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'The Walking Dead' - 'Claimed': Strangers And Allies, Friends And Enemies

By TK | TV Reviews | February 24, 2014 | Comments ()


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“Claimed”, the eleventh episode of Season Four of The Walking Dead is a deceptive little episode. On the surface, it felt like there was little forward motion — the main collective remains as fractured as it was last week, and the pair of groups felt like they didn’t move that much. But when you dig deeper, there are a number of critical changes that happened, and overall it was a solid transitional episode.

The most intriguing storyline is certainly that of Tara and Glenn, who fell in with a brand new group of allies. This new group — Abraham (Michael Cuditz), Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) — is taken straight from the comics and is one of the most literal visual translations we’ve seen since Michonne’s first appearance. They’re almost exactly as drawn, to the extent of almost being too comic bookish. Regardless, their opening moments with Tara (“You smiled. You were smiling”) made for a discomforting sense of anxiousness. Has she once again fallen in with psychopaths? Or are they simply men who are so joyless in this bleak new world that the pitiless work of dispatching walkers is all the happiness there is for them to find? Yet the truth — if it is indeed the truth — is something far more fascinating. For the first time since Season Two, we are once again dealing with a larger issue. What caused the outbreak? Is there a cure? Is there hope to be had at all. And while the nebbish, mulleted, useless-in-a-fight Eugene is not what one would expect from a scientist on a top secret mission, the idea is too interesting to resist.

Yet it’s never that simple, particularly in light of Glenn’s single-minded determination to find Maggie. And despite Abraham’s grim outlook and brutal honesty about what their future might be worth in this world. Glenn will not be deterred (demonstrated by another great outing by Steven Yuen). What’s equally interesting is Tara’s resilience in sticking with him, as if her guilt over the prison now drives her every step. In the end, of course, Eugene’s ineptitude forces them all back on the path that Glenn had already chosen, taking them back into the darkness they left behind.

As for Carl, Rick, and Michonne - there was less plot, but some great character work going on. There’s a genuine charm to the Carl/Michonne dynamic, and it’s part of what’s allowed Michonne’s character to become more heartfelt and human. Their banter in the opening scene is endearing and ultimately tragic, a rare moment of levity broken by the mention of Judith. And while Riggs’s frozen guppy face doesn’t quite sell the moment, Gurira’s does perfectly. Truly, this was one of Gurira’s strongest episodes, and there was a soft, subtle strength to her performance that was contrary to the overwhelming sense of raw power and fury that she usually gives off. The moment in the kitchen, where Rick still looks like hammered shit — Michonne shows an unexpected sense of leadership and geniality in how she handles him (though I can’t help but wonder why she found a fresh shirt so quickly while Rick still looked like Indiana Jones after fighting the Thuggees).

That easy rapport between her and Carl continued throughout the episode, even as Michonne took a firm hand in guiding it, gently setting rules and guidelines for him in a way so subtle that it’s almost missed. It showed, as in the kitchen scene, that MIchonne is also capable of being a relatively masterful manipulator, even as she opened up about herself as a result. As they explored the house, new sides of each of them slowly were dragged to the forefront. Finally, the episodes most chilling sequence capped it off perfectly — Michonne finding the terrifying painting, and then finding that horror show of a room, a picture of despair, a family that couldn’t go on any more. It served as a marvelous contrast to the new family slowly, tentatively being built around her, and the final minute between them was a great example of two people delicately coming to terms with their own fragility, their individual weak spots, and leaning on each other to find their strengths..

The other very effective moment of genuine tension was Rick’s eerie wakeup scene. The entire sequence of Rick in the house with the marauding interlopers was one of the more enjoyable mini-vignettes we’ve seen in a while. What followed was a nerve-wracking bit of silence and fear, as unknown aggressors invade the house and he is trapped, weak and weaponless, staggering from one predicament to another. It was a nifty bit of storytelling, one that didn’t necessarily serve a larger purpose other than to show that Rick still knows how to handle himself, but was still satisfying to watch. It didn’t have a lot of flash or gunfire or hyper violence, but was instead a stealthy, tense, gut-churning little escapade.

In the end, the only real movement was Rick, Carl, and Michonne leaving the house and setting themselves on the road to Sanctuary, and whatever that may bring. Glenn has found new comrades, however unusual and potentially unstable they may be, and he’s heading back to find Maggie. Rick and company are headed to Sanctuary, where we know that Carol, Tyreese, and the girls are going. It appears that all roads will eventually lead there, and the questions that remain are ominous ones. What is it? Will they find each other? And just how safe is it there? Just how safe is anywhere?

Oh, and let’s not forget — satellite phones, military scientists, and the answers to all their questions lie in D.C.? The next few episodes should be interesting.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • glittergirl1970

    I want to like the Carl & Michonne storyline. But it was a little too... cutesy and contrived. Sorry!!!

  • Fabius_Maximus

    You're right. Michonne's change of character was too sudden.

  • jon29

    I totally forgot that Rosita started out looking like Lara Croft. It pulled me out of the story a bit, to be honest. "A classified mission to get this scientist to Washington? Sounds great, just let me get my booty shorts."

    Anyway, couldn't be any more directly from the books, for people who care about that sort of thing.

  • mairimba

    I don't think that's the last we'll see of the gang that entered the house Rick, Carl & Michonne were staying. They're going to wonder who killed the guy in the bathroom. Plus the guy on the floor next to the bed was put in some type of sleep lock, he wasn't dead and saw Rick. So they know what the guy who killed their "friend" looks like. Also, I doubt they're going to have Jeff Kober in an episode of TWD for just 30 seconds.

  • Anyone besides me expecting Eugene to accidentally shoot someone as he fired at the walkers and the truck? I half thought he was going to put one in Tara (since she's not plot-armored).

  • SchmidtUltra

    For most of the episode, I was thinking they were just some random thugs in the house. But as a reader of the comics, POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT, since they showed Jeff Kober as the ring leader, I feel like they're introducing a bad guy that makes the governor look like Mr. Rogers.

  • TaoKeo

    Negan? Nah. Way too soon. Maybe the "hunters" from the comics?

  • The first appearance of the new trio last ep had me wondering "What's with GI Joe Barbie?". Then I remembered - oh yeah, this show is based on a comic book.

    Now every time the new crew are on the screen I can't forget the origin of the show. Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene are so cartoonishly at odds with the rest of the cast - they're clean, Rosita's got dangly jewelry for walkers to grab, Eugene has a gloriously kempt mullet - that they actually look like comic book characters come to life. Everyone else looks like refugees of a zombie apocalypse who've lived without running water for a few years.

    It rattled my immersion a bit. I understand homaging the source material, but I'm not so sure the show hasn't become its own stand-alone beast enough that it can depart a bit from the caricature visuals.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Anyone notice that when Rick ran into that guy in the bathroom he was sitting on a closed toilet seat with his pants pulled up? Kind of an odd place to pick to relax.

  • His boots were off, so maybe he was sitting down to tend to blisters?

    Whyever it happened, I, for one, could not be more grateful. If anybody in that show is going to have a pantsless deathmatch a la Eastern Promises, it had better be Daryl.

  • kirbyjay

    Would be kind of difficult to have a fight to the death scene with your pants around your ankles and your pills hanging out.
    A question though. Is this the last season or is there more?

  • Bert_McGurt

    Oh, undoubtedly. But then why have the scene in the bathroom in the first place?

    I think there's at least another season, maybe two.

  • Christopher Schera

    I liked the set-up from a few episodes ago of Carl expending all his bullets so Rick had to give him his gun this episode. Made Rick vulnerable in the house. (As soon as he handed Carl the gun I knew *something* would happen, just not what). I think the sequence in the house was important for Rick to remember how he can do things right and survive.

  • Shippy

    Pretty sure the guy on the deck was Jeff Kober. No way they'd hire him as a one-off. I'm guessing his people will be causing issues soon.
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm046...

  • Laura

    Yeah, I'm assuming we haven't seen the last of those assholes.

  • mairimba

    Ah! Should've scrolled down before posting. But yeah. Those guys are going to look for Rick & Co.

  • How excited am I about that? SO EXCITED. Jeff Kober is one of my favorite TV That Guys.

  • Shippy

    I understand Abraham's a big dude, but just like Rick's revolver, that damn hand cannon boggles the mind.

  • SeattleIsInfected

    Definitely much better than the last two. I was excited to see that we'll get some daryl time next week, but annoyed that they're continuing with the Beth narrations. Something about her over-the-top southern accent and high pitched voice just annoys me.

  • ed newman

    I don't like the voice overs either, but her accent is not over the top for rural Georgia.

  • Just glad to have the Cudlitz back on my tv. I miss Southland.

  • Guest

    Second, but Cudlitz deserves so much better.

  • PDamian

    I gave up on the show about two episodes into the third season -- and now I see Cudlitz has been added to the cast. Dammit, now I have to watch seasons 3 and 4 to catch up, just so I can see Cudlitz in all his glory. I've had a massive crush on the man since Band of Brothers.

  • So much better than the past two episodes. Rick's plight actually had my heart pounding.

    Loved Carl and Michonne's easy rapport. Still don't love Glenn. Party on Wayne.

  • aroorda

    Don't know if this is appropriate or not, but all this episode made me realize is that this will never enter the realms of a "top drama." Its just so far removed from Breaking Bad or True Detective or Mad Men. Giving it to the end of the season but then I quit. "He knows why this all happened" was "gasp-worthy" but to follow up with "it's classified" reeks of lazy writing. Ready to give up on this show.

  • Shippy

    you have to stick with it, the turn is pretty good.

  • Eugene's mullet.

  • Three_nineteen

    "It's classified."

    I hate him already.

  • Maydays

    I'm realizing I might be the only one who figured the "save the world" setup was complete delusion from mulleted nutballs. I didn't entertain it as a plot possibility for a second. I feel like I didn't get to participate in the jaw-drop moment of the episode!

  • SeattleIsInfected

    No, I was there with you. When they said they knew the cure, i just glanced up from my work and said 'pfft. yeah, whatever.'

  • lingli

    Actually, for me it was the bit where they said, "They know the cause of all this" and I was like, "Yeah, that's going to be a lot of help now, isn't it?" Also when Eugene said to Abraham (?) "I'm smarter than you"and I thought, "Not on the evidence so far..."

  • John G.

    what is Seattle infected with?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Hipsters?

    Just guessing.

  • Three_nineteen

    The Walking Dead makes absolutely no sense, so to me, Eugene lying or telling the truth are equally plausible in context of the show. It seems less plausible that Eugene has been in a post-apocalyptic zombie world for a year and he hasn't learned to defend himself.

  • guyminuslife

    "It's classified," means either, "I don't actually know anything, I'm just saying I do so that this badass military dude will protect my incompetent ass," or "I am partially responsible for this shit." If they were really all about saving the world, he'd tell everyone within earshot everything he knew...otherwise there's a high chance that the knowledge will die with him.

  • But if he doesn't tell, the better chance he has that people will work to protect him. A strong strategy, particularly if he is bluffing.

  • Guest

    Yeah, it's enough that I was really hoping he was going die right then.

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