MANY MANY SPOILERS below, up to Season 5 Episode 5. Don’t read if you don’t know about the crazy Walking Dead Eugene news.
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Eugene — how could you?!?! I don’t read spoilers or the comic book (except when absolutely necessary, such as for my Z Nation post), so I did NOT see this one coming. All along, I was just thinking that this show is running parallel to Z Nation in a crazy way, not expecting…
First big question:
[Tweet “Why didn’t they just let Abraham beat Eugene up?! #TheWalkingDead”]
I mean, I don’t know about you, but that man deserved a beating after what he put everybody through!!! The fact that people are so quick to stop Abraham and defend Eugene kind of pissed me off. I’m not saying they should let him kill the dude or something. But come on, let him beat the guy up! I mean, how many people died for his shenanigans? Way too many.
Second question: Why is Eugene the way he is? Why is he so…strange?
A few theories are circulating, and I’d like to address each one. Aside from the obvious “I’m desperate and will do absolutely anything to survive,” something else is off about him.
[Tweet “Why is Eugene so strange? A few leading theories #TheWalkingDead”]
Theory 1: He has Asperger’s
OK, Asperger’s technically no longer exists and is now part of the higher-functioning Autism spectrum. But I grew up hearing Asperger’s as a term, and I refuse to give it up. So here it is in my blog – Eugene may have Asperger’s!
Makes sense, right? He’s super socially awkward, doesn’t understand basic social cues, but he’s also really, really smart. Case in point – he doesn’t understand the purpose of an apology. Rather than truly apologizing, he just explains the rationalization for his actions and adds: “I’m smarter than you.” OK, gee, thanks. :-/
One thing that makes his awkwardness stand out is that when he walks, he doesn’t swing his arms. I think the actor is pretty phenomenal for nailing the awkwardness of his character. The non-swinging-arms is just one facet of it. This is sometimes also a sign of someone who’s on the autism spectrum.
Personally, this is the theory that I favor the most.
Theory 2: Severe Anxiety Disorder
This theory might also account for a lot of Eugene’s awkwardness. Extreme anxiety disorder can lead to social awkwardness, especially if part of your disorder involves social anxiety. Your mind might just “freeze up” in social situations. Freezing under stress, such as not being able to stab a zombie, can be another sign. (He finally overcame it, as we saw in this scene):
Even not changing his hairstyle from that terrible mullet can be a sign of severe anxiety. The mullet, for whatever reason, has become his security blanket and he refuses to let it go.
Theory 3: He’s an NPC
This one cracks me up! The theory is that the Walking Dead creators made Eugene to just be a typical NPC in the flesh, most likely part of an escort mission. In these situations, NPCs have no combat skills and they do really stupid stuff over and over, like just walk into walls until you move them. They’re really slow and make lots of dumb detours. Not to mention the other players that might get killed off in the process! And the reward for the escort mission? Typically really small and not worth all the trouble.
Which theory do you like the best, or do you have a different theory? Leave a comment below! 🙂
[Tweet “Eugene is The Walking Dead’s version of an NPC! #TheWalkingDead”]
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Dear, if you had ASD, or understood the perspective intimately, then you’d have more empathy for Eugene. It’s wrong what he did, the lying part, but I’m afraid he knew of no other way to reach other people who do not operate in the way that he does. I’ve just finished S5/E5 and I will agree with the idea that he has ASD. And his anxiety disorder is a comorbid condition. I do like the fact that Eugene lies, because this bucks the old stereotype that people with ASD cannot lie, which if false–they are capable of constructing elaborate fantasy worlds and, unlike people with mental illness, ASD people may be aware of their fantastical constructions, but the comfort they derive in the fantasy itself trumps all logic of honesty. In other words, the ASD person (some), may rationalize the act of lying over telling the truth, because their pain is alleviated by the fantasy world they’ve constructed.