The next time you’re at a post-apocalyptic slumber party, remember to always make claimsies to the bed you were going to sleep on. If not, you might end up getting choked out and left for dead by your supposed buddies. As we sat on our couch and watched The Walking Dead this week (no choke-outs occurred… tonight), we were expecting more of a scattered view of the ensemble cast, similar to “Inmates”. Instead, “Claimed” focused in on two distinct groups – Abraham/Glenn and Rick/Michonne. We’re gonna skip around here in the interest of staying with a certain topic.
We still can’t stand Carl. Sorry, Chandler Riggs, don’t hate us! This kid couldn’t act his way out of a tub of chocolate pudding, which admittedly might be harder than it sounds. We’ve been fooled throughout the series into thinking that Riggs plays a good Carl because he only gets a few lines every episode, usually in childish rebellion. This season, when we got a real good look at him as an individual, his story has completely failed to come across as a genuine coming of age tale. We’re not completely turned off of Caaaarrrrl, but it’s gonna take some major convincing to get us to care about this kid again.
“Claimed” depicts Michonne in a new light; we are exposed to a part of her that we had all but confirmed of her past – Michonne had a son, and his name was Andre. Carl spends the episode prying information from Michonne about her personal life and it’s convincingly heartfelt. Hush is extremely torn as to whether or not this new, sensitive portrayal of her is a good or bad thing.
On one side of the coin, Michonne transcends gender. She’s a badass with a katana, and there is no gender associated with her. Men (and pugs) dress up as Michonne. Just an episode after she murders a herd of walkers, Michonne is brought to her emotional brink by a pink (pink… seriously?) room full of dead people who were once a family. Which to some may seem like a way for the show to make her seem weak just because she is a woman. However, others in the Hush family feel that Michonne’s reactions were not weak, but rather essential character development. Michonne is a bad-ass. There isn’t a woman (or man) who watches the show and doesn’t want to go buy a katana. But Michonne is more than that. She is a mother, a lover, a fighter and a protector. She is multi-faceted and utterly human. It would only be in her nature to see that room that was more than just pink, it was the story of family who could not handle the world crumbling around them. It was a family who lacked the strength Michonne has. If Michonne had seen that room and not had an emotional reaction, she may not get empathy from the audience due to a lack of believability.
Let’s talk about the legend, the end-all, be-all solution to the zombie apocalypse. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eugene Porter. This motherfucker right here… This mullet-rockin dweeb in cargo shorts that haven’t been acceptable since 1998 is humanity’s last hope. It sounded a little far-fetched when I first read about it in the comic books, and I was skeptical. Now that I’ve heard it out loud, I can’t believe that Abraham and Rosita would ever believe him in the first place.
That’s not to say that Abraham and Rosita are unconvincing in their roles. Rosita does her best J.Lo/Tomb Raider impression, and is the best eye candy not named Lauren Cohan (Maggie). Anybody who takes the time to clean up like that, hoop earrings and all, is a great asset to have. Abraham plays soldier very well, blindingly following the “orders” from Eugene, who proudly proclaims, “I’m smarter than you.” Making a bit of comic-book prediction here, but we think Tara will soon switch teams and hook up with Abraham, ala Holly.
The real winner of this episode is Rick. I often feel that Rick is expected to be the unquestioned leader. Since pre-Shane, really, we haven’t gotten a good look at Rick only trying to survive on his own. It reminded me a lot of “Nebraska” (S2E8), where he gunned down two men who threatened him in a bar. It’s a plain reminder that Rick Grimes is a force to be reckoned with when he is by himself. Although he unrealistically summoned his inner-superhero to do some damage on the scavengers, we really found ourselves rooting for Rick again – something we haven’t done since Rick led the charge to invade Woodbury and rescue Maggie and Glenn.
Hush Comics gives “Claimed” a solid B. Overall, we really enjoyed the unique cinematography in this episode, and we can appreciate what they are trying to build here. Unfortunately, it is absolutely killing the pace of the show. Having all the groups separated and clearly not all going to meet up again until the season finale without great character development feels wasteful. We also feel, for the first time, that the connection of the show to the comic books is becoming problematic. At this point, forcing the show to fit into the lore of the comics is stifling. With the development of Carl being absolutely terrible and the journey to the sanctuary by all the separate groups, it is getting hard to relate to the characters or believe that they are even still surviving. The show has lost its touch when it comes to thinking about human morality and interaction.
All photos and awesomeness credited to AMC Television.