THE WALKING DEAD Recap: “Claimed”

     February 23, 2014


On tonight’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, viewers got to meet a few new faces.  Some were well-intentioned while others were nothing of the sort, and all of them came in varying shades of intelligence.  More intriguing than even the new character additions, however, was a bit of intel as to the state of the post-apocalyptic world and, if the newcomers can be believed, the plan to set things right once more.  Hit the jump for my recap and review, unless you’re all amped-up and have an ignorance of rapid-firing weapons.

the-walking-dead-claimed-danai-guriraTonight’s hour was a tale of two groups of strangers, which doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as “a tale of two cities” but I’m no Charles Dickens.  In the red corner, we have Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and his associates Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) and Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt).  We met this trio at the tail-end of last week’s episode, but weren’t quite sure what to make of them (and still aren’t, entirely).  In the blue corner, we have the relatively faceless band of thugs – who we’ll call the Marauders – who take over the house while an infirm Rick recuperates inside.  Let’s start our recap here, shall we?

After a nice, light-hearted scene between Carl and Michonne, in which they discuss comfortable clothes and the pros and cons of soy milk, those two go off on a supply run, purposefully leaving Rick behind to rest.  He barely gets more than a few winks when he’s woken up by gruff voices from downstairs.  In his condition, I can’t really blame him for hiding under the bed, but the silliness of his decision took some of the edge off the rest of the scene as it played out.  If we had reserved any hope that this group might be the friendly sort, all of those notions flew out the window as soon as one of the gang choked another to death over a more-than-gently used mattress.  I’ll give the writers credit for managing to keep the tension in these scenes, which had Rick tiptoeing from room to room in search of either a weapon or an escape route without getting caught.  (And a brilliant tactic on Rick’s part to leave the interior doors open so that the deceased men would rise again and attack their former fellows, providing him an opportunity to get the hell out of there and to warn Carl and Michonne.)

the-walking-dead-claimed-christian-serratosSpeaking of those two, they proved to be the heart of the episode, with Michonne confessing bits and pieces of her former life to Carl, such as the former existence of her then-three-year-old son, Andre Anthony.  There’s plenty of tension to be found in these house-clearing scenes as well, especially when Michonne unveils a covered-up painting and finds it splattered in what appears to be blood with all manner of warnings scrawled across it.  While Michonne and Carl end up being safe from danger, the scene with the family laid out post-execution style in the kids’ bedroom was certainly unnerving.  Lots of emotional trauma being worked out here from both characters, as Carl attempts to deal with the presumed loss of his baby sister, Judith.

Now, back to the other newcomers.  While Tara wisely keeps track of the directions as the truck travels to some undisclosed location, Glenn isn’t about to leave Maggie behind.  When he regains consciousness, Glenn makes it abundantly clear that he’s going back to find her, even suckerpunching Ford in the jaw to make his point.  While those two scuffle, goofy scientist Eugene is left to his own devices … which includes acting like a spaz when Walkers attack, and peppering their only vehicle full of scattered automatic-rifle fire.  Ford’s attempts to fix the truck are for naught, and the group decides to follow Glenn back the way they came until they can at least find another serviceable vehicle.

This episode would have felt less kinetic if not for the information provided by Ford, which revealed that Eugene was a scientist who had been in contact with higher authorities in Washington, D.C., and more importantly, that he knew how the whole apocalypse got started in the first place.  Ford’s mission was to escort Eugene to D.C. to put an end to this nightmare, and he needed everyone he could get along the way.  Of course this leaves us with the short-term question of whether or not we can trust Ford, Eugene and Rosita, and the longer-term puzzle of whether or not they’ll be able to do anything about the epidemic if they ever get to D.C.  A medium-range query is whether or not the entire gang, Ford and his posse included, will rendezvous back at Terminus, which seems to be this season’s glowing city at the end of the Yellow-Brick Road.

Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below, but please keep them spoiler-free!

the-walking-dead-claimed-josh-mcdermittGrade: A-

Zombie Kills: 20

Casualties: Two marauders.

Best Kill: Rick’s kill of the gang member and subsequent use of turning him into an attacking Walker.

Best Effect: Ford’s crowbar + rifle butt combo

Odds & Entrails:

Ford: “Aw honey, look at you. You’re a damn mess.”

Rick, just because you remain still doesn’t mean they can’t see you. They’re not T-Rexes.

Marauder: “My bed now, jack-off.”

Why do scientists always have to be limp-wristed, spineless goofs who have no survival instinct? I know they’re building Eugene’s character, but c’mon…

Ford: “So tell me how in the hell you managed to kill this truck?” Eugene: “A fully amped-up state and an ignorance of rapid-firing weapons.”

Watch the promo for next week’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, “Still”: