Warning: Contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season seven.
The Walking Dead turned back the clock to catch up with the aftermath from Daryl’s brutal escape from the Saviors – in an episode of two significant character transformations.
While last week’s New Best Friends freshened things up with new faces and Mad Max-style zombie face-offs, Hostiles & Calamities was a back-peddle to fill in the blanks following Eugene’s capture and Daryl’s bloodied escape from Negan’s clutches.
Picking up directly after Fat Joe’s death, Dwight is left panicked after realising Daryl’s escape is going to weigh heavily on his shoulders. Negan doesn’t take long to deliver swift punishment either, throwing him in a cell before forcing him to track down his wife Sherry who also disappeared mere hours after his escape.
Alongside this narrative is the arrival of Eugene into the Savior stronghold, who is almost comically terrified following Spencer’s gut-spilling death. To his surprise however, Negan’s intentions are to schmooze him as much as possible – providing him with fancy living quarters, video games and even Easy Street primed for endless stereo rotation.
These luxuries combined with the power of being a valuable weapon-assembling asset to Negan, seemingly prove all too seductive for Eugene. By the end of the episode he spurts how he’s ‘utterly, completely, stone-cold Negan’, but it doesn’t feel believable. While he’s been a character renowned for cowardly, selfish decisions, his switch to Negan’s right-hand man feels almost too quick – especially considering he’s seen Negan’s horrors first-hand against close friend Abraham, Glenn and Spencer.
Of course, it could be an elaborate act for survival. But considering its the crux of the episode, and coupled with Lennie James’ previous comments about surprising allegiances on both sides, it seems the show is definitely gearing up for a character side swap in the coming episodes.
The other side of this is Dwight – who loses the only reason he’s stayed with Negan’s camp. After venturing forth for his wife Sherry, he discovers a note outlining how she freed Daryl because he reminded him of Dwight’s former self, before she decided to run herself, leaving wedding rings in tow. It was a surprisingly effective scene which hangs questions over Dwight’s allegiance, seeing how Negan’s leadership has drove his wife, not only from the Saviors, but also away from himself.
As the pair stood side-by-side looking over the Savior’s base, the show isn’t exactly subtle in outlining where events are headed. Some of the character adjustments may need a little time to convince, with an inevitable encounter at Alexandria possibly showing the pair’s true colours. Hostiles And Calamities overall however was another teasing step which falls short, in a season coming to be defined by undelivered potential.
The Walking Dead continues on AMC Sunday, and airs in the UK on Fox Mondays at 9pm.
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