According to actor Josh McDermitt, Eugene will be Team Negan in season 8 of The Walking Dead. When it comes to The Walking Dead it’s impossible to say which character has the saddest life. Everyone on the show has lost numerous loved ones, including their significant others, siblings, and children. Everyone has faced nearly insurmountable odds in order to survive, and had to do things they never would have thought themselves capable of. The main characters have faced off against thousands of walkers, not to mention numerous insane humans, ranging from sadists to cannibals to slavers.
So the character of Eugene Porter has not actually had it worse than anyone else. The difference between him and the other characters has always come down to his ability to adapt and survive. While Eugene is brilliant in many ways, he is not a fighter. And unlike many characters who have been younger and smaller than he is, he does not seem to be capable of learning how to fight or defend himself. He may contribute to the team with his intellect, but when it comes to survival Eugene is dependent on the others to protect him.
Though it sounds like his gratitude only goes so far. In spite of how many times Rick Grimes and company have saved his life, Eugene ended season 7 by siding with Negan and the Saviors – even though they had killed his dear friend Abraham as well as several others and kidnapped Eugene to boot. And according to an interview that McDermitt gave to ComicBook, by the time season 8 rolls around Eugene is 100 percent on Team Negan.
Eugene’s shifting loyalty was a big part of the character’s story in the second half of season 7. After being brought to the Savior’s camp, Eugene took only a few days to learn that his life could be more comfortable than it had been in years if he went along with Negan. In almost no time at all he was throwing his weight around to get better supplies and even saved Negan’s life – not that the leader of the Saviors had any idea some of his wives were trying to kill him. And while fan backlash has lead to McDermitt taking a break from social media, the actor is on board with the storyline:
“He’s with Saviors, he’s on team Negan, he’s looking out for himself. He’s thinking about self preservation, just trying to continue to live in this apocalypse. It’s interesting because we started a scene at the end of season six that he felt like he was a survivor and he had stepped up and then, when Negan killed Glenn and Abraham, it became a whole, ‘How can I call myself a survivor?’ We saw that at the end of season seven as he talked with Sasha. He said ‘How can I call myself a survivor when the man that I think is the biggest survivor has been killed?’ You know? But he truly is a survivor. He’s doing what he has to do to survive and to live. If that means helping Negan and the others, then that’s what that means.”
While some fans may be upset, the behavior does not actually seem so out of character for Eugene. When he was first introduced, Eugene had tricked Abraham and Rosita into protecting him by claiming he could cure the disease which causes the dead to walk. Eugene is very aware that he is not a fighter, and has a history of looking for the biggest and strongest people he can find to keep him safe. That used to be Abraham. There is a sort of logic to the idea that he now looks for protection in Abraham’s killer.
This story does deviate from the comics, which is some of the reason for the backlash. Negan also captures Eugene in the books, but Eugene stands up to Negan and eventually outwits him. This is hardly the first time the TV version of The Walking Dead has changed from the books, which might upset fans who wanted to see specific stories play out. But it does keep the show from being too predictable.
With Rick and company finally achieving a victory against Negan and The Saviors, who are now gearing up for war, it will be interesting to see how Eugene’s presence on Team Negan will affect the outcome. And how Eugene will fair when facing off with his former allies and friends.
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres Sunday October 22 on AMC
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