The Walking Dead: Claimed

Posted on February 25, 2014

The-Walking-Dead-Season-4-Episode-11-Tom-Lorenzo-SiteChandler Riggs in AMC’s The Walking Dead

 

Alrighty, then. It’s like the creators of this show sat down and said, “Okay, our first priority is making those two bitches Tom & Lorenzo happy. How can we do that?” No? It didn’t happen that way? We’re egotistically self-centered and solipsistic? Tell us something we don’t know.

But look: we’ve been saying for quite some time that the show lacked a direction and that its point of view was too relentlessly bleak and unimaginative. We wanted characters that were going some where, with a plan or at least the idea of a plan. We wanted people we could care about, instead of a bunch of mostly interchangeable brooders and nutjobs. We wanted someone to address the idea of getting civilization back on its feet and seeing whether anyone outside the Georgia backwoods actually survived. We wanted to meet new people with interesting goals or plans, rather than more psychos and rapists and other sorts of second rate Mad Maxes. In short, we wanted reasons to keep coming back each week because for the life of us, we couldn’t come up with any ourselves. Well. We got all of that with this episode. It was like we checked off items on a room service menu and hung it on our TV, waiting for them to be fulfilled.

We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves, though. As much as we’re interested in Gingerbar Mustache and Doctor Mullet and Tank Girl,  they did come across pretty jarringly cartoony. But they challenged the status quo of the story AND they didn’t sexually assault anyone or chop off anyone’s head, which is a major plus. Their quest sounds ridiculously paper-thin and almost certainly doomed on every level you could imagine, but it got us – and more importantly, Glenn – thinking about a world beyond the tiny one we’ve been living in all this time. Just as this sanctuary that everyone seems destined to wind up in has us leaning forward in anticipation. We’ve been saying it all along: just give the audience things to look toward. It doesn’t have to be happy things or realistic things, but it needs to be more than “Let’s hang out at this farm until it all falls apart,” or “Let’s live in this unbelievably depressing prison because we’re tired and desperate.”

The show also seems to have a newly casual attitude about introducing random new people into the mix, embracing wholeheartedly something the show was very reluctant to admit up until now: a significant number of people have survived the apocalypse. Rick and his group have made the mistake of thinking there was almost no one left, but they just keep running smack into new people and even new groups every time they venture a little bit outside their safe zone. This, to us, seems more real and a whole hell of a lot less bleak. We like the idea of more random encounters and more people in the mix. You know damn well that Rick’s little band of marauders are going to make another appearance at some point.

Speaking of which, kudos to the show for what may have been the most tense sequence in its history: Rick’s escape from that house. The show had some amazingly scary and tense scenes over the years, but it largely lost its mojo on that front a good while ago. Rick getting out from under that bed and escaping the house (mostly) undetected had us forgetting how to breathe for a few moments. Very well done filmmaking. More of that, please.

And finally, more of the kind of interactions we saw with Michonne and Carl, even if they did sometimes skirt right up to the line of being cheesy. As much as we want new blood and new direction for the show, we also want the existing characters to get a chance to introduce themselves to the audience and each other, in a way they really haven’t before now.

It’s funny, but the Governor attacking the prison was the very best thing that ever happened to the show because it gave them the opportunity to really blow up the status quo. It says really good things about its future that the show’s creators saw the opportunity, ran with it, and so far at least, have been knocking it out of the park.

 

[Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC]

    • Heather

      I’m glad they’re developing the friendship between Michonne and Carl. Every kid needs a non-parent adult that they can trust, especially in a zombie apocalypse. It is coming off as very genuine.
      Have you noticed every time Rick finally relaxes (reunites with his family, settles in as a pig farmer, lays down to read a novel…) everything quickly goes to shit? It is becoming a WD trope.

      • Qitkat

        Though I don’t watch TWD, I had to lol at ‘pig farmer.’ Is this a new trend, every show (DA) will now have a pig farmer?

        Actually this recap did finally make me interested in catching the show.

    • BayTampaBay

      Did not see this episode. Was it as good as the Season III opener of Dallas?

    • Tracy M

      I like Ginger McHandlebars- he’s comic-booky, but that’s okay here. I’m just abysmal about Daryl being lost in Beth’s La-La-Diary Voiceover-Land next week. The sooner we get the fractured stories to reunite, the better.

      • MilaXX

        My guess is the group doesn’t come together until the last 1 or 2 eps of the season and I’m okay with that. It give these other characters time to breathe. (still waiting to get back to Bob/Sasha/Maggie), Hopefully it will help the 3 new characters time to gel. I may be in the minority as not being annoyed by Beth’s voiceover. We’ve got 5 eps to go, I expect we’ll a mostly Beth/Darryl, a mostly Sasha/Bob/Maggie and a mostly Carol/Tyreese, then get to this Terminus place where hopefully the whole Lizzie mess gets revealed.

        • Isabel

          Tyreese is the last person who should be taking care of kids. He is not patient and has no idea what to do. The diaper change shocked him! Maybe Carol can get him to like the kids.

          • MilaXX

            He kept those kids alive for at least 2 days post prison raid and show good skills in explaining to Mica why they have to stay together. I chalked the diaper change up to needing to handle things quickly so they could keep moving. He seemed to like the kids just fine.

            • AthenaJ

              Yep, handling 2 little kids and a baby all by oneself would drive most people crazy even in the real world, so I thought he did pretty damn well in the Walking Dead world… and especially since a screaming baby is basically a zombie beacon!

            • http://armchairauthor.wordpress.com/ LesYeuxHiboux

              I read this as “a screaming baby is basically zombie bacon.”

        • The Critiquette

          Beth is the #1 character I wouldn’t mind seeing killed off right now. Her and the other two little blonde girls. Is it just me or do blonde people seem particularly incompetent on this show? Thinking of Andrea and that guy with glasses who killed her, can’t remember his name now.

          • MilaXX

            I don;t think the kids will be around long. As for Beth, I don’t think she would be as annoying if more had been done with her character after the suicide attempt back at the farm.

      • Michael Martin

        It feels so wrong, but Gingerbar McHandlestache is kind of hot.

    • TrixieConQueso

      Uncles, we are having a mind meld here. My man has given up on this show, but now I’m going to talk him into giving it another look for the reasons you have listed. Wondering if new writers have jumped in, or someone upped the caffeine in the coffee mix. Whatever, it is a much better show as of late. And yes, that scene with Rick under the bed was a nail-biter!

      • cbt22

        This is exactly my situation. My husband stopped watching the show, so I waited until he was out of town last night to watch the last three episodes. Right before bed. Poor choice–I was too keyed up to sleep. I don’t remember when was the last time this show made me so anxious about what was happening to the characters.

    • Jackie Stewart

      I just find myself constantly disappointed with this show. I feel like I’ll give it until the end of the season and decide then if I want to keep watching. Nothing will every compare to the first season (most shows don’t). I just feel myself getting so frustrated with it.

    • Mismarker

      Y’all, it’s easier to cheerlead for a show that seems to be finally trying to get its shit together! Yay!

      Loved it all for all the reasons mentioned in the review. I hesitate to compare TWD to other shows but one of the great things about Breaking Bad was its use of humor. You needed it to break up the tension. Great to see some humor in this episode. Michonne’s cheese mouth zombie had me smiling as did Abraham’s taunting of the female zombie.

      The whole home invasion scene had me on the edge of my seat. Very well done. But I have to ask what the hell that guy was doing in the bathroom. He didn’t appear to be using the toilet as his pants were on. And he was in his bare feet while all the other intruders had their boots on. It was weird but maybe there will be an explanation later?

      Who here believes Eugene is a scientist? Anyone think he may have sabotaged the truck? He seemed a little too happy to abandon the D.C. plan and follow Glenn.

      Also, I don’t believe this is the last we will see of Jeff Kober (the tennis ball throwing leader of the home invaders). Too recognizable of an actor to be a one-off role.

      • TropiCarla

        My sister (reluctant viewer) could not stop talking about the guy in the bathroom with his pants on. I was too busy getting over the stress of Rick’s escape, but was thankful we didn’t have to look at bare marauder ass.

        Very enjoyable episode – especially smiling Michonne.

        Loved the bit about “How the hell did you manage to kill this truck?” (spoiler –>) I thought that bumbling alleged scientist was going to be toast for a while – a la World War Z. He was a damn mess.
        Also interesting was how inefficient Gingerbar Mustache was at bludgeoning the zombies. He’s lucky to have had all that fancy shit – satellite phone, army truck, machine guns, etc. – or he would have been long-eaten.

        Keep it up, writers. The BKs are feelin’ it.

      • Eric Stott

        Maybe he had blisters and was looking for some ointment and bandages- probably searching the medicine cabinet for anything useful as well.

        • Mismarker

          I thought of some scenarios, too, but I think we may be able to agree him sitting there doing nothing, leaving us to speculate what he was doing, was an odd choice. Why not have Rick startle the guy in one of the other bedrooms? Why not have his pants down on the toilet? Maybe I’m crazy, but the idea of a zombie with its pants around its ankles makes me smile. Ah, well. One of the very, very few things I didn’t like about the episode!

    • Nice_Shirt

      That under-the-bed and subsequent escape scene brought in more minute-to-minute suspense than the show has had in a long time. I’d gotten very used to the formulaic: approach the door, pause for effect, open door, walkers!, kill walkers. This felt new and fresh. Let’s hope the show maintains that momentum. Only one tiny gripe: casting Jeff Kober as Chief Marauder. Any movie and TV buff worth their salt is going to recognize his face as a long-time character actor. You just know he’s not going to be cast in a 1-off episode with his only lines spoken off screen. So yeah, that’s kind of a big spoiler, knowing that we’re definitely going to be seeing him further down the road. (Of course we’ll discover it was him and his band that raided that little camp in the woods shown earlier in the season.)

      • Mismarker

        Yep on Jeff Kober. Because of the way that whole home invasion was shot (showing mostly Rick’s actions and reactions with most of the marauders’ dialogue muffled), I could envision a one-off future episode following this band of guys and showing the camp raid and home invasion from their perspective? That might be interesting as long as we didn’t take too much time away from our leads.

      • MilaXX

        Agreed which is why you know we’ll see the house invaders again. Jeff Kober doesn’t seem like a one off actor. That said they did surprise me with Aldris Hodge making a brief appearance as Michonne’s boyfriend.

        • Mismarker

          And Kirk Acevedo did not stick around as long as I thought he might!

        • TropiCarla

          Seeing Aldis in that episode made me experience glee and despair simultaneously. Because I LUFF him, but he was already dead in the story.

    • dalgirl

      I agree, there have been small improvements that are keeping me from totally giving up on this show. I wish the uncles were reviewing True Detective!

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      I was fairly pleased with this episode. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, develops from Dr. Mullet’s assertion of knowing the cause of the zombie virus. One moment that felt like a dud to me was when Glenn asked them to explain and they responded “that’s classified information.” Really? Really? Why would anything be classified in the post-ZA world? Who would enforce that? Anyway, I’m hoping that the group reunites in some fashion and they head for DC. It would be great to see how much the capitol is in ruins, and it would make for a change in scenery.

      Yes, Rick trying to escape from that house was probably the most tense scene on TWD in a long time. I was just happy that he was able to escape mostly undetected and they didn’t make his encounter with the road roughs more prolonged (but who knows, maybe they’ll bump into each other on the road). I have some hopes for Terminus, but knowing this show it will probably end up like Woodbury Part II, or will be abandoned by the time Rick et. al. get there.

      • Eric Stott

        Gingerbar and Mullet have Conspiracy Theorist virtually tattooed on their foreheads. Dr. Mullet probably thinks that the Zombie Virus is being spread by Freemasonic agents as part of a New World Order cleansing project. He’s probably heading to the House of the Temple in Washington DC to seek the Ark of the Covenant.

      • lynde1038

        If Dr. Mullet is full of BS (which seems likely) and that gets outed sooner rather than later, maybe the action stays in Georgia with everyone headed for Terminus (which many noted last week was an old name for Atlanta). I’m just thinking from a production perspective, if they are going to stay in Georgia and they want to get out of the damn woods, then maybe they’ll focus any urban-based stories they’ve got in the offing in Atlanta. (I really don’t want Terminus to turn out to be Woodbury Part II. Sigh.)

        • lynde1038

          I just took another look at the map that Tyreese, Carol, and the girls found, and the location marked as Terminus actually looks like it corresponds to the Macon area, not Atlanta. So maybe they’ll end up there for a little while. Conveniently, they actually made it a specific point earlier in the season that Michonne hadn’t checked out that area yet, and was just about to head off that way when she got sidelined by the ankle injury and then the meds run. So for once we won’t have to get all bent about “wouldn’t they have checked that area already?” Nope, they didn’t. :)

          • Mismarker

            There has been online speculation that Terminus is actually in Macon. Daryl warned Michonne off going to Macon in search of the Governor saying it would be 70 miles of walkers and she would surely meet some “unneighborly” types.

            • Angela_the_Librarian

              Ooh, if they do end up in Macon they could potentially incorporate some of the characters from The Walking Dead Game (sorry, just nerding out over here)

      • MilaXX

        Yeah I don’t buy mullet’s classified info either. They lost contact with Washington, he may be the only guy who knows in a world where a bit could bring that to an end. He needs to write it down or tell someone else. I also can’t help but wonder if he killed the trunk on purpose.

      • Isabel

        Why didn’t Glen tell them that the CDC guy said everyone has the virus and nothing could be done? It’s a miracle that Baby Judith wasn’t born a zombie.

    • Sobaika

      Very good episode! It (finally) felt like every scene had a purpose or value.

      But the fractured element of the storytelling isn’t my favorite – I felt like it was almost losing momentum by switching between Glenn, Rick, and Michonne. And knowing that next week’s episode won’t likely feature them at all quells the excitement a bit.

    • MilaXX

      I am still please with this method of storytelling. I think we’ll definitely be seeing the house invaders again, but that was a tense few moments. I think we’ll definitely be seeing the house invaders again.My only quibbles were minor. I was happy to see they took advantage of finally being able to wash even though I don’t understand how the house still has running water. Where is the dust you’d expect from abandoned houses?

      • Isabel

        The water might be running but not be sanitary. Water is the last thing to go.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        My husband and I noticed the lack of dust especially in the house Michonne and Carl checked out. There was dust in the kid’s room, but none was noticeable in the living room area. We thought it was going to be a sign of living occupants.

      • mjude

        I am so obsessed with this show (I am sure I have said that many times) great episode. so tense with Rick. love the Michonne & Carl moments. holy crap on the “pink” room. how sad was that?

      • Kristy Sheldon

        When I was a kid, our well water pump was equipped with back up power supplied by a windmill…..that could account for the running water.

    • Matthew Vella

      Something needs to be said. Gingerbeard’s hair colour is not found in nature. It’s not orange, it’s Florence and the machine red. When does he manage to find the time to dye his hair?

      • Mismarker

        Haha! The color is bordering on distracting and takes Michael Cudlitz’s handsomeness down several notches. I sincerely hope that red will be toned down in future episodes!

      • martha

        The Dr.s mullet I could believe, and I was not distracted by his hair color but the chick’s outfit was straight from a graphic novel.

    • Suzanne Moore

      Between The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey on Sunday, we’ve had two very satisfying episodes to start the week. ;-)

      I wish that The Walking Dead writers could sustain Sunday’s level of story-telling every week. (Asking for too much, I know.) Dividing up our brave crew and focusing on a few folks is LOST-like and a very smart decision. Having them meet other humans from time to time is a great idea, uncles! I hope they DO set off for D.C. . Or at least one of the islands off the coast of Georgia.

      My only gripe about TWD is the lack of a meaty Daryl storyline. Him being stuck with whiney-girl is frustrating and boring.

      TLo, are you going to review House of Cards? I just finished Season 2 and I was NOT bored.

    • Wendy Todd

      Loved the action in this episode! One question that is bugging me. Isn’t weird that no one is hooking up in this world? I totally can accept that the writers would steer clear of romance but geez..Daryl Rick Michonne Carol etc have had no action at all (not counting Michonne & Andrea which they did not show).

      • DeebaCee

        There have been hookups, just not since the return. Laurie/Shane, Laurie/Rick (though, does it count if they’re married pre-ZA?), Shane/Andrea, Glenn/Maggie. But you’re right, Daryl, Rick, Michonne, and Carol don’t seem to have gotten any

    • maxxman

      This is what, the 4th or 5th season? They have been walking or riding a car for most of that time. How big is Georgia? Should not they have reached another state by now?

      • DeebaCee

        They’re probably not going any faster than 20-30 mph, add in stops due to clearing out the road, re-routing, and long passages of time at the farm/Woodbury/prison, you really wouldn’t expect them to be too much further than where they started.

        • Columbinia

          Not to mention that these people have the worst luck with hitting walkers, other collisions or somehow disabling their vehicles (like this week with the Doctor shooting up the truck, a veritable mobile fortress).

          • DeebaCee

            Haha. Very true. I forgot about all the car incidents/wrecks (Lori…!)

      • martha

        Why would they leave Ga. They would probably stay in an area they were familiar with. They went to the CDC and that was a bust. Also nothing these characters do resembles what an actual human being would do.

        • Columbinia

          I like your last point a lot.

    • KTBSN

      Looking forward to Rick’s gang meeting up in Terminus/Macon during the last episodes of this season to regroup as a fighting band for the trek to D.C. in season 5. They have to pass through a few states and hopefully another city or two and that storyline should carry TWD at least one more season.

    • crowTrobot

      The introduction of Abraham and company (ginger, mullet, short shorts) was jolting because the show has deviated so far from the books that I never thought it would ever come back to the source material. If they carry through with this storyline the problem of stasis would be greatly relieved. But with the way they changed the Governor’s story, I’m not banking on it.

    • quiltrx

      My husband and I both really enjoyed this episode! I felt like this was the most visually arresting episodes they’ve had in a long, long time. The whole sequence from the hallway with such happy paintings, moving to the ‘hidden’ room and Michonne’s discovery of the family…great visual storytelling. And then to follow it up with the entire ‘Rick’s escape’ sequence? They’ve really stepped up their game. We shall see if they can maintain this level.

    • Columbinia

      It has been like the myth of Pandora’s box. Everything miserable and awful got out before Pandora could slam it shut, keeping only Hope in the box and out of the world. Finally the producers seem to have opened the box and let out Hope.

      Up until this point, the show gathered up a bunch of characters and got us acquainted with them, killing off half of them — maybe more, it’s hard to keep count. Now the characters we know are dispersed and the plot is about some combination of getting them back together or getting them to the Terminus/Hope. I am so hoping that this doesn’t revert to pure nihilism again and the Terminus isn’t Death.

    • http://scialocco.wordpress.com/ Shylock

      Carl’s voice is changing. Funny: I hadn’t noticed this before.

    • The Critiquette

      So suddenly you’re not so upset about them hitting “the reset button” over and over to shake things up?

      Although I don’t agree that all the desperation and violence is unrealistic given the extreme stress and trauma the characters have endured, and I didn’t hate the prison (it seemed like a pretty good situation for them, to me; certainly far more reasonable and defensible than the farm was), I’m with you for the most part. Hopefully, this “Terminus” place ends up being a decently safe place to ditch some of the more boring characters (e.g. little blonde girls) so the more exciting characters (Darryl, Michonne, Carol) can go on the big quest with “Gingerbar Mustache and Doctor Mullet”. Would be a nice change to actually have a goal tied to the rest of the world rather than merely the constant struggle for individual survival.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        “So suddenly you’re not so upset about them hitting “the reset button” over and over to shake things up?”

        What?

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

      I only finally got to this episode because of stuff and I had to run here and comment even though the discussion’s already petered out because OH MY GOD midway through this episode I was surprised to remark to myself, “This is a really good episode!” I mean, sure, the fistfight on the open road was dumb, but I like handlebar-Jayne Cobb so I could forgive it. Have been so glad to finally see more story to Michonne than just BROODING. It’s been so long since I was interested in what the characters were doing in a way that wasn’t just “I wonder what stupid decision they’re going to make tonight.”

      Oh man sooooo good.