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TV Review: The Walking Dead 7.11 “Hostiles and Calamities”
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The Walking Dead, Season 7 Episode 11 review

The Walking Dead
Episode 7.11 “Hostiles and Calamities”
Directed by Kari Skogland
Written by David Leslie Johnson
Starring Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Christian Serratos, Sonequa Martin-Green, Josh McDermitt, Khary Payton, Austin Amelio, Tom Payne, Katelyn Nacon, Alanna Masterson
AMC
Air Date: Sunday, February 26, 2017

Warning – SPOILERS for AMC’s The Walking Dead…

Last week’s The Walking Dead was all about Rick trying to get various groups to join his fight against Negan and the Saviors. The Hilltop colony and the Kingdom both turned him down, as they were too scared to mess up the respective agreements they have with the Saviors. But then Rick and crew went searching for Father Gabriel, who’d been captured by a new group, the Heapsters, who Rick — after successfully surviving a feat of strength — convinced to join him. Their leader, Jadis, is a hard woman of few words, but it was clear that she’s no one to be trifled with. But Rick was just happy to have the numbers, and he smiled his way through their entire encounter.

On this week’s episode, 7.11 “Hostiles and Calamities,” we return back to Negan and the Sanctuary, in a storyline that picks up right after Daryl’s escape. Dwight, who was guarding Daryl, finds his captive’s darkened cell empty and then his own room ransacked, with a note left behind reading “Go now” in script. He realizes what’s happened just as his door is broken in and he’s beaten down by his own comrades as Negan, with his bat Lucille in hand, looks on.

In the meantime, Eugene is brought to the Sanctuary. We saw a few episodes ago that Negan takes him from Alexandria after he admits to making a bullet. Realizing that Eugene is an asset, Negan takes the cowardly scientist back to the Sanctuary, where he gives him his own nice room, complete with a kitchenette with a stocked fridge. There’s even a stereo – when he turns it on, the song “Easy Street” plays. Oh man, that’s a bad omen. This was the song they used to psychologically torture Daryl with.

Anyhow, Laura, one of Negan’s inner crew members, who brings Eugene to his new abode, offers to go get him some food, and when he asks for potato chips, she says that “Number 42” makes these, referring to one of the workers there. (This, once again, shows us that there are innocent people at the Sanctuary.) She also says there’s more books in their library. Eugene picks up a book and says it’s by Vonda M. McIntyre, which will do fine for him now. (Very cool shout-out to Vonda M. McIntyre, who is science fiction author who’s written original Star Trek books, as well as some of the franchise’s movie novelizations. She also wrote the 1994 original Star Wars novel The Crystal Star, as well as her own novels and short-stories.)

When we see Dwight again, he’s been thrown, blooded, into one of the dark cells. Negan bangs on the door, asking if Sherry is the one who let Daryl go, but Dwight insists it wasn’t her. But she’s gone missing, which is a big coincidence. “Was it you?,” Negan asks, wondering if Daryl didn’t, in fact, “break” Dwight instead of the other way around. “Did you change your stripes on me?,” Negan asks of his soldier. “After all this, who are you, Dwight?” Negan asks. “I am Negan,” Dwight responds obediently, which are the magic words to have his cell opened. Negan says that Daryl is emotional, so either he went home or he’s planning to return to kill them, likely him and Dwight, so they have to find him. He asks if Dwight knows where Sherry went, and he does, so Negan commands him to go and bring her back, so he takes off to do so.

Eugene, still terrified, gets a tour of the sanctuary. Laura tells him that he’s one of “them” now, the Elite, not one of the workers, who earn everything on a points system. For them, they can just take what they want, and she takes some newly made pickles (pickles was one of the foods Eugene had asked about). She says the workers “eat shit,” while they “eat good.” She then leads him out to the yard, where Negan and Lucille await. Negan wants to know if Eugene is a “smarty-pants,” is he someone who’s knowledge would be valuable to him. He asks what Eugene would do to keep the protective Walkers out in the yard upright, because they are falling apart. Eugene says they can melt down scrap metal with their equipment, and pour it over the Walkers while also affixing the undead to the fence. This impresses Negan, who wants to know Eugene credentials. Still looking like he’s going to pee himself, Eugene rattles off his degrees, including Masters and PhDs, and says he was working on the Human Genome Project before the end hit. (These are the same lies he had told Abraham and Rosita so that they’d think he was a valuable asset.) This again impresses Negan, who wonders if Rick had had Eugene do all this “smarty-pants” work for him — no. As a token of gratitude, Negan says he’ll send over some of his wives to visit Eugene for some dinner, drinks, and laughs, but no sex. (That’s a “no-no,” Negan warns.) Eugene thanks his new master profusely.

Later that night, Negan’s wives visit Eugene’s room where they drink and he teaches them to play video games. One of the wives, Amber, is having a hard time. She just wants to drink and later blurts out that they are “slaves.” The other wives profess their interest in Eugene’s past involvement in the Human Genome Project, but he says that his work fell under the auspices of the Black Box Program, which is highly classified. And even if he did tell them about it, they wouldn’t understand it. But they seem to just want him to show them some science-y stuff, like how to make a bomb from just a few ingredients, so he goes out into the yard and shows them what he can do with just a few household products. The ladies are thrilled and entertained when he causes an explosion, but he remains cautious.

The next morning, Dwight is out on the road looking for Sherry. He goes to what appears to be their old home (there’s a frame with their photo in it). He finds a note she left for him — the handwriting matches the note that was left for Daryl’s escape. In the letter, she says that this was the place they had agreed to meet at if they ever became separated, but because Dwight has a terrible memory, he might not recall the agreement and will likely never find the letter. She writes that it’s her fault they returned to Negan and that it turns out that that life is not better than being dead. She says he’s become the thing he hates (being like Negan?) and that while she loved who he was, she doesn’t like who he’s become. She admits to letting Daryl free. “I’m sorry I made you who you are,” she writes. She says she’s not staying behind to wait for him because she doesn’t know whether he’ll go with her, make her return to the Sanctuary, or kill her. “Goodbye, Honey,” she ends the letter. As he reads it, he looks down to see her engagement ring and wedding band left behind; he takes out the cigarette pack he keeps hidden in his room. It has his wedding band in it, along with a cigarette butt with lipstick on it. He puts everything into the cigarette pack and unpacks his provisions — pretzels and beer, which is what he always used to bring her. It’s obvious that he would have, in fact, left with her, which makes their separation, as well as what happens when Dwight returns to the Sanctuary, so much sadder.

Back at Eugene’s room, two of Negan’s wives come to visit on their own. They explain that Amber doesn’t want to live anymore — she had only agreed to be Negan’s wife because her mother needs medication and can’t work for it. They ask if Eugene can make something for Amber to take so that her death will be quick and painless. They say they know he’s a “good man,” but he says he doesn’t feel that he is. In the end, they appear to have convinced him to help. Later, we see him on line for supplies, but then he skips the line to demand what he wants. He intimidates the person in charge of the supplies and gets what he needs and storms off. We then get a montage of him creating pills in his room.

By now, Dwight is back at the Sanctuary at the doctor’s office. He tells Dr. Carson that he killed Sherry quickly after she had run from him into a crowd of dead ones. The doctor tells him: “We don’t get to have big hearts, remember that.” Perhaps the doctor should have remembered that, because he’s about to get screwed over big time.

Eugene is brought into the great room where the furnace is housed. Every time we see this room, someone gets their face burned. Dwight is there heating up the iron in the fire, while Negan tells Eugene to watch closely what happens. It’s obvious that Eugene is meant to learn that everyone, regardless of how useful they are, is disposable if they cross Negan. Negan then accuses Dr. Carson of setting Daryl free in order to win favor with Sherry. The doctor denies this, but Negan hits him a few times with the bat regardless, continuing his accusations, saying that Dwight got the truth out of Sherry before he killed her. The doctor says Dwight is lying, but Negan says his man has no reason to lie, and that they found a note in the doctor’s draw in Sherry’s handwriting that read “Goodbye Honey.” We know this is what she wrote to Dwight, and that her husband is now using it to frame the doctor, likely to throw Negan off Sherry’s trail. Realizing that he can do nothing but confess and beg forgiveness in hopes of receiving mercy, Dr. Carson does just this, and Negan drops the iron. “That’s all you had to say,” Negan says, while Eugene watches along terrified. Negan then grabs the doctor and throws him right into the fire, killing him. “Good thing we have a spare Dr. Carson,” Negan tells Dwight, while looking up at Eugene, before saying that he was sorry Sherry was dead. “I’m not,” Dwight responds, which Negan likes to hear.

Back at Eugene’s room, the two wives come to visit again to ask if he made the pills. He says he did, but he knows they aren’t for Amber, but rather for them to kill Negan and he’s not going to go along with it. They threaten to tell Negan it was his idea, but he’s not frightened… for a change. He says Negan will believe him over them for the same reason Negan believed Dwight over the doctor — they are replaceable, whereas he isn’t. Disgusted by him, the wives leave, telling Eugene that he’s a coward. “That is a correct assessment,” he tells them. And it is – we know this about Eugene from the start. When they leave, he goes over to the jar of pickles and chomps down on one, showing us that he’s settling into his new position of privilege at the Sanctuary. A knock on the door brings Negan, who wants to know how Dwight is liking his new situation. He stresses that not everyone gets his type of invitation to live in comfort and safety, and that Eugene no longer needs to be afraid. Negan just needs to know one thing first: “Who are…?” but before he can finish the question, Eugene says, “I’m Negan.” He goes on to stress that he is totally Negan, and likely always has been Negan and always will.

Out in the yard the next morning, Eugene oversees the molten metaling of the walkers with a newfound confidence. Dwight comes out and stands next to him. The last time these two were that close, Eugene had bit down on Dwight’s penis in an effort to escape, an event neither of these men seem to think is a big deal anymore. Eugene starts talking to him, ending it by saying “I’m Eugene, you’re Dwight, we’re Negan.” “Yeah,” Dwight agrees, showing that they two men are now full-force in with Negan and this way of life. I’d love to think that perhaps this is all a big plan on Eugene’s part to eventually help Rick, but I highly doubt it. Eugene has always been a coward and he only does things that serve his own interest. Plus, for likely the first time, Eugene has power and respect. His life is much easier now, and he is getting respect he never had before, since the Alexandrians not only knew he was a coward, but knew he was a huge liar as well. There’s really no reason at this point for Eugene to ever go against Negan. He is Negan now.

Image Gallery

Video

The Walking Dead Ep. 711 Official Sneak Peek: ‘Daryl is Missing’


Dwight discovers that Daryl is missing.

The Walking Dead Ep. 711 Next On: ‘Hostiles and Calamities’

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