Save the Mullet: Surviving The Walking Dead, Episode 5


Sunday night’s edition of The Walking Dead opened with a minor setback, featured a whole lot of mullet talk, and ended with a major confession.

In “Self Help,” we get a flashback that explains Abraham and Eugene’s journey to D.C. It all started when Eugene stumbles upon Abe, who’s about to shoot a bullet through his mouth after the death of his family. Abraham, in turn, rescues Eugene from being chased by a walker pack, which is the perfect time for Eugene to trick him into absconding on a “very important” Human Genome Project-related “mission” to save the world.

Meanwhile, in real time, everyone in the D.C.-bound crew tries to convince Abraham to chill out and retreat from their pilgrimage. The Yosemite Sam beard can’t be stopped. “We don’t go back!” screams Abraham. “We’re not stopping!” screams Abraham. “We can get through!” And it’s always good to know someone has a cheery outlook. Here, What Would Jezebel Do?

1. Would we head back to the church after the bus crash?

YES. Why not. Abraham, Glenn, Maggie, Rosita and Tara are headed up North in the short bus they got from Pastor Gabriel. Glennie, who are starring in their own romcom, remain optimistic that Rick and the others can’t be far behind. Change of plans, though, after the bus flips over and goes up in flames.

Eugene (for some reason, wonder why) would rather return to the church, but Abraham makes them continue the trip. He’s a time bomb armed with a knife and Jesse Jackson sayings: “I am stressed and depressed to see that ride die,” says Abe.

The group ends up staying in a bookstore overnight. No porn around, unfort, so Eugene spies on Abe and Rosita screwing around. Not his first time. He tells Tara: “I enjoy the female form. I consider this a victimless crime that provides both comfort and distraction.” Hm, well, interesting. This is also where Eugene reveals that he put crushed glass from a lightbulb in the fuel line to sabotage the bus, hoping it would break down before they got too far along.

In the bookstore, post-sex, Rosita ponders to Abraham, “Maybe we always wind up stopping because we never start at a hundred percent.” DING DING! Yes, maybe that has something to do with it. I can’t help but wonder! Maggie later strongly recommends that the group stay in the bookstore for another day.

Bullheaded Abraham strongly disagrees. He wants to keep moving, so he finds and fixes up their second mode of transportation, a firetruck, and they ease on down the road.

2. Would we chop off the mullet?

Absolutely not. In the opening scene, everyone on the bus takes the opportunity to grill Eugene about the origin of his mystical mullet. Tara calls it his “source of power” (probably true) and also mentions trimming it, obvious shade. Glenn asks, “Why the hair?”

Maggie later tells Eugene on the road, “You’re not the person people think you are. If you didn’t have that mullet, you’d probably be like everybody else in Atlanta.” Just let the mullet be.

3. Would we try to make it past the herd of walkers on the path to D.C.?

No, no, no. Abraham’s insistence on carrying on the mission leads the group into a huge populace of smelly walkers. Even then, Abraham says something along the lines of, “Guys, I think we can do this…” He’s insane. Glenn says there has to be a detour. Abraham refuses and grabs Eugene, who can’t hold his secret in any longer.

He screams out that he’s kind of not really a scientist. That whole thing about saving the human race was a tiny white lie. Hehe. Everyone’s face is like, “Well, fuck.” Eugene’s been glum for the entire trip and now we know why.

He is the person who says, “Yes, I can fix that” and then Googles it. One other thing he did? Wasted a lot of good water hosing down walkers outside the bookstore.

4. How would we react to Eugene’s revelation?

Strangle him for a few seconds, maybe? The above facial expression would also do. Abraham decides on a few powerful punches instead. Either way, a stern talking-to would’ve been insufficient. Eugene’s reasoning for his fibbing is that his life depended on his ability to cure the world. Without it, he had no value, which comes back to one of the show’s themes: Who deserves to live or die?

On the Talking Dead after show, Josh McDermitt made this valid point about his character, Eugene: “You have to use your strengths to your advantage…He had to use his head.” Certainly, he would’ve been defenseless without Abraham, or he’d have to learn to fend for himself. We would’ve done the same in Eugene’s shoes if it guaranteed protection. But we’d probably let the truth slip sooner, like after a couple deaths or three.

Were they silly to believe Eugene in the first place? I’m pretty sure I could’ve cracked this case earlier on with some basic, targeted follow-up questions for him. If Abraham had taken a step back and thought logically, he might’ve saved himself a headache. His family’s death left him blinded.

We do get the sense that Eugene feels regret and guilt when he name-checks all the people who’ve died in pursuit of his false mission. Both Abraham and Eugene found salvation and survival in each other in different ways.

Only two more episodes left in 2014, and next week circles back to our beloved Carol and Daryl.

Images via AMC/screenshots

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