The Walking Dead “Hostiles And Calamities” steps back in time and back to The Sanctuary. The episode focuses on Eugene, a resourceful survivalist with a penchant for tall tales, who strolls Easy Street.

At first, Eugene appears to be a sniveling wreck, but before long he leaves Negan’s interrogation with a wry smile. To reward Eugene for some half cocked solutions to walker problems that only a half-wit would appreciate, Negan sends three of his wives to Eugene’s room for some platonic company.

Eugene entertained the women with high school science experiments and video games. The women, intrigued and somewhat enamored by Eugene, entrust him with a secret.

Amber, one of Negan’s wives, cannot accept her fate. Two of Negan’s wives plead with Eugene to help Amber take her own life. The women distinguish their decision to be with Negan from Amber’s decision.

Coerced to give herself to Negan for the sake of her mother’s life, Amber relinquishes her freedom and is nothing more than Negan’s concubine.

Sherry, Dwight’s wife, shared Amber’s fate. Unlike Amber, Sherry ran. Coercion precludes consent, taking Negan’s predatory status to new grotesque heights.

Eugene agrees to help Amber. The fun part was watching Eugene flex some muscle around the Sanctuary. Determined to get the supplies he needs to complete his mission, he identifies as Negan’s chief engineer and pilfers a nasty merchant in front of a dumbfounded line.

Dwight, too, helps Sherry…in a disturbing way. Doctor Carson, in an effort to give Dwight a peace of mind, spoke callously about Sherry. Dwight, who was sent out to hunt Sherry, returns to The Sanctuary, reporting he killed her.

To keep Negan off Sherry’s tracks, and possibly his own, he frames Doctor Carson, placing Sherry’s note in the doctor’s possession. In a shocking turn of events, Negan throws Carson into the furnace. Dwight, like Eugene, dons a wry smile as Carson cooks.

Does Dwight smile because his brutal decision insured Sherry’s safety? Is he gaining confidence as he manages to fool Negan? Does his smirk indicate he will betray Negan’s confidence?

The smirking duo, Eugene and Dwight, unites at the end of the episode, Eugene stating he and Dwight are Negan. Will the two conspire to take Negan down from the inside? Are the two wolves in sheep clothing, earning Negan’s trust so they can strike?

Dwight, Eugene, and Rick’s crew aren’t the only people who want to end Negan’s evil reign. Negan’s wives tried to trick Eugene. Turns out, Amber’s suicide capsules are meant to poison Negan.

Surprisingly, Eugene refuses to give the women the deadly pills. Were the pills deadly? Did Eugene concoct nothing more than placebos?

Eugene lied his way through the entire episode. From claiming to be a government scientist to convincing Negan’s wives he can make explosives, Eugene dupes everyone in his path. Chances are, the pills he made would only make whoever took them sick.

If the women administered to them to Negan, it could blow Eugene’s cover. Is he cooking something up? Are Dwight and Eugene feeling each other out for a mutually beneficial alliance meant to bring Negan down?

How long will Eugene be able to keep up his Doctor Smartypants ruse? As the episode closes, the Saviors are executing Eugene’s plan: pour molten metal over the walkers to prevent their rotting and maintain Negan’s defense. Will the plan work? Or will the heated metal dissolve the rotting flesh?

There is clear dissension in Negan’s community. Time will tell if any of them find a way to work with Rick and his growing alliance against the depraved villain. Will Sherry find Rick and give him intel necessary for victory?

What did you think of “Hostiles And Calamities”? Does the Walking Dead still manage to surprise you, or has it grown predictable?  You can leave your questions, predictions, and insights in the comment section below.

Be sure to check the code words for tonight’s Play Dead Sweepstakes at ‘The Walking Dead’ Play Dead Sweepstakes Code Words Entry 3.