- Jace Downs/AMC
- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead” season 10, episode six, “Bonds.”
- Eugene gets in contact with a mystery woman while tinkering with his radio at the Hilltop on Sunday’s episode.
- Josh McDermitt tells Insider that’s the voice of Margot Bingham (“Boardwalk Empire”).
- He’s not 100% certain whether or not that’s the same voice we heard in the season nine finale.
- Eugene’s happy to have someone to speak with after getting shot down by Rosita.
- “This is a guy who is not in a good place emotionally. He feels depressed. He feels left out,” said McDermitt.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Eugene finally makes contact with someone else on Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead” thanks to his new high-frequency radio.
Is the mystery woman the same person we heard on the season nine finale? Not even star Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene on the show, is certain.
“I think when that mystery radio person came on at the end of season nine, in my mind I went… that’s the person who he’s going to talk to on the radio,” Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene on “TWD,” tells Insider. “But that was never clear to me by [showrunner] Angela [Kang] and the writers.”
“Maybe it is, and they just didn’t want to assume I was an idiot and couldn’t put that together myself. Or it might be something else. I can’t say with 100% certainty,” he added.
McDermitt tells us exactly who voices the mystery radio voice from Sunday’s episode, whether or not it was a good idea to give her his full name, how lonely Eugene is after being rejected by Rosita, and how he wants nothing to do with the Whisperers.
McDermitt’s reaction to finding out about the mystery woman on the radio and what it means for Eugene’s character, who has been awfully lonely in the zombie apocalypse.
Kirsten Acuna: Something exciting happened on Sunday’s episode. Eugene made contact with someone else on the radio!
Josh McDermitt: He did. Acuna: What was your reaction when reading that in the script? McDermitt: I’m excited. This is a guy who is not in a good place emotionally. He feels depressed. He feels left out. As he said in one of the previous episodes, his relationship with Rosita, he had a crushing moment of clarity when he realized that this woman that he was longing for was not going to return the favor. He was hoping to get rezoned into love town, I guess was the term. And when he realized, “Oh, this is never going to happen and I’ve been such a fool to do this,” that really threw him.
McDermitt: He’s been wanting to connect with people. You kind of felt like he had to get onto Hilltop, and hang out there. But he really wanted to, with his loneliness and everything, he just wanted to be in a relationship, and was just looking to connect with people. I think we saw that a little bit too with Nabila. She came up and he was just so excited she would even be interested in the Hilltop AV Club, as they put it. Then all of a sudden she goes, “Well, I got kids,” which was just a reminder of OK, I don’t have a family. I don’t have anyone. You have Jerry. It’s just a further reminder that he’s all alone.
To hear that voice on the radio, which he may have been looking for, looking beyond the borders of their world. Eventually [Eugene] may have been been going there, [looking for others], but I think this was just more of a product of well, Rosita is not calling me back, because he doesn’t know that she’s now in the infirmary. So this was completely unexpected.
Who voices the person we hear on the radio and are they part of the Commonwealth, like in the comics?
Acuna: Do you know who the voice actress is of the person you were speaking with? Are you allowed to say that? McDermitt: Yeah, it’s Margot Bingham. I only say that because her name was in the credits. So, if they want to get mad at me, well, then they shouldn’t put her name in the credits. Acuna: OK. I went and watched really quick and I just saw one guest starring, so I wanted to check with you. [Note: Margot’s name is near the episode’s start.] I also have to ask, we know in the comics the woman that you’re speaking with on the radio is a member of the Commonwealth community. We know the show turns the comics on its head a bunch. Who do you think the person on the radio could be?
- Image Comics/Skybound
McDermitt: Well, it’s a hard question to answer because I know who the person is, and I obviously don’t want to give away any spoilers just because, as you say, we do things differently. But I think what she represents is hope in the future, and so that’s really what’s driving this for him. I don’t think he’s necessarily caring much about her community, or the people she’s living with, and things like that. He’s really just trying to connect with another human being and taking it one step at a time, just organically getting to know someone. If you think about it, everybody has such a strong introduction on this show. Negan shows up and bashes people’s brains in. You know exactly who that guy is. With this, this is more of an organic like, “Oh, what’s your name?” It’s like a dance, and it’s kind of beautiful and small and organic. And so, things will be revealed as we continue into the season. I don’t want to say too much out of fear of giving too much away, I guess.
Is the person on the radio the same one we heard in the season nine finale? McDermitt isn’t 100% sure.
Acuna: Should we assume this is the same mystery radio person who we heard broadcast at the end of season nine? Or is this someone completely different?
McDermitt: I don’t know, because that was never brought up again. I think when that mystery radio person came on at the end of season nine, in my mind I went, because I knew where the story was going, I was like, that’s the person who he’s going to talk to on the radio. But that was never clear to me by [showrunner] Angela [Kang] and the writers. I don’t know that they were like, “Hey, just so you know,” because maybe it is, and they just didn’t want to assume I was an idiot and couldn’t put that together myself. Or it might be something else. I can’t say with 100% certainty. That’s a great question by the way. Acuna: Oh, thank you. I watched the season nine finale with the captions on. I’m pretty sure that person was looking for help. The person you’re speaking with seems pretty complacent wherever they are, to be able to talk to you for hours on the radio.
McDermitt: Yeah, I think there’s a comfort that obviously, Eugene is in the safety of his attic and this person is in the safety of wherever they are, to be able to have a conversation that long, to share those details, to say, “Well, I don’t want to talk about what’s going on now in our lives, so let’s just let this be what it is for now.” I mean, yeah, there is a comfort and a kind of a complacency, as you would say. I think that’s a great point. Yeah, I don’t know if those two voices match up.
Acuna: Yeah. I personally haven’t had time to go back and compare the two. I’m not sure that they are. [Note: I checked after our conversation and don’t believe the voices to be one and the same.]
Is it a bad idea for Eugene to tell this stranger his full name? How long were they talking for on the radio anyway? All night long, according to McDermitt.
Acuna: You mentioned that Eugene wasn’t sure if he was going to reach someone else. The first shot that we see of you in the episode, is you tinkering with this antenna. Eugene has to have some sense of how far it reaches, no?
McDermitt: Well, sure. I mean he wanted to use the parts from the Russian satellite to be able to boost their signal, but obviously, I think the first goal is to strengthen the communications between the communities. Beyond that, I definitely think he’s forward thinking, looking for ways to rebuild society as much as he can. I think he was just kind of bored when he flipped the radio frequency. It was just like, “Well, Rosita’s stood me up, so let’s just keep playing with my toy.”
Acuna: I’m going to come back to Rosita in a second. As you mentioned earlier, this is the first time that I think we’ve really seen Eugene light up in a long time, because he’s speaking with someone who seems to be really interested in him. Do you think it’s a bad idea for Eugene to just go and give this complete stranger his full name over the radio? It’s not clear how many conversations he’s had with this stranger because we see it all over the course of one episode. But is this supposed to be a few days, or is this just one long conversation he’s having with this person?
McDermitt: I think it was one long conversation, hours, overnight. It started late afternoon, early evening, and went into the morning hours. They talked about everything in the past. I do think that it’s dangerous for him to say [his name], but he even says to her that he feels like he knows her. That’s one of his strongest assets, and is kind of what kept him alive early on in the apocalypse when he was lying to everybody, is to be able to read people, and to assess them in ways that other people might not be able to and just really go with his gut. And obviously, it’s not going to be 100% accurate every time.
McDermitt: I think he felt like he knew her. They’ve been talking through the night, sharing details of their past lives, and they know a lot about each other. And yet, they also know nothing about each other because the things that he’s talking about are from before, and he’s a completely different person from before. But the fact that he wants to take it further, he needs to take that risk.
He also knows that we all need to come together as one to rebuild some version of the life that we had before. So I think he consciously asks, but she obviously doesn’t want that. In fact, she said something like, “Can’t, we just let this be what it is?” But I don’t think he wanted to accept that answer, because of the place that he was in. If he was content with still pining for Rosita or if there was another person, or if he was just kind of cool with being alone, he might not have pushed as hard. But the fact that he is in this depressed, lonely state, he just dipped his toe in the water by telling her his name. You have to wonder if she believes him, which is funny because I don’t know that I ever really thought about that part of it. It’s like, we know his name’s Eugene, but she doesn’t. She has to take him at his word.
Does Eugene make a mistake by deciding to not go back home? Where does he stand with Rosita after being rejected?
Acuna: Let’s talk about Rosita real quick, because she does ask Eugene if he plans on coming home to Alexandria, and he goes, “To be honest, I haven’t given much thought to a time table.” You said that he’s hurt. Is he just trying to avoid her a little bit? May he regret that? Because it seems like Rosita didn’t let on that there are tens of people who we find out are sick at Alexandria. And I’m not sure that Eugene would be thrilled about staying away if he knew how severe, this outbreak may be.
McDermitt: I don’t think Rosita knew how sick she was. For her it’s just like, “Well, I’m sick.” And also she has a kid, and parents get sick from their kids sometimes. I think Eugene still cares for her, but he’s also trying to figure out what the new boundaries are within this relationship, this friendship that he has with this person. If she had let on that she was worse off than she had initially thought, I think he would have dropped everything to go help out. But he’s not necessarily clear on where he stands with her. You know she says, “Oh Eugene” initially, and he’s like, “Oh were you’re expecting someone else? I’m sorry to be the one to have answered the phone,” so to speak, right? And so I think there’s just a little bit of caution there because he doesn’t quite know where he stands with her. And I think by the end of that scene where she says, “Can we talk later?” I think that’s her letting him know that like, Hey, we’re still cool. You are a really close friend to me and I’m not just going to let you disappear. I think he likes that, because ultimately, he just wants to connect with people, because for so many years, he’s been pushing people away and trying to be on his own island because he didn’t trust people to keep him alive. He’s like, “I have to lie, I got to do whatever I got to do to stay alive.” Now, he’s letting people in. So it’s nice to be reminded that this is a person that wants to be friends with him.
How does Eugene feel about the Whisperers? He’s scared of them.
- Jace Downs/AMC
Acuna: Eugene’s been tinkering with this radio, but what’s his take on the Whisperers? I feel like he’s so preoccupied with the AV club that we don’t really get a chance to see his perspective.
McDermitt: I don’t want to put a time on it because I don’t want to… I’ll get yelled at by everybody who knows more than me. But I think we’re a few months away from the heads on the pikes, which was jarring and scary, but they hadn’t really heard much from the Whisperers. And they’re still arguing over the tree. [Did it] just fall or was it just the Whisperers? And he’s just like, “Look, we can like sit here and fight and speculate and argue over this thing that nobody knows, or I can just bury myself in my work.” His work is better suited with the radio and not – even though he’s capable and can handle himself – not on the front lines, killing a bunch of walkers unless he absolutely has to. So I think he’s scared of them. I think he knows it’s a problem. But I think that’s also partially why he’s wanting to reach out and build a larger society. Or at least reach out to other communities to get more alliances, to get society back to some version of what it was, so that we’re not having people like the Whisperers running amok.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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