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‘The Walking Dead' Season 5, Episode 5 Recap: Game Changer

11/09/2014 11:14 EST | Updated 11/10/2014 09:59 EST
AMC

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS. Read on only if you've already seen "The Walking Dead" Season 5, Episode 5, titled "Self Help."

After taking a moment to acknowledge Beth’s storyline last week, “The Walking Dead” got back to business following Abraham and his crew to Washington, DC. But while there was more talk and less action in this episode, Eugene’s two huge truth bombs certainly kept us engaged.

The first revelation came after the crew’s bus had an unexpected mechanical failure, which flipped the vehicle on its side along a walker-infested road. Abraham, Rosita, Glenn, Maggie, Tara, and Eugene were then left to fend for themselves. Everyone brought their A-game, as per usual, and the walkers were defeated in no time. Later on Eugene admitted to Tara that the bus crash was no accident -- he sabotaged it. Apparently Eugene wanted to stop the bus before it got on the road, so he put crushed glass in the fuel line.

While I wasn’t overly concerned with this revelation, I did find it surprising at first. Eugene’s actions only made sense to me after he voiced his concerns about not being a valuable member of the group, aside from knowing how to cure the zombie crisis. Not wanting the group to abandon him if he failed, he fearfully sabotaged the bus in hopes of stalling their progress.

As he explained his perspective to Tara, I found myself nodding along. All he was saying was true. Eugene’s not a fighter or a hunter, and he isn’t particularly close with any of the other survivors. So, really, what good is he?

His second and most shocking truth bomb managed to bring that question to the forefront. After encountering another huge obstacle in their path to DC -- a town infested with hundreds of walkers -- the group got into a heated argument about whether or not they should make a detour. Soon enough, Eugene couldn’t handle his guilt anymore and the truth came out: he is not a scientist. Let that sink in for a moment.

Eugene is not a scientist, he can’t cure the zombie infestation, and he can’t save the world. Talk about a total bummer! When questioned by the group, Eugene explained that he just “knows things” and is a good liar, so he put two and two together in order to ensure his survival. Naturally, the group was devastated.

To be honest, I always thought the introduction of the DC storyline was odd. While there were always narratives across seasons, I figured the DC plot would be overarching since finding a cure for the apocalypse would mean the end of the series. Now that we know this plot isn’t going to happen, it will be interesting to see where the show takes this new group. Do they continue to Washington regardless, or do they backtrack to find Rick and the others?

Aside from Eugene’s shocking truths, this episode revealed some of Abraham’s past. While I was intrigued to find out more about this strong character, I felt a little disappointed by the flashbacks sprinkled throughout the episode. First of all, each of them were less than two minutes long, and second, the transitions were weirdly abrupt and sometimes confusing.

Nonetheless, the flashbacks gave us a tease of Abraham’s past. Thanks to them, we now know that he was a family man, but after killing three walkers (or were they people?), his family abandoned him out of fear. Then, before Abraham had a chance to commit suicide, Eugene showed up needing saving. Thus, Abraham helped Eugene and Eugene cleverly tricked Abraham into taking him to Washington.

I’m really hoping the show is planning on revealing a more elaborate backstory for Abraham. While I'm happy to be seeing more facets of his personality (remember when he got hot and heavy with Rosita?), I still feel a bit of disconnect to his character as a viewer, as much as I want to love him.

Looking ahead, Eugene's honesty has ultimately freed the group of their obligation to stick together. In the episodes to come, it will be interesting to see what direction Abraham and the group take -- whether it's together or apart.

Random Thoughts:

  • The gang never ceases to amaze me with their evolving survival skills. Grabbing clean water from the top of a toilet bowl? Genius!
  • Anyone else have a hard time understanding Eugene? Sometimes I don’t even know if it’s his accent or his gibberish that doesn’t make sense to me.
  • I kind of loved the sweet moment between Abraham and Rosita in the library. Not for the sex, but for the fact that they were living and laughing in the moment during such a crazy, ridiculous time in their lives. It was incredibly sweet.
  • I’m a little concerned by the fact that Maggie still hasn’t mentioned her sister. Is she really too preoccupied to even wonder where Beth is?
  • Realizing how many people have died getting Eugene to where he is today is actually astounding.
  • Abraham continuously repeated the phrase “we can’t go back” throughout this episode. Another recurring theme, perhaps?

“The Walking Dead” airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.

The Walking Dead