We pick up right from when Negan et als. abducted Eugene from Alexandria, however long ago that was in-universe (just days?). Because we were ALL dying to know what happened to Eugene. Not much happens here but we get a bit of a character study instead of the usual overwhelming despair. BONUS: no Rick!!!
At the Sanctuary (I forget - is that what Negan's place is called?), Dwight discovered that Daryl has escaped right as Negan gets back from his raid on Alexandria. Dwight rushes around, panicked, finding the GO NOW note that spurred Daryl to action. He recognizes the handwriting: his wife Sherry was the one who wrote it and she scarpered too, when Daryl did. Dwight tucks that note away just in time as Negan and his goons come for him, beating the crap out of him for allowing their prisoner to get away.
Eugene gets taken into the Sanctuary. He's terrified, mewling, but all they do is show him to his [very nice] room, with books and video games and beer and fresh produce in the fridge, and tell him, "Welcome home, Haircut." He's been brought in as one of the upper eschelon, not one of the workers. He is bewildered, twitchy and awkward as usual, but it's understandable: from all his prior experience with Negan, he should expect a baseball bat through the skull.
After one night in the cells, Negan lets Dwight out, reporting that Sherry is in fact gone as well as Daryl. Dwight says that he thinks he knows where she might go and Negan orders him to go see the doctor, get patched up and track her down.
Negan has Eugene brought out to the yard and does his typical song-and-dance - my word that man likes to hear himself talk - charming and intimidating, blah blah blah. He asks Eugene whether he's a smarty-pants, if he knows things, if he can be useful. For example, how to solve the Sanctuary's defense problem: they've got walkers tied to the chainlink fence but they keep rotting and falling off. Eugene comes up with the inventive idea that they could melt down scrap metal (he saw a smelter in another part of the compound) and pour the liquid metal over the walkers on the wall. The metal would harden, fastening the zombie to the fence, and if they poured some on the walker's heads, that would protect the walkers from getting spiked in the head. Negan likes it: "Goddamn, if that ain't the coolest thing I've ever heard in my life! Not only is it practical, but it is positively badass!" He is so thrilled that he decides to send a few of his wives to Eugene's room for a party tonight. No sex, of course. Eugene: "Did you say wives, meaning plural?"
Three wives come over with some wine; Eugene plays old video games. They talk a little and to their credit, the wives are pretty tolerant of just how effing weird Eugene is. They manage to convince him to do some flashy science projects with homemade helium, fizzy bubbles and some flash/bang. The next night, two of those wives come back with a sob story about the third wife being depressed and wanting to kill herself. They want Eugene to make suicide pills for her. They talk him into it. He commandeers supplies from the lower-level workers and gets his Breaking Bad on, mixing up the cold medicine in a musical montage.
Dwight goes to his and Sherry's old home, now in ruins. He finds her wedding rings there, and a note. "We always said if we got separated, I should come back here and wait for you. You'd show up with beer and pretzels." Etc., etc. Dwight wanders around, sad, as Sherry reads her note (FOREVER) in voiceover. Finally, he leaves but not before unpacking the beer and pretzels he'd brought with him. He leaves these on the table in case Sherry comes back.
Upon Dwight's return, Negan assembles the group in front of the furnace. Eugene watches nervously from the catwalk. In order to get Negan off Sherry's trail, Dwight has lied and said he killed her and then he frames the Saviors' doctor, hiding a piece of Sherry's note - reading "Goodbye, honey" - in the doctor's desk for Negan to find. Negan assumes that the doctor let Daryl out to please Sherry: "That is some weaselling shit, right there!" Blah blah blah. Dwight heats up the iron in the furnace and when it is glowing red, Negan holds it next to the doctor's face. The doctor wails and blubbers and confesses, saying he did it and he's sorry. Negan's all, that's all you had to say! He drops the iron, smiles at the crowd and then suddenly grabs the doctor and shoves him into the open furnace, holding him there until the man's struggles stop. Negan: "Never shoulda doubted you, Dwighty-boy. Sherry was one of my favorites. I'm sorry." Dwight: "I'm not." Negan: "Ooh! Ice-cold!" While Eugene cries, hiding his face in his hands.
The two wives come by Eugene's for the suicide pills. But he's onto them, saying he knows that the pills aren't for their friend, they're for Negan. And he won't hand them over. "You're a coward," they sneer. "That is a correct assessment," drones Eugene. Sometime later, Negan stops by, saying he's got a question for Eugene, a big one. Before he can even finish asking "Who are you?" Eugene has blurted out, "Negan! I am Negan. Utterly, completely, stone cold Negan. I'm Negan."
Through this whole episode, we think we see Dwight having a change of heart, becoming less Negan's man; we watch as Eugene unsurprisingly embraces the protection and relative luxury that Negan can offer him. The last scene, with Dwight and Eugene standing together, watching the workers in the yard, Eugene intoning "we are Negan" and Dwight just staring at him - it's not clear whether they stand together or not, whether Eugene is running a long con (I'm guessing not. He needs the security and comfort Negan can give him). We all know Eugene is a weasel but boy, I would kind of like to see Dwight come around, show a little depth.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
7 hours ago