By: Heather Seebach
**Warning: The following contains spoilers about episode 4.11**
'Claimed' is an episode that fluctuates between unbearably awkward/boring and some of the scariest, most tense moments on The Walking Dead in a while. Everything about the pre-credits sequence between Tara and Abraham was uncomfortable for me. Between the bad CGI, awkward acting, and Abraham's hideous hair dye job, I just wanted it to be over. I'm still trying to stay open-minded about Michael Cudlitz's Abraham but so far I am unimpressed. I know it's comic bias but I just see the character as a large, very intimidating Marine type, not doughy man-boobs in a wife beater.
Still, as I've said before, I will not dismiss a character based purely on looks. Meanwhile, Rosita and Eugene look spot-on compared to their print countparts, but have not done much character-wise yet. Of course, I never really gave two shits about them on the page either. Moving on...
Things continued to be awkward in the breakfast scene between Carl and Michonne. His delivery of the "I'd rather drink Judith's formula!" line was laughably awful. I don't entirely blame Chandler Riggs for that - it's an absurd, heavy-handed line and whoever wrote it should be slapped.
Things start to look up a little once Carl and Michonne go on their food run. First, there was Michonne and the "Crazy Cheese":
Unfortunately, then comes the second nominee for most ridiculous line of 'Claimed' - when Michonne says she always made toddlers laugh, Carl asks, "What do you mean...toddlers?" as if he has no idea what that is or why Michonne ever met one. Um, she means TODDLERS but thanks for asking that stupid, not-so-subtle question clearly intended to force a discussion about Michonne's son. Who wrote this shit?!
Then things actually got interesting once Michonne finds that creepy You're Next-esque painting. It makes absolutely no sense - they vandalized it and then wrapped it up? - but it's creepy all the same. So far, the show's living antagonists have most just been survivors trying to protect their own, not bona fide psychopaths.
As Michonne investigates futher, she comes upon "the pink room", a child's room where an entire family lays dead and unturned. Given their relaxed positions, it was most likely a suicide situation. The creepiest part for me was how the presume shooter (in the chair) looks like a child, but it could be the mother, too:
Meanwhile, Rick awakens to some unexpected guests downstairs, presumably executing someone from the sound of it. At first you can overhear begging, then what sounds like an amputation, followed by a scream and the culprit laughing. "After what this man did, he deserves to bleed" he says, and ultimately "Clean up your mess, Harley." They sound like a bunch of nuts, and my giddy first reaction as a comic fan was, "Negan? Is it Negan?! Negan?!" FYI, the names "Len" and "Tony" are also tossed around among the intruders.
Honestly, I had no idea this whole Rick-as-John-McClane situation going to happen and I really liked it. The whole bed scene was very tense, even if the moment with Tony seeing him under there was practically lifted out of one of my favorite parts in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Overall, this was a tense sequence and it was nice to see Rick being a badass again. He had me wondering why he propped the bathroom door open like that, but once it paid off, I thought, "Ooh, you clever bastard!"
I also thought these mysterious bandits introduced a realistic and gritty element the show has desperately been missing, albeit very subtle. When they say "A woman has been shacking up in here!" and discuss who gets first turn at her, it was unnerving in a way that definitely echoes both the comics and reality.
And I gotta say, as a comic nerd, I'm pretty psyched about that jacket!
I'm sure we will see those guys again and Tony will no doubt ID Rick when that time comes. Will they be the rapey bandits from the comics, or perhaps The Hunters, or even the Saviors? Those signs indicating "Sanctuary" sure have comic readers going nuts on the assumption that Negan is coming soon, but I highly doubt it.
In between the more exciting Rick moments, we see Glenn trying to find Maggie and being stopped by Abraham. A fist-fight ensues, walkers attack, blah blah blah. Much like in the comics, Abraham and Rosita are taking Dr. Eugene Porter to D.C. because supposedly he can cure the zombie virus. Of course, the television show already went down the road of the government types with the CDC in season 1, so fortunately Abraham's truck dies and they have to abandon that idea.
A couple of things made me laugh about the whole Abraham vs. Glenn sequence:
1) Abraham came upon this young man passed out in the road and thought, "We need this guy!" I think the more realistic angle there would've been they wanted Tara and she insisted they bring Glenn, too. I had no idea that unconsciousness impressed Abraham so much!
2) Hey Glenn, the last guy who hiked down the highway alone with that orange backpack didn't fare so well. Maybe you should reconsider.
3) Abraham saying, "Son of a dick!" Okay, that's just plain funny, and I'm stealing it.
4) A Facebook friend, Mary Bastian, pointed out the hilarious similarity between Abraham and Randy from Pee-Wee's Playhouse:
'Claimed' is not a well-rounded episode but the tense moments with Rick in that house definitely brought it up a few notches. Between that and the pink room stuff, this episode had some of the show's creepiest moments in quite a while. Yes, it's sad that a show about walking cannibalistic corpses took so long to be scary....
Finally, as always, here are some funny comments from Reddit: