*This article contains spoilers for season 8 of The Walking Dead*
There have been a lot of questionable characters and motives floating around The Walking Dead these past couple seasons, but no one has caused quite the audience stir as Dr. Eugene Porter’s infuriating arc to becoming a Savior and one of Negan’s right-hand men. The visceral reaction to Eugene’s move to the Sanctuary has not been a quiet one and fans had already ruled out any sort of redemption arc for the character and instead began wishing for him to finally meet his end for betraying Rick and co.
— Buzztrixer (@ScribbleDoozy) April 9, 2018
— Kristen Nicole (@ClassicalyWrote) April 9, 2018
I mean, if Eugene doesn’t die this season I’m going to immediately enroll in acting classes, perform in a few off Broadway shows, get a couple of commercials, audition for 15 pilots and then get hired by @WalkingDead_AMC so I can kill him myself. #TheWalkingDead @AMCTalkingDead
— In Related News (@InRelatedNews1) April 9, 2018
So, when the season 8 finale aired and Eugene confirmed to Negan that all of the bullets had been made with a quality check done by him, it seemed like the final nail in the coffin. Except when the Saviors were about to take out Rick’s ambush the bullets misfired, wiping out nearly all of them and by Negan’s booming “Eugene!” it became evident to the audience that he had finally turned his traitorous ways around.
Needless to say, it was epic and everyone immediately got back on board the Eugene train.
— Screw Dreams (@DjScrewJr) April 16, 2018
Eugene, you had us hating you for a few seasons. But in one move, you made things right.#TheWalkingDead
— Christian O’Brien (@ChrisRedRanger) April 16, 2018
— howyagarn (@skarnonmate) April 16, 2018
Me, 2 weeks ago: Dammit, I can’t STAND that traitor Eugene!
Me, last week: Eugene is the WORST! He has to go!
Eugene, all along: pic.twitter.com/mwT5azS1IQ
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) April 16, 2018
Me before this episode: Wow I hate Eugene
Me after this episode: Dr. Eugene Porter is a fictional character from the comic book series The Walking Dead and is portrayed by Josh McDermitt beginning in the fourth season of the American television series of the sa#TheWalkingDead
— Rick Grimes (@RickAndThangs) April 16, 2018
However, while on Talking Dead season 8 showrunner Scott Gimple made sure to inform fans that even though the plan was to always have Eugene save the day, Eugene wasn’t playing some long con from the beginning of his time with Negan. As a self-preservationist, he ended up making his decision late in the game to sabotage the bullets, seeing it as the only way to save the most amount of lives, including his own.
It was a very long time ago. It was before Eugene was taken, we had had that storyline. We knew that was going to be sort of a master stroke. We did not tell [Josh McDermitt], because it was very late that Eugene made up his mind on this thing. He was fighting something that was in him. He was always about self-preservation, he was always about keeping himself alive. But he met Abraham Ford, and he met Rosita, and those people infected him with humanity. He kept on trying to fight it — he was trying to drink his way out of it, he couldn’t sleep. But in the end, the people around him affected him too deeply.
Josh McDermitt also commented on Eugene’s big power play during the popular after-show.
When I first had Andrew Lincoln read me the finale script, I got most excited that Eugene saves the day. He seized on an opportunity to keep as many people alive as he could, and really helped get Negan captured. It really never was a long con with this guy. For him, it’s all about self-preservation. This is a man who only wanted to survive himself, and he would prefer it if other people didn’t have to die, but if that happens, that’s the price we have to pay within this world.
Eugene also seemed to make some headway in his relationship with Rosita. She was able to save him during the final battle and when she realized that he was the one who ensured their victory, you could see her start to forgive him. However, she still owed him a quick punch for that little vomit distraction in the previous episode.
What did you think of Eugene’s big move? Are you excited to see him back on Team Rick? What do you think he has in store for him moving forward? Let us know in the comments!
Having studied Media & Writing at James Madison University, I always knew that I wanted to do some type of creative writing, but being able to write about zombies, Starks, and superheroes on a daily basis for Fan Fest is my actual dream. While I probably shouldn’t be as proud as I am to be so similar to Nick Miller, I do hope to one day write my own “Pepperwood Chronicles’.