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The Walking Dead “Claimed” 

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Last week’s episode was a tough act to follow.  We learned Judith is still alive, Carol (Melissa McBride) is back in the picture, and then, how can we forget that super-creepy scene of Lizzie zoned out and trying to smother Judith.  Oh, and the very best part – three major characters from the comics make their big entrance at the end of the episode.  Again, very hard to top something of that caliber but this week’s episode comes pretty close.

Back in the suburbs, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is still recuperating from the beatdown by the Governor, but they are running low on food and supplies.  So, Michonne (Danai Gurira) steps up, insists that Rick stay home and hold down the fort, while she and Carl (Chandler Riggs) make a supply run.  What happens next is very reminiscent to the episode “Clear” in season three (which happens to be one of my favorite episodes of all time).  In “Clear” a great deal of the walls between Michonne and Carl came down when she helps Carl retrieve the last picture that he can find of his mother.  Michonne scored some major points with her sensitivity in “Clear”, and she does the same thing in tonight’s episode.  Up until now, Michonne came across to everyone, including Carl, as cold, as just this hard woman who was damn good with a sword.  Who would have thought that she was a mother and actually good with kids?  She reveals to Carl that she had a son, his name was Andre, and he was her only child.  She is also very protective of Carl after she finds the room with the dead mother and her four children, whom we assume she killed as part of a murder-suicide.  Obviously, this reminded her of her boyfriend and what he did to both himself and their son.  It was a terrible memory, one that a young boy like Carl should not have to see and remember.  So, she lies, “It was only a dog”, when asked what was in the room.  Michonne may have given the first impression of a very simple, one-dimensional character in season three, but it’s becoming obvious that this is nowhere near the case.  I’m looking forward to seeing her character developed even more as the season progresses.

Back at the house, Rick quickly begins to wish he had gone on that run with Michonne and Carl.  It turns out that the house was already claimed by someone else, and 4 dumb-ass rednecks show up, not knowing that Rick and his group had too taken the house while they were gone.  What comes next is a sequence of scenes that should remind us of the Rick we once knew, and it demonstrates that the old Rick is still there, he just needed a good kick in the ass.  Rick may have gotten his butt beaten to a pulp by the Governor at the prison, but he wasn’t going to let that happen again.  Rick hides under the bed as these hillbillies enter the house and even witnesses one of them getting beat up for not wanting to give up the only grown-up bed.  He then sneaks into the bathroom and doesn’t hesitate to strangle to death the next hillbilly that walked into the room.   Rick was even smart enough to leave the bathroom door open a little so that when the dead guy re-animated, he would attack the other guys in the group.  Very nice touch.  Rick may have softened in the first half of the season and let his guard down to play farmer and to forget about the horrors of today’s reality (just like Carl told him in the mid-season premiere), but that Rick is gone (at least we hope so).

The final arc in tonight’s episode revolves around the three newcomers – Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos).  I left it for last because this was, by far, my favorite part.  Sgt. Ford and Dr. Porter strike me as two very complex characters, and so, it’s going to take some time to even scratch the surface of whom they really are.  At first blush, Sgt. Ford appears to be a man of common sense.  Unlike Rick, he understands that the more people you have in your group, the better.  Running around in a small group of 3 or 4 people isn’t going to do you any good if you run into a big horde.  But, he also seems to be calloused and cold, almost to the point of being disturbing.  He bashes those walkers’ heads against the side of the truck, smiles, and then, laughs about it afterwards.  And, he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Glenn (Steven Yeun) and his desire to find Maggie (Lauren Cohan), or at least look for her.  He just dismisses the entire thing, saying that she’s a lost cause and his only objective is to get Eugene to Washington.  Period.  In the comics, Sgt. Ford lost his entire family in the apocalypse, and so, I’m sure some of this coldness can be attributed to that.  But, I also would think he could empathize with Glenn.

Now, on to Dr. Porter.  Eugene, Eugene, Eugene.  I can see why he is glued to Sgt. Ford like flies on crap because the dude wouldn’t survive 5 minutes out there on his own.  While Abraham and Glenn are having a big fight and pissing contest, about a dozen walkers appear.  Eugene decides to try and be the big man on campus by shooting them all down himself, but the guy couldn’t hit a target if it was right in front of him.  Seriously! He shoots off a dozen or more rounds, and the only thing he hits is the group’s truck.  I’m sorry, Eugene, but you need to learn to shoot!  The character reminds me a lot of Milton Mamet from season three, but heck, even Milton could fire a gun!

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Eugene may suck with a gun, but we do see that he’s pretty good with mind games.  Rosita wants to abandon the truck and go with Glenn and Tara, and Eugene is quick to agree.

     Trust me.  I’m smarter than you – Eugene to Abraham

Oh, snap! And, right after he says this, you see him walking away with this shit grin on his face, as if saying, “Ha! I gotcha on that one!”.   For someone who is barely capable to defend himself, I do have to give Eugene credit for having some of the biggest brass balls I have ever seen.   Robert Kirkman has said time and time again that Eugene is a very complicated and conflicted character, and I can see that already.  It’s going to take a long time before we can even begin to understand what this guy is all about.

All in all, I thought this was a very good episode, and I’m very excited about the remaining five episodes of the season.  There is just so much potential.  We can assume that Rick, Michonne, and Carl may eventually meet up with Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and company because they are all headed towards this Terminus.  But, what about the rest of the group?  Remember, Maggie, Bob, and Sasha, as well as Beth and Daryl are still out there.  And, what about Glenn, Tara, and these three newbies?  It would be nice if all of them eventually converge into one group again, but whether that will happen, only time will tell.

The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

Most memorable quotes

  • Honey, look at you.  You’re a damn mess! – Sgt. Ford
  • You were smiling.  I never seen that before – Tara

            Well, I guess I’m the luckiest guy in the world – Sgt. Ford

  • I had a 3 year-old son, and he found me to be extremely funny – Michonne to Carl
  • Son of a dick! – Sgt. Ford
  • Eugene’s a scientist & he knows exactly what caused this mess. – Sgt. Ford
  • So, tell me how in the hell you managed to kill this truck? — Sgt. Ford
    A fully amped-up state and an ignorance of rapid-firing weapons. — Eugene

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