Spoilers for The Walking Dead -
The introduction to this episode of The Walking Dead shows that there is plenty of room in the zombie apocalypse for people who don’t mind getting their hands dirty, especially if they can do it with a smile, as newcomer Abraham gleefully smashes the brains of a few walkers. Can’t complain about getting straight to some gore!
We get straight to the emotion too, as Carl and Michonne laugh a bit over breakfast, but in this world, it’s not too long before a conversation trips over something immediately saddening. Carl goes into a depression over Judith, and when Michonne can’t cheer him up with spray cheese and zombie jokes, the truth comes out – Michonne had, and lost, a son. In The Walking Dead, you bond over loss more readily than anything else. The motherly instinct always brings out the beautiful in Michonne. She’s never better than in scenes with Carl, and remember when we first met her she was delivering the baby supplies that we almost lost when Merle abducted Glenn and Maggie. Was part of her motivation to trade them for sanctuary? Maybe, but she didn’t know these people at all, and I like to think the welfare of a child was a major motivating factor for that mission.
While they’re out and about, scavenging house to house the old fashioned way, Rick wakes up to hear other people in his new home. He can tell immediately these are bad customers, and taken by surprise with no defense, he actually has to resort to hiding under the bed, and playing hide and go seek like a child. The tension is high, at least for me, and each sequence, each room of cat and mouse, immediately adds a new threat. Rick is back in badass form here, and a joy to root for! When he’s finally re-united with Carl and Michonne, they come across one of those many “those who arrive – survive” slogan signs, and decide to follow it.
We also spend a good amount of time in “Claimed” with Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Tara and Glenn. After Glenn passed out at the end of last episode, it seems they loaded him onto the truck, and proceeded on their mission to, as Abraham puts it, “save the world.” Eugene claims to be a scientist who can cure the zombie plague, and they want to get him to a government stronghold. Sounds a little too convenient and good to be true eh? Still, everybody needs a mission, something to do, so I don’t blame them for believing in it. Every minute they’ve been driving though, takes Glenn farther and farther from where he last thought he could find Maggie. When he wakes up he is rightfully pissed, wants none of this mission, and is incredibly badass and cheerable for! He won’t give up on his lover, and anyone who tries to make him give up becomes an enemy. It leads to a fistfight between him and Abraham, who basically wants to conscript him to his mission. Zombies somewhat predictably interrupt the fight, and when it all goes to hell, random shooting leads to holes in the gas tank and a useless truck. In need of a new vehicle, for the moment no one has anything else to do besides follow Glenn.
Some more random notes.
Tara kept a list of every direction and turn, with marker on her hand, once they got in the truck. I love her dedication to Glenn and his mission, it’s her redemption.
I still can’t get over how Rick was almost willing to trade away Michonne to torture for his safety, but Rick, Michonne and Carl make a great power team.
This episode had a perfect mix of zombie threats and human threats, along with enough character interaction and plot intricacies to keep people talking all week. I give it an A+