25 Feb 2014

Review - The Walking Dead 4.11 "Claimed"

Michonne and Mullet Mayhem

As Rick is faced against a gang of marauders, Glenn and Tara are brought together with three survivors on an important mission."Claimed" in some ways is the definitive episode that moves the show along, and whilst we finally see them all heading for somewhere, the character development in this episode just proves that The Walking Dead is right on track and moving swiftly in the right direction.

Prepare yourself for one of those slow-burner episodes of the season, and don't get me wrong, this is as tense as any of the near-death experiences some characters have faced in the show, but 'Claimed' also tackles characters head-on, building them from the bottom even if they have been established Season's ago. First however, let's take time to talk about the ginger firestorm that is Abraham who those who are fans of the comics should know all about. For the rest of you's who know him as the guy who appeared with at the end of last week's episode alongside a mullet trend-setter and some hot stuff who if wants to survive the apocalypse needs to put on some more layers. Abraham, accompanied by the poorly defined Rosita (the slut with no clothes) and the man with the terrible mullet and aim Eugene finds and takes Glenn but surprisingly for the good. The character of Abraham is immediately established in a good light, although there is never really a time to stop expecting him to do some damage. The whole "Fix the whole damn world!" aim is comical in a good way, and shows that Abraham is perhaps a little too hyped on optimism. As for Eugene well, the "I have the answer to the virus" thing didn't quiet land, therefore we are left with the ending impression that he is a terrible shot with an equally terrible hairstyle.

The episode's most dominant feature is for me the scenes between Michonne and Carl which are both heart-wrenching and powerful. Aside from a few awkward encounters and jokes, the pair really bring a connection alive to the screen, which is a comment on Danai Gurira's interpretation of the Michonne character who up to this point hasn't really been a character. Finally however we get a better incite into the life she lived, which is no thanks to the nosy shit that is Carl, but thankfully he has become more of a character himself which is refreshing considering how unbelievably annoying he was last season. The scene were Michonne discover a child's room filled with a rotted family is emotional, especially after the life story we just watched from Michonne which in itself toughed at the heart strings. Other than that, and an extremely inappropriate joke from Carl in which is states "I'd rather drink Judith's formula..." followed by a sobbing and strut from him afterwards, the scenes between the pair were pretty basic stuff.

Home-Invasion horror hits The Walking Dead hard as Rick's home is bombarded with rough and tough guys who mean serious business. After seeking safety under the bed, Rick attempts to escape the house without being seen or heard from the violent gang. Regardless of how silly some of this was (especially with the toilet fight scene which supposedly no one else in the entire house heard despite how much noise was made) it was still a tense factor of the episode, and without this section 'Claimed' would have went down like a led balloon. The intensity is heightened once we watch Rick's safety balance on the edge, and despite how many awkward situations he finds himself in, he seems to wriggle his way out of each and every one of them; not without him nearly dying or getting caught of course. This scene had me speculating quite a bit with whether or not this was Kirkman and co.'s way of introducing a new threat, but once Rick found Michonne and Carl and managed to escape without harm, it occured to me then that there might be a larger threat at hand; that of the Sanctuary.

Come on guys, really? "Those who arrive survive?" Hell no! Sure, it's promising and all, and Tyreese, Rick and co. may all be heading in that direction, but there is no chance that it means good. Personally, I believe it could be the home of the new threat, home of those who will dominate Season 5, yet who are introduced either the episode or the one before the finale. It only makes sense, plus someone does have to die to create a truly epic Season Finale. If the creators had sense, they wouldn't flip us the bird like what they did for the end of Season 3, now that would just piss people off. Killing Daryl off would too but by the looks of things, that may just be the best decision to make right now.

VERDICT: 'Claimed' successfully builds upon characters both old and new whilst still managing to avoid treading over familiar territory. Perhaps not as strong or ambitious as it could have been, but this episode sets the rest of the season up in a fantastic manner that is enough to make us fear (or be hopeful  for the unknown that is the Sanctuary.

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