The Walking Dead: season 7 episode 11 review – Hostiles and Calamities
This week’s episode of The Walking Dead finds Eugene at the Saviors compound after being taken captive by them, and is a bottle episode focusing separately on him and Dwight. Eugene resorts back to lying as a means of survival, incidentally Dwight ends up doing the same. Viewers also learn more about a few of Negan’s wives, and details are revealed about the points system utilized by the group. This installment offered a fair amount of character development, but didn’t exactly move the plot forward in any notable ways, making it a little underwhelming. Below is our spoiler-heavy review.
Serving as a bit of a flashback, the episode picks up with Negan and company returning to the compound after the events of the mid-season finale, with Eugene as their hostage. Viewers are likely to expect that Eugene will be treated similarly to Daryl, however quite the opposite transpires and he’s escorted to the very room that Daryl turned down by refusing to comply. He’s allowed to make himself at home while Laura, the Savior who’s seemingly been appointed to him, fetches him a meal of his choosing. He’s later given a tour and the point system is explained. He’s told that he’s part of Negan’s crew and isn’t required to earn points, and therefore can take whatever he chooses without having to contribute.
He’s then taken to Negan, and made to introduce himself. Here Negan waves Lucille in his face, reminding him that she’s marked with a bullet that Eugene made. Negan declares that under normal circumstances he would have already killed Eugene, but wants to know if he’s a “smarty-pants’ and might prove to be useful. Eugene declares that he is and that he knows things, and here he’s clever enough to revert back to the lie he told Abraham and Rosita in order to be protected. Negan gives him the name Dr. Smarty-pants, giving him an opportunity to prove himself by coming up with a way to keep the walkers chained to the fence from rotting away too quickly. Eugene impresses him by coming up with a resolution, and as token of his gratitude, Negan sends a few of his wives to Eugene’s room to keep him company (though sex is strictly forbidden). In true nerd fashion he shows them a good time by playing video games while they watch.
Two of the wives assigned to keeping Eugene company test his intelligence and have him show of by demonstrating an experiment, which they are rather impressed with. They return to this room the following night insisting that Amber is depressed and suicidal, and implore him to make something for her that will put her to sleep, stating that she’ll end up doing it with or without help and suffer, possibly even risking someone else getting hurt. Eugene is reluctant but ultimately complies, then later refuses to give them the product he’s made because he knows their true plan is to use it on Negan. Previously it was indicated that all of the wives were there of their own free will and had a choice, however this is clearly not the case for everyone due to their circumstances. This is because it confirms definitively that there are individuals among the Saviors who not only don’t wish to comply with Negan’s rules, but actually wish him dead. There are a few other instances throughout the episode where it’s hinted at that some of the Saviors are not happy with their circumstances, which is sure to be employed in the future.
Negan later visits Eugene in his room and says that he doesn’t invite people to join his group often or lightly. Unlike Daryl, Eugene is all too quick to declare himself as “Negan” like the other members of the group do so readily. This is certainly done as a means of survival, since Eugene is lacking in fighting and tactical skills, and unlike Daryl isn’t capable of enduring torture.
Serving as parallel to Eugene’s story, Dwight is shown discovering Daryl’s absence and is beaten as punishment by other Saviors while Negan watches. He’s then locked in the very closet that Daryl was held in. Speaking to him through the locked door, Negan discloses that after they went out looking for Daryl, he returned to find that Sherry was missing as well, revealing that she was the one who aided in Daryl’s escape and then fled. Dwight however defends her as well as himself by declaring that neither of them were involved.
He is then tasked with finding Sherry and bringing her back, and he ventures out to their former home where he finds a heartfelt letter from Sherry, in which she declares that she’s going out on her own and that “being there isn’t better than being dead”. She also confirms having let Daryl go. Upon returning, Dwight claims that he found and killed her. Later in the episode Negan makes a big display of accusing the resident doctor of letting Daryl go to impress Sherry, a conclusion he came to due to Dwight planting part of the note she wrote in his office. The doctor denies it at first, but later states that he did it and apologizes thinking he’ll get off easier. Instead Negan kills him by tossing him into the fire while Dwight watches coldly nearby. Whether or not we see Sherry again remains to be seen, however it does feel as if this decision could come back to haunt Dwight at some point.
Negan’s presence in this episode is scaled back to a large degree, which proves to be incredibly effective. Often his dialogue is delivered off screen, and when he does appear his antics are toned down, making him less comical more chilling than he’s been in recent episodes. It seems they may have finally hit their stride with the character, and while he’s still annoying it now feels as if it’s by design and not because they’re overdoing it. Hopefully they continue using the character in this manner going forward.
While the episode wasn’t terribly eventful, it does serve as an interesting parallel to the bottle episode in which Daryl was held captive at the compound. Both Eugene and Dwight are shown in similar scenarios as Daryl, and each character behaves and reacts in an entirely different manner. Over the years this has proven to be one of the strengths of the series, as when they take the time to develop their characters they do so very well, making each character uniquely their own.
Image credits: AMC, FOX