THE WALKING DEAD Review: “Hostiles and Calamities”

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THE WALKING DEAD catches up with Negan as he returns to Sanctuary and discovers Daryl’s escape in “Hostiles and Calamities.” This show focused on Dwight and Eugene and delivered heavy drama for both. Let’s start with Dwight. This episode steps back to something that happened at the end of episode eight. Negan kills Spencer in the street and Rosita takes a shot at him with the bullet Eugene made for her. Negan takes Eugene back to Sanctuary with him; this is when he returns and finds Fat Joey dead and Daryl missing.

Negan immediately blames Dwight and sends a group of thugs to beat Dwight and throw him in a cell. Then, we find out Daryl isn’t the only one missing. Sherry also took off while Negan was gone. At first, Negan accuses Dwight of being in on the plan for their escape. Negan understands Dwight has plenty of cause to leave, but the fact that he didn’t run off helps his defense. Dwight is shocked to hear Sherry left Sanctuary again. He tells Negan he may know where she went and Negan sends him out to find, and return her.

Austin Amelio as Dwight - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Austin Amelio as Dwight – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

This is where things get even darker for Dwight. He returns to the cabin he used to live in with Sherry and finds a note she left for him in case he came looking. Sherry admits to helping Daryl escape and takes responsibility for her marriage to Negan and putting Dwight through all the pain he suffered when their first escape attempt failed. Sherry mentions several times, in the note, Dwight has a terrible memory and that could be a good thing, though I doubt it. You need a good memory to keep track of lies and Dwight does lie from time to time. We don’t know exactly what Dwight was planning to do if he did find Sherry at the cabin, but we do see him leave a six pack of beer and bag of pretzels when he departs.

Dwight tells a whole different story when he returns. He tells the Sanctuary Doctor that he killed Sherry by driving her into a herd of walkers. At the same time, he leaves part of her note he kept from the cabin in one of Doc’s drawers and frames him for her escape. Negan punishes Doc for seducing one of his wives. At first, it looks like he’s going to iron Doc’s face, but when Doc confesses to helping Sherry, Negan throws him in the furnace and kills him in front of everyone, even Eugene. This is an interesting turn for Dwight. There is nothing left to keep Dwight in sanctuary with Sherry gone, either dead or safe.

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter; group - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter; group – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

When Eugene first arrives in Sanctuary, he’s all tears and snot. He was there when Negan killed Ford and Glenn, there’s no telling what kind of cruelty Negan has in store for him. Immediately, Eugene is given his own private room. The fridge is stocked with beer and food, there is a boom box, a shelf of books, and they tell him he can have anything he wants to eat. Bottom line, they treat Eugene well. Eugene is quick to learn their caste system and the way do commerce.

Negan needs and respects a good “smarty pants” and Eugene helps him solve the problem of his decaying walkers stuck to his perimeter fence. Eugene suggests melting down scrap metal and pouring it over the walkers. This would both reinforce their bodies while fusing them to the fence. Negan loves the idea and sends a trio of his wives to entertain Eugene that night, no sex, but he can still enjoy their company.

The Sanctuary - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Sanctuary – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Eugene mostly plays video games when they arrive. Amber, the young one, just gets drunk, but Frankie offers to give him a professional grade massage. Tanya says she’d love to have an intelligent conversation about the human genome project. Eugene boasts about being able to build a bomb out of household supplies then gives them a little demonstration in the courtyard. The wives love it and Eugene is quick to accept the respect Negan gives him in sanctuary.

The wives return the next evening, they claim on their own, and ask Eugen to make them suicide pills for Amber. She’s depressed and they want a painless way for her kill herself. Eugene is conflicted about making the pills, but he eventually produces two, however, he refuses to hand them over when the wives return. Eugene thinks the wives plan on feeding the pills to Negan. There’s the dilemma. If it’s a trap set by Negan and he tries the pills on an innocent third party, the ends result is bad for Eugene either way. Fail, and it hurts Eugene’s smarty pants credibility. Succeed and it makes Eugene look stupid or complicit in the assassination attempt.

Chloe Aktas as Tanya, Autumn Dial as Amber, Elyse Nicole DuFour as Frankie - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Chloe Aktas as Tanya, Autumn Dial as Amber, Elyse Nicole DuFour as Frankie – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Negan arrives at Eugene’s door shortly after the wives leave. When he asks Eugene his name, Eugene is quick to respond, “Negan.” This is an interesting mystery. Eugene could be playing it straight. The good teams have all been a little abusive towards him. Negan offers him protection and treats him better than most. Eugene understands the sanctuary rules. This could be a safe and happy place for him. On the other hand, he could also be quietly waiting and planning to support the right attack against Negan.

Season 7, Episode 11 (S07E011)
The Walking Dead  airs Sundays at 9PM on AMC

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Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.
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