The Walking Dead season seven has shifted focus yet again, this time relocating the action back to the Sanctuary following Negan’s fateful visit to Alexandria which left Spencer and Olivia dead.
Things aren’t looking particularly friendly there: Fat Joey’s dead, Daryl’s escaped and Sherry is nowhere to be seen. Add to the mix the fact that Negan has a new prisoner – Eugene – and ‘Hostiles and Calamities’ proved as tense an episode as you could expect when The Walking Dead’s concerned.
These are the episode’s five major talking points.
1 – Eugene is Negan
Eugene is a quivering mess as he arrives at the Sanctuary, however rapidly grows a thick skin proving to Negan he’s a stronger asset than anyone gave him credit for. Instead of locking him up, he’s plonked in a room with a video game and regular visits from Negan’s wives. By episode’s end, Negan offers Eugene the chance to join his people – all he has to do is answer one question: ‘Who are you?“ Before Negan can finish the question, Eugene pledges his allegiance to the baseball bat-wielding madman. ”I was Negan before I met you,“ he says. ”I just needed to meet you properly to know.“ Whether he truly means it or this is part of his master plan remains to be seen.
2 – Dwight is not Negan
Negan’s aide Dwight (Austin Amelio) is not in the same place. Initially attributed with the blame for Daryl’s escape, Negan sends him out to find their wife, Sherry, who has absconded the Saviours’ compound. Dwight fabricates a story about her death upon returning to the Sanctuary making it clear that his allegiance to Negan is in the process of breakdown. “We are Negan,” states former Alexandrian Eugene as the two stand side-by-side as the episode ends. As he looks at Negan’s new convert, all Dwight can muster is an uncertain “Yeah.”
3 – Sherry let Daryl go
Consider this one a tying up of loose ends. It wasn’t made completely clear just who let Daryl out of his cell – many assumed it to be Jesus (Tom Payne) who ended up guiding the redneck back to Hilltop. This episode tells us it was, in fact, Sherry, news confirmed to us by a handwritten letter bearing the same writing as the note she left Daryl. In said letter, she details exactly why she helped him – because she knew Daryl reminded Dwight of what he used to be before he became Negan’s killing machine, words that see Dwight break down in tears; another nail in the coffin of his allegiance to Negan.
4 – Negan is silently preparing for war
Negan is on far less jokey form this week, adopting a more composed, unnerving disposition. While not openly stating it, it’s clear he has a feeling war is on the horizon – he knows full well what the newly-escaped Daryl’s next movements are: to come back and kill both him and Dwight.
5 – Easy Street
Remember that song blasted into Daryl’s cell over and over again? The one that you had in your head for weeks and weeks after? Prepare for the same. In a witty reference, we see Eugene turn on a music system only for “Easy Street” to play. Staring at the hi-fi in disbelief, Eugene proves he’s only human by bobbing his head to the beat – a hilariosu touch in an otherwise tense episode.
The Walking Dead airs in the UK tonight (27 February) at 9pm on FOX.