“I’m not a scientist!”
Who knew that four little worlds could do so much damage? Certainly not Abraham Ford, the redheaded tank of a man who drops like a sack of bricks upon learning a horrible secret: Eugene, the mulleted geek he’s dragged from Houston to Georgia in service of a great mission to end the zombie apocalypse, can’t end the apocalypse after all.
In “Self-Help,” the fifth episode of the fifth season of The Walking Dead, Eugene finally confirms what many fans suspected (and comic book readers knew) all along. He’s not the world-saving genius he claimed to be. He’s just a very good liar with a very bad haircut. Eugene “knows things” from reading and having a superior intellect in comparison to most, but that’s the extent of his scientific knowhow; he’s not a Department of Defense veteran, he doesn’t know about any Washington, D.C. failsafes to end the apocalypse, and he certainly does not know T. Brooks Ellis.
He’s just a very good liar with a very bad haircut.
Like it or not, Eugene’s lie — that he’s a very important man with a very important mission — allowed him to survive in this world much longer than he probably would have otherwise. These are valuable survival skills that the group can put to good use, now that Eugene’s mask is off, and assuming they can forgive his lie — a tall order, to be sure.
Still, Eugene’s lie wasn’t all bad. Several people died in service of the mission (including one-legged cannibal snack Bob Stookey), but it saved at least one life. In a series of flashbacks, we see Abraham’s first contact with Eugene; the walking, talking Tennessee Top Hat begged for Abraham’s help, moments after Abraham stumbled upon the shredded remains of his own family, and just as Abraham was about to take his own life in response.
If Eugene did not show up on Abraham’s radar when he did, under the false pretenses he presented, Abraham would not be alive. Like the lie or hate it, it saved Abraham’s life.
Arguably, Eugene’s lie saved some other lives, too. Because the mission got Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene to Georgia, their group was able to save Glenn and Tara from the undead on numerous occasions in season four. Abraham’s group was able to help Rick and the gang through the Terminus crisis, all the way through savagely murdering Gareth’s gang in the church. Eugene’s lie saved at least Glenn and Tara’s lives, if not Carl and Judith and the others in Rick’s crew. And who knows how many more people it’ll save along the way?
Still, try talking that kind of sense into Abraham, absolutely gutted at Eugene’s revelation that the past year and change of their lives was built on deception. Now, Abraham faces a tough choice: kill Eugene or otherwise cut him loose, or accept what Eugene did and keep a proven liar in the group.
However Abraham cuts it, it’s a “s–t storm behind Door A and a storm of s–t behind Door B” kind of situation; he’s screwed either way.