Welcome to the Commonwealth: a community unlike any seen before on The Walking Dead. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and traveling companions Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and Princess (Paola Lazaro) make the expedition to meet Stephanie, the woman whose voice comes over Eugene's long-range radio in Season 10. But their rail yard rendezvous in Charleston, West Virginia, is derailed by white-armored soldiers under the command of General Mercer (Michael James Shaw), who supervises the group's intense interview by Commonwealth Auditors Clark (Carrie Genzel) and Evans (Matthew Cornwell). By the end of "Acheron: Part 2," processing pays off when Mercer formally grants Eugene's group asylum and citizenship in the united townships of the Commonwealth.
Welcome to civilization.
"It's exciting because it's so grand, so epic, and huge. To be the one that ushers the story into this new territory is great," McDermitt told AMC.com. "It's really interesting too that everything we're doing over there, and everything we see, even initially, is so different from what we've seen on The Walking Dead up to this point. We're used to seeing everything decayed. A world where there's finite resources, and everything is in shambles. We've seen Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom fall—every community is just struggling to stay afloat."
While Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) lead a mission to Meridian to save a starving Alexandria, making them the prey of the human-hunting Reapers, Eugene's group "basically walk into this hurricane of a community" when they're welcomed inside the walls of the Commonwealth.
"They're so organized. They're so put together," McDermitt said of the advanced community home to some 50,000 survivors. "Even looking at Eugene's interrogation—the two people interrogating him are in nice suits! This is weird, in a great way. It's off-putting, and it makes our characters feel different, so it's fun to be the one helping to usher in that storyline. I really can't wait for the fans to see the rest of what we have in store over there, just because it's so different and it's not all about 'well, I have to build a campfire now.'"
McDermitt recalls Season 5 of The Walking Dead, where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) leads a group of road-weary and starving survivors to the Alexandria Safe-Zone. According to the Eugene actor, arriving at the Commonwealth is like that — "but times a million."
"Back in Season 5 when we first got to Alexandria, we saw how being on the road for so long had really messed up the survivors. To come into [Alexandria] where they have running water, solar power, and all these luxuries that our survivors didn't have—the Commonwealth is like that, but times a million," he said. "So it's exciting to be a part of that. I do think that psychologically it's going to mess with us, because again Eugene helped reset Alexandria. They had baked bread! But it's still nothing compared to what they're about to experience in the Commonwealth."
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Walking Dead Season 11 airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.