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Television

‘The Walking Dead’ recap: Never trust a pretty mullet

‘The Walking Dead’
Josh McDermitt plays Eugene Porter in “The Walking Dead.”
(Gene Page / AMC)

A lot of personal revelations happen in “The Walking Dead” episode titled “Self Help.” None of them is very positive or encouraging about our characters. What else is new?

After spending some time catching up with Beth last week, this week’s episode followed the Washington-bound crew of Abraham, Eugene, Glenn, Maggie, Tara and Rosita. And along the way we got to know quite a bit about Abraham and Eugene.

First off, Eugene is quite proud of that mullet of his. As he tells his traveling companions, it was praised by no less than his former boss, the director of the Human Genome Project, T. Brooks Ellis, who said the mullet made him look like “a fun guy.”

Second, he’s a bit of a perv. He doesn’t mind watching Abraham and Rosita have sex. But then again, Abraham and Rosita don’t seem to mind that he likes to watch them, so the creep factor is lowered just a bit.

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More troubling, we learn that he secretly sabotaged the bus that was meant to transport the group to Washington. As he reveals to Tara, he dreads actually getting to Washington. Why? That brings us to Eugene’s biggest problem.

He’s not any kind of scientist at all. He doesn’t hold the secrets of stopping the zombie plague in his head. He’s been lying all along.

Sadly, it’s not a huge surprise that Eugene’s not quite the white knight he’s been portraying himself as. In fact, the truth is exactly what meets the eye. He’s just another schlubby guy without a wealth of hard-core survival skills who found the only way he could to get people to protect him.

The world of “The Walking Dead” has proven most inhospitable to anyone short of a total zombie-fighting warrior, so can any of us blame Eugene for trying to use his brains instead of his (lack of) brawn? If I were to take a Buzzfeed “Which ‘Walking Dead’ character are you?” quiz, I’d probably get Eugene. Most of us would get Eugene. We all like to think we’re Ricks, but if you’re taking the time to read (or write) a recap of a cable drama, you’re probably more Eugene than you care to admit.

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When he admitted his lack of scientific expertise to Tara, she was remarkably understanding. Abraham, less so.

The Army man has embraced Eugene’s safe passage to Washington as his reason for living. And as we see this week, it’s really the only thing he has left. Abraham has a bit of an anger management problem, and in the course of defending his family just after the zombie apocalypse, he apparently went overboard and slaughtered two men. Whatever the circumstances were leading up to the death, it was enough to permanently freak Mrs. Abraham enough for her to take off with the kids. Going solo against a world of dangerous walkers seemed like a safer bet to her than spending one more minute alongside Abraham. Not a huge vote of confidence in Abraham’s reliability.

Abraham’s family didn’t last too long on their own, and it’s apparent that he’ll never again let someone he’s set his sights on to protect out of his grasp. Even if it’s against their will. His relationship with Rosita seemed to fall by the wayside when it conflicted with his mission to protect Eugene. And when Eugene revealed that that mission was all a big lie? Eugene got slammed against a firetruck, left with possible brain damage.

Lucky for him, he’s appearing more resourceful than first thought. During a tense standoff with some walkers outside a fire station, Eugene figured out he could use the firetruck’s hose to knock the zombies’ heads off. We’ve seen the zombies’ heads pierced with knives, screwdrivers and other small implements, but now we know they can be shattered by a strong blast of water. By the time the show gets to Season 6, will survivors just be able to blow the tops of the walkers’ heads off with a strong gust of wind?

If Eugene makes it out of this episode alive, things may be looking more and more in his favor all the time.

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday


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