Another week, another episode of The Walking Dead. Following Rick, Carl, and Michonne, they confront their inner demons together while also defending themselves against an outside threat. Tara and Glenn also have to deal with their new surroundings and what it might mean for their futures. As always, there are spoilers ahead, so this is your warning!
Spoiler-Free Recap, “Claimed” – C+
Following Rick, Carl, and Michonne, they confront their inner demons together while also defending themselves against an outside threat. Tara and Glenn also have to deal with their new surroundings and what it might mean for their futures.
After leaving the group on their own for so long, The Walking Dead introduces new people to our intrepid survivors, forcing them to confront their most dangerous enemy: other human beings. Michonne and Carl get some serious bonding time in as they go foraging around the neighborhood while Rick continues to recuperate. It added a nice bit of levity and lightness to the beginning of the episode, something the show sorely needs. Carl and Michonne clearly have a bond, and he brings out some of the best in her. When she sees him mourn briefly over the loss of Judith, Michonne reaches out and reveals her own secret grief. Together, they explore that fresh anguish, helping each other heal in some small way from the losses they’ve suffered.
In Glenn and Tara’s case, they come across a creepy “doctor,” an ex-military guy, and a wanna be Lara Croft who are on a mission to D.C. in order to “save the world.” Fans of the comic will be familiar with Abraham Ford and his posse, but considering how much the show has deviated from the comics already, there’s probably very little in his storyline that will follow from the source material. For whatever reason, they believe that Dr. Eugene knows why the walkers happened, though it seems to me that he’s a slightly cracked weirdo who has other plans we’re not aware of yet.
I didn’t find the scenes with Ford et al particularly engaging, and I kept wanting things to swing back around to Rick, Carl, and Michonne. This lackluster aspect of the episode probably just stems from the introduction of new characters and the requisite backstory and exposition that they always bring, but it still seriously dragged the episode down. Watching Ford and Glenn argue about going to D.C. was not particularly interesting, and it’s not at all surprising or unexpected that Glenn wins out in the end. If he abandoned his search for Maggie, no doubt viewers would abandon the show just as quickly.
The truly nerve-wracking part of the episode, however, was Rick becoming trapped in the house with hostile strangers. Without even seeing the men’s faces, there’s no question that they’re extremely dangerous and wouldn’t hesitate to kill him on sight. Like Rick, the audience doesn’t get a good look at the intruders, and we’re also in the dark as to how many men there are. It lends a greater air of danger to Rick’s predicament as he carefully navigates around them within the house, trying to escape before Michonne and Carl return. In the end, though, he’s saved by a fortuitous attack by a walker, but after building up the anticipation of a confrontation between him and the other men, it sort of seems like a cop out.
Despite the touching scenes with Carl and Michonne, and the tension of watching Rick try to remain hidden, “Claimed” lacked a vital driving force. Since it mainly served to introduce Ford and the gang, as well as drive Rick and Co. out of the seemingly secure suburbs, it felt like it dragged along too much, leaving me with the feeling that nothing of import happened. All that we’re left with is the build up to something else as Rick, Carl, and Michonne go in search of the sanctuary alluded to on the side of a train car.
Do you guys think that there really is a safe place somewhere down the train tracks? Will everyone else regroup and find each other? Tell us what you thought!
“Claimed” – C+
The Walking Dead: Season 4 Episode 11, “Claimed” aired February 23rd, 2014 on AMC.