The Walking Dead - Season 4, Episode 11: "Claimed" TV Episode Review
Written by Steve Pattee and Daniel Benson
Directed by Seith Mann
Written by Nichole Beattie and Seth Hoffman
2014, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on February 23rd, 2014
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Danai Gurira as Michonne
Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler
Michael Cudlitz as Sgt. Abraham Ford
Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter
Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa
Jeff Kober as Harley
Marcus Hester as Len
Davi Jay as Tony
Scott Dale as Lou
In this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Claimed”, Michonne and Carl go on a field trip, Glenn’s new friends have a surprise announcement, Tara continues on her path to make things right with Glenn, and Rick gets involved in some Scooby Doo-esque hijinks.
Warning! This discussion contains spoilers!
Steve: Well, all I can say is finally! After two weeks of a whole lot of nothing, things are almost back on track with this week’s episode. We get some much needed (not-spoiled-by-the-teaser) suspense with Rick and his unwelcome party guests, we find out what Sgt. Fold and his team are all about, we actually see Glenn get angry, and there’s a new character who is not only grime free, but dresses like a cosplayer. Oh, and somewhere in the middle of all that Michonne and Carl bond, something which I really could not care less about.
Let’s start with Sgt. Fold and his crew. I really like how this story is playing out so far. At first I was wary of their intentions, but as the show progressed, I found that I believe that they are good people. Even with that, there is something off. To start with, Rosita’s choice of attire. Aside from the fact that she seems to be the first person in recent memory to actually look clean, she dresses like a comic book heroine...not that I’m complaining. It just seems odd, and I’m sure – or at least hoping – the writers have a reason for this. Aside from that, I loved how everything went down with Glenn and Sgt. Ford. Even though there were some fisticuffs between them at one point, there is clearly a mutual respect and it doesn’t feel like Ford is the bad guy you were led to believe at his first appearance. What do you think?
Dan: Absolutely. I had him pegged as a bad guy, I guess because almost everyone the core characters encounter turns out to be rotten somehow, but I’m quite happy to see that it looks like he could be an ally. That said, their group is odd: Fold is an action hero caricature, Rosita’s military Lara Croft get-up seems out of place and I’m not convinced Billy Ray Scientist’s story is all it’s cracked up to be. These are characters from a comic book though, so I guess a certain cartoonish element is to be expected.
Dan: I’m wondering if the crew that invaded the house where Rick was hanging out will amount to anything. Normally an encounter like this would pass off, but their leader – the guy bouncing the ball – was played by Jeff Kober, a character actor of some experience. It would seem odd to cast him in such a throwaway role.
And while we’re talking Carl and Michonne, I cringed at that exchange at the breakfast table. It seems like Chandler Riggs can carry off his role when he speaks in isolated sentences, but set him away with monologue and his inexperience as an actor really shows.
Steve: I’m with you on Riggs. I know exactly what moment you are talking about, too; when he mentions Judith. It was so awkward and uncomfortable, and for all the wrong reasons. I can only hope he gets better as time goes on because more and more storylines are going to revolve around him if they stay close to the comic at all.
And holy cow, was that Kober? I must have been distracted because I completely missed that. It’s worth a re-watch now because I’m a fan of his work. Hell, he’s part of the reason why The First Power is more enjoyable than it should be (sorry, Lou Diamond Phillips).
Speaking of Rick and his new pals, I know that whole scene of him avoiding being noticed was supposed to be filled with tension, and it was and I did enjoy it, but I honestly couldn’t help laughing during parts of it because it was so classic Scooby Doo. The only thing it was missing was a shot of a long hallway with all the people in the house running through various doors. That said, I don’t think Shaggy ever choked out a bad guy when he did end up being spotted. I will admit, as much as I’ve been complaining about the writing lately (and I still do stand by the fact that it’s been lazy recently), I absolutely loved it when Rick took time to pop open the bathroom door before he himself exited through the window. For one brief moment I questioned why he would do such a thing, but immediately the reasoning hit me. He knew the man he just killed would zombie up soon enough, so he thought ahead enough to help the future-walker out since they tend to have a lot of trouble with doorknobs. That little diversion worked out quite well in the end, at least giving him some time to get to the returning Michonne and Carl and escaping unseen. Well played, Rick.
Dan: He took a chance with that though. The rules so far have said it takes anything between a few minutes and a few hours, so it was handy that guy became a walker to provide the diversion. And Rick finally changed his damn shirt. About time, it was missing an arm and filthier than John McClane’s vest. At least now he’s got a fresh t-shirt and a new jacket.
Steve: If there is one aspect of the show that has bothered me since season one, it would be the clothes. Is it really that hard to find a change of them? For God’s sake, these characters have been wearing the same outfits since season one, and that was at least four years ago. C’mon! Are you to tell me that of all the houses and stores they’ve scavenged for food, a clean shirt could not be found? I just don’t get the logic behind that decision. Especially when – to use your description – Lara Croft shows up all showery fresh with clean duds. She isn’t nearly as imposing as some of those in Rick’s group are, so if she can find new daisy dukes, I’m sure others can too.
Dan: I guess a lot has to do with merchandising, keeping the characters in the same duds means that they’re identifiable by dress as much as by their looks. Especially important when action figures don’t make a great match to their human counterparts.
I don’t know if you were aware of this, but this episode only had two zombie encounters in it; the ones by the truck at the start and the ones that came out of the cornfield when Glenn and Fold fought. That’s evidence right there that the writers can pull together a decent episode when they want to, it’s just a shame it’s taken three weeks to get something passable.
Steve: No! I was not aware of that at all. It never even dawned on me. To be honest, while I do enjoy seeing the great makeup effects, I can take or leave the zombies. Clearly, you are going to need them in a show entitled The Walking Dead, but the story is no longer the walkers. It may have been at one point, but not anymore.
Dan: Let’s hope this upturn is indicative of how the season will play out. More of this kind of thing, roll on episode 12.
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