Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Eugene Porter in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 11: Claimed

Mullet man is here! We only got a brief glimpse of Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), his radio and his amazing hair at the end of The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 10, but his achy breaky heart is featured in one of AMC’s promo photos for the Sunday, February 23, Episode 11, “Claimed.”  

Eugene is an important character. He is the mission, as Michael Cudlitz (Sgt. Abraham Ford) put it. Eugene, Abraham and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) are on their way to Washington, D.C., and Abraham’s mission is to protect Eugene at all costs. Why?

In the comic books, Eugene told Abraham’s group he was one of ten scientists working for the government on a special weapons project when the zombie plague hit; he said he knew the origins of the apocalypse and needed to connect with surviving government and military people to share his classified knowledge. So it’s a major meaning of life mission, and Abraham took it so seriously he even killed three members of their past group when they tried to leave with food and supplies.

Here’s the problem: In the comics, after Rick Grimes’s (Andrew Lincoln) group joins the mission and the survivors live through an attack from a cannibal group called The Hunters, Rick tries to use the radio Eugene has been carrying around. Eugene tries to stop him but the radio breaks and there’s a battery missing. Eventually Eugene’s lies unravel, Abraham gives him a beatdown, and it’s revealed that our mullet lover was only a high school science teacher. He never had answers on how the outbreak started.

It sucked big time, especially since they had already made it to the Washington, D.C. area. The good news is, a guy named Aaron found them and he was a recruiter for the Alexandria Safe-Zone. There’s a character named Gareth coming in the second half of Season 4, and we’ve been wondering if he’s bad news — like Chris in The Hunters — but he could be a good guy, possibly even some version of Aaron to welcome our group to the Safe-Zone in Alexandria, VA.

If any of that happens, it’s a bit down the road, but Michael Cudlitz previewed it in a Q&A with TV Guide after Episode 10. They noted how, in the books, Eugene teamed with Abraham under false pretenses; would that storyline be similar on TV?

“Yeah, there are a lot of similar elements,” Michael said. “A lot of it is going to feel very familiar. But you have to remember, a lot of these characters that they interacted with in the comics are no longer with us. So some situations just could never happen because those people are no longer here. I will say that it's going to feel very familiar and there's a push from [showrunner Scott Gimple’s] side to really pay homage to the comic and not get so far off track or so diluted that if you're a fan of one, you wouldn't recognize the other.”

There will be surprises in store for everyone, since characters like Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) were already dead at this point in the comics, and people like Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Beth Greene (Emily Kinney), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Bob Stookey (Larry Gilliard Jr.), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and the young girls either didn’t exist at all or didn’t exist as they do on TV. Plus, Dale and Andrea were still alive at this point and interacting with Abraham. That’s not gonna happen on TV.

We still have no idea how they are going to bring the existing groups together on TV. Scott Gimple said we’d get deeper into Abraham and Eugene’s stories next season, so we know they are sticking around, but where will we be at the end of Season 4?  Will all of the loose strands tie together in the finale, “A”? Will the mission still be in play or will there be a new mission at that point?

The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

Source: TV Guide