**Major spoilers ahead. This week’s episode will change the course of the story. If you don’t want to know why do not read any further. Get out. Go. This was a game-changer. **
The Walking Dead continues to drop bombs on fans with this week’s episode “Self Help”. Last week fans got to see what happened to Beth and that Carol had been brought into the hospital. This week the show followed what happened when Abraham, Rosita, Glenn, Maggie, Tara and Eugene split off from the group at the church and continued to head towards DC. The episode also tells more of Abraham’s backstory, which hasn’t been shown before.
In the opening scenes Abraham is seen beating a man to death with a dented can. It’s obvious from the scene that he has killed other men as well. He goes to find a terrified looking woman and two kids. The woman’s name is Ellen and it appears that she is Abraham’s wife. The flashback ends and shifts back to present day where Abraham is driving. Later on through flashbacks the audience sees that his wife and kids left while he was sleeping, leaving a note saying that he was not to try and find them. He runs outside and finds their bodies, eaten by walkers. Abraham is devastated and starts to lose it.
During the early scenes back with the group there are some good one-liners as Maggie and Glenn question Eugene about what will happen when he gets to D.C. and why he has a mullet. Maggie is feeling guilty about leaving the group at the church and it seems like she wants to go back, but they made a promise to Abraham and are going to keep it. Not far into the episode things take a turn, literally. The bus starts emitting smoke and the smoke obscures an overturned vehicle in the road. Abraham swerves to miss the vehicle and loses control of the bus, which crashes. The engine starts to smoke and everyone has to crawl, dazed and bruised, out of the bus which is immediately surrounded by walkers. They fight their way out and try to regroup. Eugene assists in his first kill after Tara tells him that it’s time for him to step up.
They briefly discuss going back because they are not very far from the church. Abraham says no and insists they can’t go back and won’t go back. They will only move forward with the mission, which is getting Eugene to D.C. The group takes refuge in a book store that has been pretty much left untouched.
Abraham is acting a little erratic and it’s clear that he is struggling with something. But the others assume it’s the crash and the loss of their transportation that is upsetting him. They use bookshelves to create a safe space inside the store that can’t be seen by the walkers outside. They light a small fire using the books as fuel. In a creepy moment while Abraham and Rosita are having sex Abraham looks over and sees Eugene watching them. They are in the “Self Help” section of the store. Tara comes by to pull Eugene away from watching Rosita and Abraham. Eugene makes some pretty flimsy excuses for why he is watching them and Tara has a few choice words for him, which were pretty funny.
While Tara and Eugene are talking he reveals to her that he was the one who caused the bus crash. He put shattered glass into the fuel pump of the church bus to disable it. Tara was angry and confused but told Eugene that she wouldn’t tell the others if he didn’t do anything like that again.
The next day despite everyone wanting to wait a day to get back on the road Abraham declares they are leaving. He has spotted a fire truck outside that seems operational. It’s gory, covered in blood and remains, but it’s a solid vehicle that will get them through hordes of walkers without a problem. If they can get it started. The engine intake is covered in guts so even though the vehicle starts it won’t move forward. As they are trying to figure out what to do to fix it a horde of walkers emerges from the firehouse. The group starts killing them, when out of nowhere Eugene saves the day. He had climbed up on top of the truck during the fighting and he figured out how to get the fire hose working. Luckily the tank was full, and he was able to stop the horde that was threatening to overpower the group by using the hose on them full force and knocking them back enough that the group members could kill them. After they were dead Abraham cleaned the intake and the group got on the road.
The Game Changer
After a few miles on the road they stopped and Glenn pointed out the terrible smell wafting towards them. When they investigated they could see what looked like thousands of walkers up ahead. Glenn wanted to go back a few miles and find a new road through. Maggie and Rosita agree but Abraham was being completely irrational and insisted they were going through the walkers and they were going to get Eugene to Washington. They were screaming and Glenn and Abraham were about to get into another physical brawl because Abraham went after Glenn for insisting they go back and find a new route. Just as the fight between Glenn and Abraham was about to start getting bad Eugene stepped in and changed everything.
Eugene told them that he is not a scientist and doesn’t have a cure for the world. He tells all of them that he is smarter than them, although not a scientist. He knew that he didn’t have the physical toughness necessary to stay alive in the post-apocalypse world so he made up the lie about going to Washington so that Abraham would protect him. He reasoned that Washington was still the best place to go because if there were any answers about what had happened or a possible cure they would be in Washington, along with whatever was left of civilization.
Abraham Falls Apart
The mission that Abraham has been working for was all a lie. Abraham loses it. He beats Abraham unconscious and collapses in the road, lost and dazed. In a flashback sequence it’s revealed that after Abraham finds the bodies of his wife and his children he puts his gun in his mouth and is about to pull the trigger when he sees Eugene, calling out for help. Eugene, barely faster than the walkers chasing him, hides behind Abraham who kills the three walkers chasing Eugene. Abraham stalks off, not wanting to chat, but Eugene goes after him. That’s how Abraham met Eugene and that’s when he first told the lie that he was a scientist who could cure the pandemic. The mission of getting Eugene to Washington was exactly what Abraham needed to save his life. He was able to focus on the mission and not deal with his grief. Getting Eugene to Washington because his purpose in life, but it was all a lie.
Will the Group Get Back Together?
Lots of questions were raised in this episode. Next episode will focus on Daryl and Carol who went after the car that took Beth. Fans will probably find out who was in the bushes with Daryl and what happened to Carol leading up to the mid-season finale which is in just three weeks. So It may be a couple weeks until fans find out if Eugene and the group will return to the church, and if Eugene will even be allowed to stay in the group. But no matter what happens the entire course of the show is changed as a result of Eugene’s lie and whatever comes next will take the story in a new direction.