[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead. Read at your own risk.]
Lots of secrets were spilled on Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead.
First, via flashbacks, viewers learned exactly why hardened soldier Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) came to be so rigid and driven. After his wife and kids witnessed first-hand just how deft a killing machine Abraham was in the post-apocalypse, his wife took the kids and left. Unfortunately, they didn't make it far before they were killed — and once Abraham realized as much, he began contemplating suicide. The only thing that stopped him? Meeting Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and learning about "the cure" Eugene could create in Washington.
McDermitt: Yeah. He's a guy who is just scared. He's a coward and he doesn't know how else to live. He feels like he's got nothing to offer the world as it stands now when really he has a lot to offer. He's still a smart guy. He's not stupid. In fact, quite the contrary. That's why he was able to survive this long in the apocalypse, because he was able to kind of B.S. his way with using real knowledge. I'm interested to see people's reaction to it because people aren't going to be the biggest fan of Eugene at this point. Here we are having some hope of maybe curing this thing and getting life back to normal and that's been taken from us. Not taken, but [now we've] found out that it was never [a real option]. I'm just thankful that Eugene didn't get Daryl killed or anything like that because I think the fans would really hate me.
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Earlier in the episode, we see Eugene finally pick up a weapon and join the fight. Once he sees that he's able to do this and maybe survive, does that play into his decision to come clean?
McDermitt: At that moment, he is starting to believe that, "OK. I can do this thing." But I don't think giving him confidence played into his decision to admit the truth. I think he was obsessed with what the preacher did. He wasn't talking about the atrocity of locking his parishioners out, but the fact that he admitted his sin and was still allowed to be in the group. That was weighing heavily on [Eugene] more than anything else. So, in that moment of, "If we go down here through this giant herd of walkers, people might die," it's like he didn't see any other way out and he had to admit it that moment. Had he not witnessed what the preacher was doing ahead of time, who knows if he would've admitted it or if he would have tried to find another way to stall, which he's been doing this entire time.
Abraham obviously reacts strongly to Eugene's admission. Given their history, which we also saw in this episode, did Eugene expect Abraham to lash out at him so violently?
McDermitt: It doesn't surprise me that he got beat up in that moment, but I think it may have caught Eugene off guard a little bit, especially with the relationship that they had ahead of time. But that's how Abraham works. He's a physical guy. ... I love that flashback at the end, just to kind of show that this relationship that these two guys have isn't just based on, "Yeah. I'll take you to Washington." Eugene saved Abraham's life in that moment. He gave him something to live for. He gave him some hope and there's a bond between those two guys that they don't have with other people. And it just makes the falling away of the relationship that much more powerful.
So, how much has Eugene been lying? Now that the truth is out, will some of the other parts of his character also be revealed to be an act?
McDermitt: I think the Eugene we all see and know is kind of the Eugene that was in the apocalypse as well. He's just this quirky, socially awkward guy who wants people to think he's smarter than he is. But there was a shift. [In the flashback,] he peeks over and he sees this guy sitting there with a gun in his mouth and he sees the family, the dead bodies strewn about. He is able to do the math quickly enough to lie in that moment. But I think as the lie wore on, there were definitely more elements to Eugene that kind of came about that were probably not close to his true personality. He definitely had to play up the scientist part a little bit. But I don't think moving forward we're going to see the magnetic personality of Eugene. [Laughs] He's still going to be kind of weird and quirky because that's just who he is.
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As you said, this removes the one small glimmer of hope from the show. Do the characters now take on a darker outlook, or do they still believe there is some way to end this? And does Eugene personally have any hope?
McDermitt: Those are great questions. We're going to have to find the answers moving forward. I think Eugene's biggest goal is now — once he wakes up from this beating, if he's still alive — how he gets back into this group. What is his place? What his is worth? I think it's very rare for any character to look on the bright side of things. It was really cool to see Bob playing a game with Sasha. It didn't matter what she threw at him that was so dark and horrible about the world, he found the silver lining. I think that's rare in this world. Eugene definitely doesn't think that way.
Eugene says that even though there isn't a cure, he thought D.C. would be a safe place. Is there any chance he convinces the group to keep heading that way?
Well, I think no matter what he says now, people aren't going to listen to him.
So, does Eugene fear that the group won't accept his sins as they did with Father Gabriel?
McDermitt: I still think there's fear because the relationship between Abraham and Rosita and Eugene was stronger than the relationship that Father Gabriel had with anybody. It's kind of easy to forgive someone's sins and atrocities when you don't have a relationship with the guy and it doesn't affect anyone in your group. This is a totally different dynamic. They've been traveling for a while now and not just Abraham and Rosita but Glenn and Maggie and Tara. He's been lying to all of them.
Especially since Eugene like to creepily watch people while they're having sex!
McDermitt: [Laughs] I loved that, man. I loved that we could do that moment because that was straight from the comics. It's just cool to see moments from the comics come to life on television and that's so creepy and awesome for that character. I absolutely loved it and it was such a fun scene to shoot with aftermath of getting caught by Tara and that sort of thing. It was so fun. It was such a great, great scene.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. What did you think of this week's episode?