By all signs presented so far, Eugene Porter has fully defected against Rick’s group in favor of Negan and the Saviors on The Walking Dead.
Taking a clear left turn by comparison to The Walking Dead comics, Eugene is in uncharted territories when the show returns for its eighth season in October. His betrayal of Rick Grimes has appeared to be quite severe and potentially long lasting (an offense which prompted the actor to get death threats on social media).
However, Eugene may not be entirely consumed by the dark side just yet. The man who arrived with Abraham Ford and Rosita Espinosa a few years ago is a survivor and will likely realize Negan’s way is not the way of the future. Instead, it is Rick’s, which will require some serious redemption if those bridges are going to be mended.
Here are a couple of ways Rick Grimes (and the rest of the world) might forgive Eugene…
While Rick and his group appear to have Dwight on their side, ready to betray Negan and offer intel regarding the Saviors’ plans for battle and beyond, no one is quite sure whether or not they can trust him.
If Eugene were to approach Rick, an other Alexandria, or a member of the Hilltop or Kingdom communities with information regarding Negan’s plans to attack one of their homes, they would have to listen to his words and prepare accordingly. If it turns out Eugene were telling the truth and ended up saving countless lives within the community he warned, he would quickly earn the trust of Rick, Rosita, and the rest of the gang who he clearly was ready to leave behind in the Season 7 finale.
Perhaps the death of Sasha might be enough to start sending him in Rick’s direction.
Kill A Savior
The Saviors have a few high ranking members which are very valuable to Negan’s community and army. People like Dwight, Simon, and Gavin play vital roles in keeping the Sanctuary and Saviors running smoothly.
If Eugene is given an opportunity to kill one of the high ranking Saviors (or any, for that matter), especially in a moment which would be protecting the people he originally cared about, the group would welcome him back with open arms. Rosita would probably have to pout about it for a little while first but if its her life he is saving, she can’t hold too much of a grudge against the mullet man who was simply trying to survive by saying, “I’m Negan.”
With Simon being a character invented for strictly for television, his future is anybody’s guess. Could Eugene be the one to take him out in a redemption-seeking effort?
Eugene may not take any action towards redemption in the eyes of Rick or the audience. He may, however, stay out of the fights and refrain from killing any members of the group he was once a part of.
In the battle at Alexandria in the Season 7 finale, Eugene did not kill a single member of the Alexandria group or the Hilltop or Kingdom communities. This might be because he was cowering in terror at the sound of gunshots and thought of battle but if he so much as pointed a gun in the direction of one of the good guys, his fate would be sealed. The character would never be allowed back in the Alexandria Safe-Zone and would be listed as a target. Instead, the group will try to avoid him if they make a move on the Sanctuary.
For now, Eugene is simply surviving. If he survives at no expense to Alexandria, he might be forgiven, in the end.