Plot: Much to their collective delight, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) have reunited with Michonne (Danai Gurira). To keep themselves going, Carl and Michonne head out for supplies while Rick stays back to rest. Meanwhile, Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) is on a mission to save the world, but Glenn (Steven Yeun) has more personal matters to attend to.
Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead did a great job showing us what the rest of the cast has been doing since The Prison fell. Out of the four groups in focus. it was Glenn’s story that actually got the most pressing cliffhanger with the appearance of Abraham and his compatriots Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Rosita (Christian Serratos). Obviously this isn’t something the writers would want to leave unanswered for two weeks. Plus it’s now been two weeks since we last checked in on Rick, Carl, and Michonne. So it wasn’t entirely a surprise when “Claimed” only focused on these two groups with three separate plots all happening at once. Unlike “After” where a similar model was employed, enough was pumped into this hour to keep viewer interest up and the story moving forward. Unfortunately this didn’t stop the bumbling of what should have been a much bigger reveal.
When we last saw Rick, Michonne, and Carl, each of them had made immense personal strides. Michonne’s character change especially was put in the spotlight this week when she told Carl about her son Andre right before they stopped into another house for supplies. This set into motion an elaborate plan by Michonne that allowed Carl to ask her any question he wanted but could only ask one per room and when that room was cleared. It was a type of playfulness in Michonne that we have never seen prior, but fit perfectly considering her growth. In fact, Michonne was basically the comic relief this week with her fervent desire to make Carl laugh. This included her downing an entire spray of crazy cheese. I’m already a huge fan of this friendship dynamic between Carl and Michonne, and I’m glad the writers are taking time to both acknowledge and cultivate it. Though I have to admit, Michonne’s “rules” obviously served the purpose of extending their scenes even longer.
Rick’s plot mainly existed to get his group back on the road again. While Rick is taking a nap and Carl and Michonne are off scavenging, a group of looters bust into the house. This sends Rick under his bed to hide from these thugs who have no qualms with attacking each other. What followed was a tense home invasion plot where Rick had to stealthily sneak around his enemies to get out of the house. There was a lot of heavy breathing and obviously concocted close calls, like a guy standing by the foot of the bed and a guy who likes to dribble tennis balls. What really made these scene’s work though was how well Rick handled this clearly delicate situation. One false move and he was dead. Through several lucky breaks, Rick is able to get his way out to safety. It was an exciting bit of TV and I’m not convinced this is the last time we’ll see these looters. Plus, now the Rick trio is on the road again towards the same Sanctuary some of our characters learned about last week. That’s a big win in my book.
Glenn’s plot served double duty last night as it both continued his journey to find Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and it officially introduced our three new characters. In what is probably now custom for this series, Glenn definitely stole the spotlight by not taking no for an answer. He desperately wants to find his beloved Maggie again but Abraham is convinced she’s already dead. This results in Glenn getting into a fist fight with someone twice his size, and it was awesome. I’m glad the writers have taken Glenn down this path of hardcore badass and I love how he has zero issue with completely taking over a situation. Also, Tara (Alanna Masterson) is already slowly improving as she is clearly doing everything she can to both be a good person and to help Glenn accomplish his goal. Embracing your past mistakes to make yourself a better person? I can get behind that.
We also got a solid introduction into the new powerhouse named Sgt. Abraham Ford. Abraham always was an incredibly abrasive character in the comics and Michael Cudlitz really does a great job bringing this character to life. His “man on a mission” shtick was a great change of pace too from the “let’s wander around the woods to survive” that so many of our characters have done prior. Instead of simply surviving, Abraham is the only one who is adamant on actually making a difference. It’s also a refreshing change of pace to have a new character come in that isn’t a ruthless murderer. While I already know all about Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita from the comics, I know plenty of people were thinking, “Oh shit. Are these characters evil too?” It’s easy to think this way considering how the last major character we were introduced to was the maniacal Governor (David Morrissey). It’s comforting knowing that not everyone in this world is a crazy asshole.
Where the show really slipped up though was with every other aspect of Abraham’s arrival. For starters, the announcement of his mission barely resonated with anyone. You’d think that revealing Eugene as the only person who can end the zombie apocalypse would have a much bigger impact but it was almost completely glossed over. It’s as if none of these characters really buy into this idea. Glenn and Tara have absolutely no problem ignoring their plight and Rosita, Eugene, and Abraham are all too willing to take a massive detour despite being in a rush. You can also make the case that Eugene shot the truck on purpose to slow them all down. How are we, the viewer, supposed to buy into the idea that Eugene can end the apocalypse in Washington DC when not a single character (other than Abraham) fully believes it themselves? It was such a piss poor way of bringing this story into light. Also, did Eugene really have to be the incredibly stereotyped nerd who is as stiff as a robot and talks about how much smarter he is? Or how about the fact that Rosita looks like she has never seen a drop of sweat or dirt in her life? Abraham is the only one who looks like he fits into this horrid world.
As a whole, “Claimed” was another solid hour of The Walking Dead. The overall story is moving forward at a brisk pace and Abraham fits right into this world perfectly. It sucks that this doesn’t feel the case for Eugene and Rosita. We’re also going to need so much more convincing that the Washington DC journey is worthwhile outside of Abraham saying it is. At the very least, now Rick, Carl, and Michonne are on their way to the sanctuary and you can bet your ass Glenn and his group will find their way there too. It looks like next week will focus a lot on Beth (Emily Kinney) and Daryl (Norman Reedus), but I’m sure we will also get some follow up on what Maggie and Tyreese’s (Chad Coleman) separate groups are up to.