“Claimed,” this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, may not have been the most informative episode of The Walking Dead, and it may not have been one of the better written episodes, but goddamn, it was intense. It was the first episode directed by Seith Mann since Home back in season three (and he’ll direct next week’s episode, as well), and he did a superb job of creating one of the more tension-filled episodes in the show’s run. There were a few moments this week where I literally held my breath. It feels like it’s been a while since this show made my heart race, but there was plenty of that in this installment.
Carl and Michonne — Carl and Michonne had the time-filling plotline, where the writers say to themselves, “How do we fill ten minutes? Oh, I know! How about another supply run?!” This particular supply run, however, continued to provide more dimension to Michonne, who displayed not only a motherly side, but a decent damn sense of humor. The Easy Cheese/Zombie gag was priceless, and Carl should be fed to the zombies for not laughing. What the hell is wrong with you, Carl?
Chandler Riggs’s terrible acting this week, however, actually lent itself well to the character, as it better gave us a sense of how young CORAL really is. The supply run also allowed Michonne to better bond with him, divulging the name of her three year old (Andre) and sharing a little more about her life pre-apocalypse. Honestly, the two have a genuinely sweet rapport. The best moment in their sequence, however, was the creepy, gruesome suicide scene that Michonne walked in on, a superbly staged room that once again demonstrated the lengths some go in the apocalypse to avoid being turned.
Rick — Meanwhile, Rick stayed behind to rest, but didn’t get much sleep in before the house was invaded by assholes with guns. Rick was forced to hide under a bed, which prompted some of the tensest scenes we’ve seen the series. It was all very well done, from the guy standing at the foot of the bed, to the other guy strangling him in order to lay claim to the mattress, to the douchebag with the bouncing ball. They were straight-up horror movie conventions, but they were executed well.
I’m not sure who those guys were, but I get the impression that they’re not good people, illustrated by the fact that one was willing to strangle another guy for a bed, and another was hoping for a rape opportunity. His name wasn’t listed in the credits, but that guy on the porch was Jeff Kober (i.e., Jacob Hale from Sons of Anarchy), and he’s a recognizable enough face to suggest we haven’t seen the last of him. Were they “The Hunters” that we’ve heard about from the comic books?
In either respect, after several close calls, and having to kill one guy in a loud enough way that it’s ridiculous he didn’t call attention to himself, Rick managed to escape with CORAL and Michonne as they returned.
Abraham — This is going to sound sacrilege, but with Abraham around now, the Internet would only riot half as much if Daryl dies. Abraham is badass (and I really hope that seeing his character will encourage some of you to check out Michael Cudlitz in Southland, where he was criminally robbed of multiple Emmy nominations). His extended introduction to The Walking Dead was nearabouts perfect: The man enjoys killing zombies, and he might be a bit of a nutcase. He’s the closest thing this series has had to Zombieland’s Woody Harrelson character, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually saw Abraham say, “Nut up.”
Abraham finally brought a bit of levity to the series, and for the time being, a sense of purpose: He, Rosita, and Eugene are on their way to Washington D.C. to fix the whole damn world. Eugene is a scientist, and apparently, knows exactly what caused this mess. Why won’t he tell us? “It’s classified.” In a zombie apocalypse? Okay! I’m skeptical, based on the fact that Eugene doesn’t seem to be all that bright, but he has the kind of voice and cadence that elicits laughter. I mean this was hilarious: “A fully amped up state and an ignorance of rapid-firing weapons.”
I like him, and Rosita seems “sweet” (and by that, I mean “attractive”) and Tara continues to grow on me. I think this crew is going to fit into the show quite nicely, and for the time being, Glenn — a series regular — feels like an afterthought in his own subplot.
Anyway, after Eugene shot up the truck, they all agreed to follow Glenn back in order to find Maggie, who is a three-hour drive behind them and probably still on that bus wailing. It shouldn’t be too long, however, before Rick, Michonne, and Carl at least catch up to Daryl/Beth and Tyreese/Carol, as they all seem to be on the same railroad tracks headed toward Terminus.