“Claimed,” the third episode in the second half of The Walking Dead’s fourth season, was another episode in the series that didn’t accomplish a lot, but which wasn’t without a few notable scenes. Things seem to be inching along slowly. Where they’re headed, I’m not sure yet, but hopefully we’ll get some kind of clearer picture by the end of the season.
Of the four groups that the remaining survivors from the prison are broken up into, “Claimed” devoted its energy to only two of them: Rick, Carl, and Michonne, in addition to Glenn and Tara. However, Rick essentially got a storyline all to himself this week when Carl and Michonne went out to venture for food, so I’ll start with him.
Asleep on one of the beds in the suburban home they’ve been camping out in, Rick awakens to noises of men entering the house downstairs. It sounds like something violent is happening. He hides under the bed, and ends up having to get comfortable when one of the men comes upstairs for a lie down. In what I thought was a noticeable detail, and yet one subtle enough because it was never acknowledged, Rick is accompanied under the bed by a cockroach lying on its back, squirming, illustrating Rick’s own situation. Eventually, another one of the men comes upstairs, decides he wants the bed, and kills the first guy who claimed it. Personally, I thought this was as a little silly; I didn’t mind the shot where the first man sees Rick under the bed as he’s dying on the ground (despite the fact that it wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before), but what did strike me was the fact that the man lost his life over a bed in the first place. I mean, I get that these guys are supposed to be a ruthless band of roving killers or whatever, but it seemed like they just killed someone when they got to the house, and now they’re murdering each other over sleeping arrangements? I would think even scary, post-apocalyptic gangs would realize there’s at least some strength in numbers (a point which actually gets brought up elsewhere in the episode). Anyway, eventually Rick is able to slip out of the house from the roof, although not before killing one of the men in a bathroom. As he hides out by the porch, he sees Carl and Michonne returning. Luckily, another scuffle erupts inside, and he’s able to catch them before they get trapped in the ensuing violence.
While Rick was contending with all of this bloodshed, Carl and Michonne’s storyline featured a lot less action, although it wasn’t necessarily any less affecting. Once again, Carl did some truly bad acting while mourning the loss of his baby sister throughout the episode. Michonne is able to take his mind off Judith for a little bit by telling him about her own son, Andre, who we first got a glimpse of in a dream sequence two weeks ago. But Michonne and Carl’s bonding time wasn’t necessarily as compelling as what Michonne found on her own while scavenging for food. At first, she sees a disturbing painting of a young girl, which looks like it has been defaced with blood, perhaps intentionally, perhaps unintentionally. Then she finds the bodies of a family, all huddled together in what appears to be a child’s room; two kids on one bed, two adults on another, one more in a rocking chair with the back of their head blown out. It appears they elected to die together, rather than having the world tear them apart. Michonne keeps Carl away from this grisly sight, although he suspects that something is up. This scene wasn’t necessarily anything new for The Walking Dead, or anything particularly disturbing in the long run. Still though, in an episode which devoted part of its energy to the topic of families being destroyed, it was a powerful image.
At the end of the episode, Rick, Carl, and Michonne arrive at the the train tracks, where they find the sign reading, “Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive survive,” pointing them in the direction of the mysterious Terminus. I hope that they get there sooner rather than later, although that seems unlikely.
The rest of the episode found Glenn and Tara on their way to Washington D.C. with the three new people we met at the end of last week’s episode. That is, until Glenn wakes up and demands they let him off so he can go back and look for Maggie. This doesn’t sit too well with their new friends, who claim the reason they are headed to Washington is because one of them is a scientist who knows what caused the virus that created the walkers, and that he might even save the world. They tell Glenn that they need him and all the manpower they can get if they’re going to get there safely. Glenn acts like a baby about this, although you can’t necessarily blame him for not trusting his new friends after all he’s been though. And even beside that, as far as individuals who look like they’re on their way to rescue mankind go, these guys probably aren’t what you’d expect. Their names are Sgt. Abraham Ford, a.k.a. the redhead with the walrus mustache, Dr. Eugene Porter, a.k.a. the chubby guy with the mullet, and Rosita Espinosa, a.k.a. the sexy army baby. I’ve said it before, but these three look more like they’re cosplaying the apocalypse than actually living through it (Rosa’s outfit in particular is ridiculous; seriously, whoever designed that costume should be fired).
Things eventually come to a head between Abraham and Glenn, and they end up in a fist fight. While this is happening, a bumbling Dr. Porter spots some walkers coming toward them. He tries to shoot their zombie attackers, but he ends up hitting the car in the process. Although they are eventually able to dispose of the walkers, our merry band of misfits now have no vehicle. This doesn’t matter to Glenn, however, who is still set on walking back to look for Maggie. For some reason, Rosita and Dr. Porter decide this is a good idea too (Porter’s justification to Abraham: “I’m smarter than you”). So, changing their minds absurdly quickly, our three new heroes join two of our old ones as they walk back down the way they just came.
Despite this somewhat preposterous turn of events, I am intrigued by this storyline. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the aforementioned Terminus, but this is the first time on the show in a long while that we’ve heard talk there might be an actual solution out there to the worldwide walker problem. Granted, the three people preaching about this solution are a bit strange, but I’m willing to go with it.
More and more, I tend to believe that people watch The Walking Dead because it features a lot of zombie killing and a few great moments that seem to hint at something bigger every episode. I would still like the show better, though, if it found a way to combine the same amount of violence (or less; might as well try something new at this point) with consistently well-plotted story arcs, as opposed to the mishmash of excellence they tend to sprinkle in sporadically. But alas, the longer I watch it, the more I think perhaps something bigger isn’t coming after all, and the show just isn’t able to conjure up anything other than those few noteworthy minutes per episode.