Any episode of The Walking Dead that begins on a hopeful note — with the survivors reminiscing in a sunny field, or perhaps speeding north in a bus on an empty road — is bound to end in mayhem, or perhaps death. That’s one of the new rules of the zombiefied world, and it’s as true in Self-Help‘s hour as ever.
While Maggie and Glen are dreaming out loud about their friends being nearby, Eugene is entertaining his fellow bus passengers by explaining his hair.
My old boss, T Brooks Ellis, director of the Genome Project, said my hair made me look like, and I quote, ‘A FUN GUY.’ – Eugene
It’s likely Eugene knows that his hair — the Mullet — actually tells people something different: “Please disregard anything I say or do as complete and utter bullshit.”
Anyway, the bus flips. Everyone makes it out of the wrecked bus before it explodes (“I’ll go get the first-aid kit.” BAM!), but then of course there are zombies. While the rest of the team goes to town with the head-stabbing, Eugene cringes against the bus, cradling his knife. He’s out of his depth here, and he knows it.
Abraham, on the other hand, is in his element:
We’re not stopping, we don’t go back … I can’t afford it. The world can’t afford it. – Abraham
They’re pushing on, dammit! Washington or bust! Never mind the look Eugene gives one of the recently-killed zombies as they get ready to move on. It’s the same baleful look I gave my sophomore-year algebra final: Oh, shit.
When they find shelter for the night, the group does what people do at night after the zombie apocalypse: make some dinner, chat, have sex, watch other people having sex. When Tara catches Eugene being a voyeur, he confesses — and not just to that.
If I don’t cure the disease, I HAVE NO VALUE. – Eugene
Glen and Maggie’s conversation isn’t much sunnier, but at least they’ve got each other. “Well, we did almost die today. And we don’t have a car. And we’re drinking toilet water,” Glen muses, but Maggie’s pretty sure this is as bad as things are going to get. “It’s not about what was,” she says. “It’s about what’s gonna be.”
The next day’s plan involves a fire engine that doesn’t quite work — but is loaded with water. Which seems like a good thing, until moving the truck releases a whole herd of zombies on the survivors. Never fear: Eugene just mows them down with the firehose.
I’ve been to eight county fairs and one goat rodeo. Never seen anything like that. – Abraham
It’ a rare light moment for Abraham, whose push toward Washington has gone from determined to obsessive. We learn why in a flashback — that temper of his has gotten him in terrible trouble before — and he’s got to keep moving to outpace the twin terrors of guilt and grief. They catch up with him, finally, after Eugene drops the bomb.
I lied. I’m not a scientist. – Eugene
Eugene had met Abraham in the latter’s worst moment. From then on, Eugene’s need (and his great story of needing to get to Washington to save the world) became Abraham’s new reason to live. With that reason gone, what does Abraham have left? Worse, what will the rest of the group do with this volatile, violent guy?
Final episode thoughts:
- This episode was really funny. Eugene’s every line reading is wonderful (“I realize that there are no agreeable options”), and more than one of his interactions with the others played like comedy.
I just know things. – Eugene
YOU JUST KNOW THINGS? – Glen
- Who would have expected a firehose? I never did … but it’s a remarkably efficient, if wasteful, tool for taking down a whole stagger of zombies.
- Abraham’s atonal humming was both a nicely creepy character touch and a really annoying soundtrack, in certain places.
- Maggie’s use of a Bible story to offer Eugene insight on the Mullet was sweet. I often forget this side of her: the pre-apocalypse, pre-badass daughter of a churchy veterinarian.
- Mister I’m-Not-A-Scientist used crushed glass to cripple a bus. How is that NOT being a scientist, Eugene?
- I’m concerned that we’ve seen the last of Eugene. Abraham beat him unconscious, and I’m not sure how a person recovers from a head injury in the post-Obamacare world. Will we see him again, do you think? And if we do … will the Mullet be intact?!