Sims: This episode was called “Self Help,” but it should have been titled “The Ballad of Eugene Porter.” Things always seemed a little too good to be true for our mulleted pal, and this episode did a lot to clear up the backstory of him and his muscle-bound partner Abraham. Sadly, that came with the revelation that many might have already guessed at—Eugene is no scientist, and he doesn’t really have a secret plan to destroy all the zombies from some secret base in Washington D.C. I suppose that makes sense, since the one thing The Walking Dead would really not want to introduce is a way to kill all the zombies, not while this show is still getting 20 million viewers a week for AMC. Eugene had drawn my suspicion this season with his generally cagey attitude, and that was fleshed out here. To him, lying about this secret plan was the best way to ensure his survival; if he had the key to humankind’s salvation locked in his brain, others might help protect him.
The best thing about this generally well-done episode, I thought, was its whole thesis that as awful and ridiculous as Eugene’s behavior was, it actually did save lives, or at least one life—Abraham's. I was a little thrown by the flashbacks to Abraham’s survival story through the episode, partly because everything else seemed so concentrated on Eugene. It’s also tough to give us a new spin on a Walking Dead origin story, so instead we got the greatest hits of one—apocalypse drives man to terrifying violence, eventually he loses his family, yadda yadda. Not to dismiss Abraham’s feelings, but one hardly needs any context to know why someone might want to kill themselves amidst all this horror. Near the end of the episode, we see Abraham was getting ready to put a gun in his mouth when Eugene stumbled upon him and sought his help, giving him a new mission to devote himself to (just what an Army man needs).