The Walking Dead, Self Help - review: Prepare to be hit hard with a bombshell

Warning: This review contains spoilers for viewers in the UK

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The Independent Culture

This week’s episode delivers a twist that is of great surprise to the characters, but is perhaps not quite so unexpected for fans of the series.

The clues to Eugene’s final reveal have been scattered throughout this season and this tale builds to a dizzying revelation that will alter the course of the rest of the series.

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead follows Abraham as he escorts secret-weapon-with-a-mullet Eugene to Washington D.C., where they intend to restore order to the world. Accompanied by some of the other survivors, the group are forced to improvise when their vehicle crashes. Abraham is intent on leading them on regardless of the costs, but Eugene reveals a secret that fractures the group and abruptly ends their mission.

While it’s probably the weakest episode of the season to date, ‘Self Help’ is rescued by some strong performances, in particular McDermitt’s complex, captivating turn as Eugene. He manages to be robotic, peculiar and relatable in equal measure, expressing real vulnerability in his scenes with Tara and Maggie as he comes to terms with the reality of his betrayal.


That said it should have been picked up by at least one of the characters that his ‘zombie cure’ story needed more credibility. Abraham should have at least asked for a staff ID card.  

Cudlitz’s Abraham also has a chance to shine this week. His no-nonsense style is very different to Rick’s brand of leadership without being alienating. The flashbacks to his life ‘before’ are fairly formulaic throughout. Like many of the series’ characters, he lost his family. They become compelling only at the climax of the story, as the true nature of his relationship with Eugene sheds light on why he risked everything for a shot at saving the world.

Rosita is the other standout in this instalment, a character that has remained on the margins until now. Her tryst with Abraham while Eugene looked on in the Self Help section was easily the funniest scene in the season so far.

While not as dramatically compelling as the first cluster of episodes (Maggie and Glen in particular had little to do), ‘Self Help’ succeeded at bringing some of the series’ less-recognised faces into the limelight.