WARNING: This article contains spoilers from previous episodes of AMC’s The Walking Dead, as well as it’s comic book counterpart. If you are not caught up, proceed at your own risk.
I’m sort of reeling from this past Sunday’s episode, “Slabtown,” and I’m really not sure what to make of it still. Anyway, we’re already halfway through the week so that means a new episode is on the way soon, and hopefully a better one.
From the promo videos that have been released, we can gather that this is probably going to be an episode very focused on Abraham’s sect of the group. Drawing from what we’ve been shown, I’d be surprised if we saw any of the other survivors this Sunday. I’m going to take a look at what we might see this coming week, and tomorrow I will be posting an article shedding some light on where I think we might go next. Remember, as always, spoilers for past episodes to follow.
One of the first promos we see shows Glenn on the church bus really grilling Eugene on what exactly is the plan for the cure. Eugene gives him a few answers, but appears to be relatively perturbed by Glenn questioning him, telling him “It’s classified,” when Glenn asks about missiles:
I think this is going to lead us to a big reveal regarding Eugene, where he came from, and what he actually knows. [COMIC SPOILERS] In the comic, Eugene is revealed to be a fraud shortly after the group dispatched the Hunters. This development occurs after Rick attempts to wrestle a satellite phone off of him to speak to whoever is on the other line, causing the phone to smack off the ground and the battery hatch to open. Rick realizes that there are no batteries in the phone, and under threat Eugene reveals that he’s simply a science teacher who didn’t know how to protect himself, so he lied to find protection. The mullet, Washington, a cure, it’s all a lie. It’s a sham, and everyone bought it, most of all Abraham.
Now, we clearly have a very different group dynamic in the show. Instead of the whole group being on the road together, it’s just Maggie, Rosita, Tara, Abraham, Eugene, and Glenn. While thus far Eugene has remained relatively mum outside of a few moments of scientific babble, and Abraham has backed him on this, even submitting to him because Abraham feels Eugene is much smarter than him, Glenn seems to be curious about what is actually going to happen. I can see Glenn filling Rick’s role from the comic, and eventually getting Eugene to admit he’s a fraud. [END COMIC SPOILERS]
Eugene coming clean could cause a scuffle on the bus, leading to the wreck we see in the Comic-Con trailer for season five, right around the 2:13 mark:
In this same trailer we also other snippets that may confirm this theory. At 1:49, you can see Glenn dispatching a walker next to what appears to be the overturned bus, and at 2:01 we see Abraham, visibly upset, dropping to his knees in the middle of a road that looks incredibly similar to the one we see Glenn on in the previous shot.
Following episode 504, we were also shown a promo of scenes from this coming episode. Here we see a fired up Abraham borderline yelling at Eugene. He says “The mission hasn’t changed. We can’t go back,” and “We’re at war, and retreat means we lose.”
This obviously could mean nothing, but it could also be Abraham demanding that they continue to Washington because that’s the only thing that’s given him purpose. Based off the preview shown during Talking Dead though, I have reason to believe that the latter is correct:
While there is no context given for the scene, I’d wager that it’s a flashback to Abraham’s past for a few different reasons. First and foremost, the wardrobe is off. Abraham isn’t shown wearing a button-down shirt in any of the other previews, nor have we seen him do so previously. Small, sure, but the clip also supports my next observation: Given the can he is using as a weapon, the linoleum floor, and some shelving in the background, Abraham appears to be in a grocery store. This, if indeed a flashback, would align with his back-story from the comics.
[COMIC SPOILERS] After the turn, Abraham and his family take refuge in a Texas grocery store with some other locals. One day Abraham returns from a run to find that the others have raped his wife and daughter while holding down his son and forcing him to watch. In a fit of rage, Abraham brutally kills the perpetrators with his bare hands, not dissimilar to what Rick does to Joe’s group in the show, and the marauders in the comics. Horrified by what they’ve seen, Abraham’s wife and children flee, terrified of what he’s capable of. Not long after, Abraham tracks them down, finding them ripped apart by walkers, and he is forced to put his daughter, now undead, out of her misery.
This leads to Abraham joining Rosita and Eugene months later, and heading toward Washington after he hears of Eugene’s mission. [END COMIC SPOILERS]
To lend some further credence to the flashback theory, the actor who portrays Abraham, Michael Cudlitz, told Entertainment Weekly back in September “We’re going to be definitely examining his past and certain things are taken directly from the comics, as Scott has said, and certain things are paying homage to the comics.”
The final piece of evidence comes from AMC’s Walking Dead site itself. The description for the upcoming episode is “A new set of issues confront our group while on a mission. Will they be able to push through and survive these challenges? Or better yet, each other?”
I imagine there are going to be some very unhappy people in that group if Eugene is, in fact, revealed to be a fraud, not the least of whom being Abraham. We’ve already seen that the man has the capacity for brutality and isn’t afraid to dust it up with others like Glenn and Rick, so I imagine there wouldn’t be much keeping him from knocking Eugene around a bit.
With all of this information, I’d be completely shocked if we don’t see something very similar to this in “Self Help.” Either way, this episode seems to be sizing up to be much, much better than the last.
Make sure to check back tomorrow, as I’ll be uploading my thoughts on where we might be going as the mid-season finale (!!!) is already rapidly approaching.