Who are the The Walking Dead‘s white-armored soldiers attacking Eugene in the season 10 finale? The Walking Dead was among the many TV show and movie productions halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, forced to delay the final episode of season 10 from April to October. “A Certain Doom” has now aired, and while the hastily-covered cracks were certainly visible, the finale served as an effective, dramatic conclusion to the Whisperer War arc. Lydia was able to use her Whisperer experience to lead the zombie horde over a cliff-edge, and thanks to the timely intervention of Maggie, the remaining Whisperers were picked off while Daryl and Negan handled Beta.
But as one Walking Dead arc ends, another begins. The B-plot of “A Certain Doom” continued the journey of Eugene, Yumiko, Ezekiel and Princess as they look to rendezvous with Eugene’s post-apocalyptic girlfriend. Eugene previously constructed a radio system to ease communication between Alexandria, Hilltop, the Kingdom and Oceanside, and was able to boost the signal by setting up a relay. Unfortunately, this incursion into unknown land accidentally triggered the arrival of the Whisperers. Regardless, Eugene’s science project bore fruit, and he finally made contact with the mysterious Stephanie. Although she refused to reveal any significant details about her community, Stephanie sparked immediately with the unlucky-in-love Eugene, and a meeting was arranged.
Eugene arrived fashionably late to the designated location, and was despondent when it seemed that Stephanie’s people had already left. But just as Eugene turned his attention towards other potential lovers “out there” in the wilderness, floodlights bathed the train yard in bright beams and armed soldiers in white armor rushed the group aggressively, demanding they disarm and thrusting their guns into frightened, startled faces. Who are these striking new soldiers in The Walking Dead?
Eugene Has Encountered The Commonwealth – Who Are They?
As readers of Robert Kirkman’s original The Walking Dead comic books will know, the soldiers apprehending Eugene’s group in the season 10 finale belong to the Commonwealth, the largest group to appear in the entire history of the main Walking Dead series. The soldiers in white are the Commonwealth’s militarized police force, and their armor and weapons give some idea of this new community’s extensive resources. The matching white and red body armor is a stark contrast to the rudimentary metal plates of Hilltop and the Kingdom, while the soldiers’ assault rifles (helpfully fitted for bayonets for silent zombie killing) represent a huge upgrade on Alexandria’s scavenged mix-and-match arsenal of guns. The Commonwealth’s ability to install floodlights using a portable power source also reveals the extent of their technology and how much further towards civilization they’ve developed compared to Alexandria.
The Commonwealth’s brief introduction is entirely faithful to the Walking Dead comic books, from their pristine outfits to the aggressive hello. In Kirkman’s story, the Commonwealth is a thriving, bustling community spread across a vast area and encompassing approximately 50,000 citizens. Aside from their military police, the people of the Commonwealth enjoy a host of conveniences from the old world, including shops and cafes, sports arenas, concerts and a full judicial system. At the top of the tree sits a governor who rules over the entire Commonwealth.
How Stephanie Relates To The Commonwealth
After arriving at the train yard, Eugene was expecting to find Stephanie and a few of her companions. Instead, he gets a heavily armed soldier pointing a gun in his face. Given The Walking Dead‘s track record, it’s natural to assume that Stephanie has betrayed Eugene and exploited his barren love life to set up a trap. The confrontational manner in which the Commonwealth introduce themselves certainly suggests they didn’t come to make friends.
In the comics, however, The Walking Dead‘s Commonwealth debut is more a “shock and awe” tactic to establish dominance. Although Eugene is Alexandria’s resident DJ, the Commonwealth employs a team of workers to man their radio systems and reach out to other communities. One of these workers is Stephanie. During their remote conversations, Eugene interpreted Stephanie’s reticence as an abundance of caution – not wanting to divulge too much in case she was talking to someone untrustworthy. This assumption was some way off, as Stephanie’s reluctance is due to her breach of Commonwealth protocol. After making contact with another community, Stephanie was supposed to report to her superiors, not start flirting with the man on the other end of the line. Naturally, the Commonwealth are less than pleased to discover one of their radio grunts has set up a meeting with an unknown community.
The Walking Dead season 10’s faithful Commonwealth intro suggests Stephanie’s backstory will remain the same. The soldiers approach Eugene with such gusto because this meeting hasn’t gone through their official channels, and the quartet from Alexandria need to be thoroughly checked and vetted before their relationship with the Commonwealth goes any further. Stephanie has had no say in the attack, and likely isn’t even present at the train yard.
The Commonwealth Isn’t The Civic Republic (But Is It Maggie’s Community?)
In the Walking Dead comic book series, the Commonwealth are the only group of their kind, and a complete departure from every other community that comes before. The same can’t be said for AMC’s live-action The Walking Dead franchise. In season 9, The Walking Dead introduced a mysterious new community piloting helicopters through the zombie apocalypse. Via Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond, this group has been revealed as the Civic Republic – an alliance of three massive communities working to find a cure in absolute secrecy. The Republic’s influence is underpinned by their military arm, the CRM, who wear black body armor and wield assault rifles fitted with retractable bayonets. For viewers unfamiliar with the comics, it’s easy to mistake the Civic Republic and the Commonwealth as the same group, especially since the latter were once thought to be behind the helicopters. As the present time, there’s no indication of any connection between the two powerful communities.
However, it’s possible that the Commonwealth was where Maggie stayed throughout The Walking Dead seasons 9 and 10, with Georgie taking the place of Pamela Milton as the community’s governor. The masked warrior helping Maggie fight the Whisperers could potentially be Mercer, the commander of the Commonwealth’s military. If Maggie had existing connections to the Commonwealth, their reaction to Eugene surely wouldn’t have been so intimidating, which implies Georgie’s community is an entirely separate entity. But with strong similarities between Georgie/Pamela and the masked warrior/Mercer, would The Walking Dead introduce two comparable communities in its final season?
Is The Commonwealth Good Or Evil?
The Walking Dead‘s season 10 finale doesn’t exactly show the Commonwealth in a welcoming light, and the Whisperers’ defeat paves the way for a new villain, strongly suggesting the Commonwealth will be bad guys in The Walking Dead season 11. While it’s possible that the AMC series will deviate from the comics and make the Commonwealth outwardly evil, the group operate within a morally gray area in the comic books.
After a brash first impression, the Commonwealth’s representatives are more welcoming towards Eugene and his friends once their intentions are established as genuine. Compared to the Sanctuary or Woodbury, the Commonwealth is a bona fide utopia. The group don’t attack other communities for supplies, nor do they kill their own people for dissension. Most residents of the Commonwealth exist happily, safely and without fear, not forced to worry about food, shelter or marauding undead creeping up from behind. Inevitably, however, the Commonwealth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, otherwise The Walking Dead‘s final season would be rather dull.
While the Commonwealth lack Negan’s murderous swagger or the Governor’s sinister manipulation, the Commonwealth is rife with inequality. The vision of Rick Grimes was to build a democratic society where citizens were treated equally, but the Commonwealth harbors a chasm between social classes, and this doesn’t necessarily sit well with Eugene. In past seasons, The Walking Dead villains have been morally clear-cut, but the Commonwealth will force viewers to reassess their perspective on right and wrong in the zombie apocalypse.