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'The Walking Dead's' stunning revelation

By Henry Hanks, CNN
updated 5:24 PM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 'The Walking Dead's' biggest mystery: Does Eugene hold the key to curing the "walker virus"?
  • Eugene (played by Josh McDermitt) had a big episode Sunday night
  • McDermitt describes what's up with his character as well as his infamous mullet

Editor's note: Warning: Do not read any further if you're not up to speed on "The Walking Dead."

(CNN) -- Ever since we saw him pop up on "The Walking Dead" last season, we've been wondering: Does Eugene really have the cure for the show's "walker virus"?

Sunday night's episode gave us a definitive answer to this burning question: Eugene is a fraud; he's not a scientist and doesn't actually know how to cure the plague.

We spoke to Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene, about his time on "The Walking Dead" and what might be next for the character (that is, assuming he's OK after being beaten up by Michael Cudlitz's Abraham).

Also, we talked mullets:

CNN: Were you surprised at the truth about Eugene, or were you told ahead of time?

Josh McDermitt: When I booked the role, I knew that Eugene wasn't a scientist, but I didn't know it was gonna come this season.

When I sat down with (executive producer) Scott Gimple at the start of the season, we started to detail everything in vague terms about what's gonna happen for the character and the season. He said, "In episode five, we'll find out he's not a scientist."

I was like, wow, I didn't expect it to come that quick. I thought it would play out over the season. For it to happen that quickly, it will be fun to see where Eugene heads next -- if he's alive!

CNN: What do you think of Eugene's true motivation?

McDermitt: I think we'd all be scared in this apocalypse. Some people have the strength and agility to rise to the top, and then there's people like Eugene who have to improvise and figure out a different way to survive.

Abraham says it's to the point where everyone still alive is really strong, and either they help you or you kill them.

Eugene looks at himself as not having anything to offer to the group. It's a scary place. I will defend the guy in terms of wanting to survive. I don't know if I would lie like that, but I'm just happy I didn't get Daryl killed or anything -- then everyone would hate Eugene for sure. Now they're just upset the hope is gone.

CNN: What can you tell us about his current relationship with Abraham after this huge fight?

McDermitt: It's not just that, it's the relationship he has with Rosita and Tara. He and Tara feel like outsiders, and she's trying to work her way back into the group.

I think that's where Eugene will want to go: "How do I get back into this group? How do I patch up the damage I've done and figure out where my place is in this group?"

There's a little bit of hope for Eugene, but at this point he's a broken man, starting over.

CNN: How much did you know about "The Walking Dead" going in?

McDermitt: I knew the comic but hadn't read it. Once I found out who it was I was playing, I went back and quickly caught up. It was very informative to see the choices (creator Robert) Kirkman made that they didn't necessarily go with (on) the show. I was able to bring some of that from the comics into the character and that brings something to what we're doing. I had to put it down for a while, because I was afraid I would influence it too much. I was a giant fan of the show and didn't want to be the one that ruined it. (laughs)

CNN: So we have to ask: How do you like having a mullet?

McDermitt: In the audition they're very secretive; they won't tell you the character name. The character they had me reading had a mohawk. I got so excited that I might have a mohawk. Then when I found out it was a mullet, I was like this is the only haircut I could get better. To be able to go on TV and be instantly recognizable as this guy representing so many lost souls in our country. I don't think we've had a good mullet on TV since Uncle Jesse from "Full House," so I'm glad to bring it back.

CNN: What is next for Abraham's army?

McDermitt: At this moment, they're still together. We're not gonna flash-forward six months or anything. We'll see how the damage is repaired, and it's not pretty, I'll tell you that.

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