; after telling Abraham, the man who has been with him since Houston, the truth, he still feels the need to say “I am smarter than you”. Any wonder why a now incredibly angry redhead punched you into unconsciousness, Eugene? If you’re confused, maybe you aren’t as smart as you think.