The Walking Dead Review “Claimed” S4E11

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.

Carl and Michonne

“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.

Crazy Cheese

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.

glenn and abe

Glenn lets big Abe have it

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.

Nobody believes you, Eugene!

Nobody believes you, Eugene!

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.

I hop she knows that she's not doing her back any favors.

I hope she knows that she’s not doing her back any favors.

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.

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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.

There is a typographer and marketer who survived the apocalypse

There is a typographer and marketer who survived the apocalypse

All photos and awesomeness credited to AMC Television.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib and Adrian Puryear

There are 6 comments

  1. John Soweto

    Defintely a better episode. But I disagree completely about Michonne. I don’t think showing vurnerability to one of the most stoic comic characters in recent history gives the story more depth. Michonne has inspired many, including myself by not being written in the tradition gender roles in an action story. She endures and is unbeaten. Showing her suscepibility to emotion was a writing angle solely used to market her as more girly, not human. Examples; making breakfast for Carl while making small talk and finding her kryptonite, the color pink. They wouldn’t dare do that to Daryl. His break down came in the woods with Meryl. Rick has his phone. Michonne is a killer. She is the first African American female character of her kind. Atleast in the comic, we don’t know her last name, her history or her favorite type of food. She is Wolverine. A woman without a past, but her future holds death for all who cross her. Giving her an emotional weakness lost me. I feel like the show is losing credibility because they are sacrificing so much from the comic.

  2. Gene

    I don’t get the big deal everyone is having with the room being pink. It was a little girls room. Little girls like pink. Does nobody watching the show have a 3 to 8 year old girl??? And why isn’t Michonne’s character allowed to have an emotional breakdown, or any kind of emotional arch whatsoever. She shows some emotion and that’s labeled “girly”? She’s supposed to be a cold-blooded killer all the time? Sorry, that gets boring eventually. I like the direction they’re taking her in. I don’t feel like she’s lost any of her edge, she’s just coming to terms with a past she has kept buried. In the end she may well be stronger for it.

    Sorry, rant over 🙂

    I liked this episode, I would put it as equal or slightly better than S04Ep10. I think a ‘B’ grade is pretty fair. When Carl paused once he mentioned Judith’s formula I was shaking my head. How has he been on this show for 4 years and that’s the best he can do in that moment? I did think he was better the rest of the episode though. I’ll hold out hope for his acting to take a bump as he gets a little older… and finishes puberty 🙂

    Although the tension in Rick’s scenes was rather forced at times, I still enjoyed it. I think we saw some real fear in his eyes when he realized what type of people were surrounding him. Made me wonder why we haven’t seen more small groups like that pop up and cause a little havoc. Also wondering how that group will work back in again. Gotta be some kind of segway that the guy just passed out after seeing Rick rather than being choked to death. He’ll wake up and tell his buddies, then what? Maybe nothing.

    1. hushcomics

      The great thing about this argument is that I find myself agreeing and disagreeing at the same time. What does annoy me about it is I feel that the inconsistency is taking away some of the credibility.

      1.) How does Carl go from blasting walkers with an M-16 to losing his shoe and eating pudding?
      2.) How does Rick, broken ribs and all, crawl off a roof after killing a guy (who falls on his chest repeatedly)?

      I do think that keeping Michonne the strongest member of the group was an unspoken statement, for women and black people alike. I also feel like an ensemble cast allows for a character like Michonne to be unwaveringly strong.

      It all comes down to a personal preference, though. For us to even be having this discussion shows that The Walking Dead is making people assess social standards again – something it hasn’t made us think about since Season 3.

      Thanks for taking the time to write us! We really enjoy getting feedback and talking all sorts of nerd stuff.

  3. John Soweto

    In response…a stoic character can get boring, but we are talking about a zombie show, not Citizen Kane. We can all name dozens of stoic heroes from movies to books, all men, and we don’t question them. From Superman to Schwarzenegger, we allow these archetypes to remain unchanged, because they are men. The Walking Dead finally gave us a heroine of that caliber, unwavered in her purpose. She doesn’t show emotion because stuff needs to get done, and she doesn’t have time to bleed. As for the room, no I don’t have a three year old girl in the house, but I did take theater in college and remember something about color being used to convey emotion. Every choice a director makes, from set, to props, to costumes has a purpose. The pink room was meant to feminize Michonne. Its not really a debate. The room could have been any color, but Sara Riney and the rest of the art crew used a theme of pink. Michonne isn’t championed in the comics because she is accessible, she is a hero because of her mystery. TV Michonne has to reach a certain focus group, the folks who want to see her show a feminine side. I’m not going to argue any more, just thought I should respond.

  4. andy keiser

    I’m surprised that this episode didn’t get an A. Best of the season by far and you are right on that Rick’s story line was the most suspenseful since “Nebraska”.

    Agree completely with Gene’s rebuttal of John. It’s the 21st century. Emotion is not girly.

    In terms of Chandler Riggs, I don’t know if he is a good actor or not but I do know that acting can’t save writing and the dialogue on TWD has been written terribly especially lately.

  5. andy keiser

    In reply to Hush’s point, I think inconsistency is done on purpose to enhance the realism. Who in the real world is at all times consistent?

    Carl is a badass due to his coming of age during the ZA but still a kid as evidenced by the pudding and the boneheaded loss of his shoe, Rick is at heart a B.A. who will do anything to protect those he loves even though he’s been in a sad sack slump lately, and Michonne sometimes cries (at a truly devastating scene let’s remember) even though she’s Michonne. Allowing herself to feel and give voice to her feelings is right in line with her recent humanization, e.g. choosing to kill the horde she was walking with in order to search out the living in last week’s episode.

    There are other examples as well including Daryl being a dick to Beth even though he’s grown so much since season 1 and probably lots of others. To me, this is when TWD is at its best.

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