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TV Review: The Walking Dead - Season 7, Episode 11

Season 7, Episode 11: Hostiles and Calamities

PLOT: Eugene is welcomed into Negan's Sanctuary while Dwight deals with the aftermath of Sherry's betrayal.

REVIEW: When The Walking Dead narrows its focus down from the wider cast of characters to just one or two of them, it risks putting off some members of the audience who may not be so crazy about the characters chosen to carry the episode. Such was the case for me and Hostiles and Calamities, which focused on Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Dwight (Austin Amelio).

I'm fine with one of these characters being the focus of an episode and not so fine with the other, and the one I didn't like spending so much time with tonight may not be the one you'd expect. 

We've been given plenty of reason to hate Dwight, the sleazeball lackey of brain-bashing villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). He's a total creep who's trying to be the evil, bootleg Daryl and he killed my fellow Ohioan Dr. Denise last season, very soon after she warmed my heart by referencing "pop" on the show. And yet I'm intrigued by this guy and his love triangle with Negan and their sort of shared wife Sherry (Christine Evangelista), I want to know more about him, I want the show to get into his head. I am confident it's only a matter of time before he turns against Negan, and I want to follow him on that journey.

Dwight can be a shady, hard to read character. You can see him struggling with his place in Negan's Sanctuary, but then he'll go and do something awful that makes you wonder just how long it's going to take for this guy to snap. He took some strides down that road tonight, though. When he goes so far as to make it look like a devoted Negan follower has betrayed their leader, getting that person killed in a terrible way, it looks like he's not far from completing that 180 turn. It's going to be tough to root for Dwight after all we've seen him do, but it's going to be nice to see Negan take that loss.

Good or evil, Dwight is interesting. Eugene, on the other hand... Eugene has been on the show for three years now, but he's not a character I developed any strong emotions about until recently. He was a liar, he looks ridiculous, he was good for a laugh every now and then. I wanted him to grow as a person, to become less of a coward. Then it began to seem like every time he makes some progress, he then regresses back further. Eugene has been intensely annoying to me in season seven, ever since the deaths of Abraham and Glenn. Sure, he's seen some bad things. The Saviors are scary, I get it. But it has been frustrating that a character who started as a coward has become even more cowardly just when he had shown signs of having some testicular fortitude. This entire season, he has had this weak, quivering, sad sack expression on his face that has irritated me to no end, and he has been nothing but a pain. By the mid-season finale, I was actively rooting for him to be killed. Unfortunately, Negan only took him captive.

Nothing about the time we spend with Eugene during Hostiles and Calamities has changed my mind about the character. Not his science skills, not his prowess as a gamer, not even the line "I was gifted these pickles." In fact, I may have even more reason to dislike him by the time the episode comes to an end. Not only does he keep making a creepy groaning sound when women are around, but he also appears to be a traitor. Maybe he is actually being brave, maybe he's pulling some kind of long con on Negan, we know he's bluffing his way through the situation, resurrecting his old "fight fire with fire" nonsense, but when he says he's giving himself over to Negan I don't doubt it for a second.

Whatever Eugene's doing, I would still be glad to see him get violently removed from the show. The most interesting aspect of his storyline to me was the revelation that at least three of Negan's wives are ready and willing to kill him. That's a good sign for the future, and that's three more Saviors our heroes won't have to fight in the coming battles.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: The walkers don't get much time to shine in this episode, just milling along the fence line at the Sanctuary. There isn't really a "best" zombie moment, there just happens to be some zombies on the screen at a couple points.

GORY GLORY:  There wasn't much in the way of gore, either. The best you've got is when the spiked fence zombie splits in half and we watch its guts pour out.

FAVORITE SCENE: The scene that got the "Easy Street" song stuck in my head again? No, I would give favorite scene to the one in which Dwight returns to the house where he and Sherry used to live and we hear, in voiceover, the contents of the letter she left behind for him. It was a good emotional moment that pushes Dwight closer to some sort of redemption.

FINAL VERDICT

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of Hostiles and Calamities?

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