No episode of The Walking Dead is without its fair share of idiots to give the writers some leeway. ‘Claimed’ had a group of marauders kill one of their own because another one wanted to take a nap on the bed, and it had a supposed scientist shoot the fuel tank of his means of transport because he supposedly was extremely bad at using a machine gun. Both of these instances were essential to the development of the plot, but also very far-fetched: we’re well into the walker apocalypse so everyone knows a dead man doesn’t stay dead, and one would think that a high-value scientist who travels with two people from the army has at least been given some sort of (machine) gun training. While I think it’s entirely possible scientist Eugene is a fraud and sabotaged the truck on purpose, I don’t think it’s plausible that it’s this easy for him to get away with it. Ah well, all for the plot, eh?
Other than that, ‘Claimed’ was fine. While Carl and Michonne were out looking for supplies, a group of looters broke into their house. Rick was still there, getting some rest, and he had to hide in order to stay undetected, his only means of survival faced with a crew this large. It was effective stuff: we experienced the situation from Rick’s point of view, who was unable to see everything that was going on because his vision was obstructed by hiding under the bed. We only saw the legs of the people rummaging through the house, until Rick got out from under there and tried to flee the premises. There’s something cool about a man successfully evading intruders and staying out of sight. One gripe though: Rick was suddenly feeling a lot better this week, but while he was unable to move a couch, he was able to beat a healty man in close quarters combat and choke him out. Unfortunately this is the type of inconcistency we’ve come to expect from The Walking Dead, as well as the idiotic behavior described in the first paragraph: the murdered marauder turned into a walker the moment Rick’s escape was hindered by a man posted on the patio, who ran inside once gunshots rang out.
Rick then met up with Carl and Michonne who were just on their way back from running their errands, during which they bonded. Michonne opened up to Carl a lot. While it’s good to see her finally doing so, it’s quite a big jump for her to start throwing around personal information in such a casual manner. It’s a welcome change though and actress Danai Gurira completely sells it. The moment where Michonne discovered a family of corpses in a little girl’s bedroom was also very powerful, because of Gurira’s subtle acting. So, by the end of the episode, Carl had been given more insight into Michonne’s past and the trio, like Tyreese and company, are now following the railroad in hopes of finding sanctuary.
The other third of ‘Claimed’ was about Glenn and Tara, who were on the road with Sergeant Abraham Ford, Rosita and Eugene until Glenn woke up and tried to leave their company to look for Maggie. Because in the world of The Walking Dead people don’t communicate all that well it led to a punch-up between Glenn and Abe, during which Eugene was swarmed by walkers and shot the fuel tank of their truck. We learned that Abraham’s goal is to get to Washington, because Eugene’s told him he knows what caused the walkers (we still don’t know what did) and he’s able to put together a cure there. But now, because of the events, the trip is put on hold and Abe and crew are helping Glenn find Maggie for the moment, at least until they acquire a new means of transportation. It’s all a bit contrived, but we’ll see where it takes this group of characters. So far Abe and especially Tara seem like they’re good additions to the main cast, but Rosita and Eugene will probably end up dead or undead.
‘Claimed’ was a decent episode and it took some small steps toward getting parts of the prison group back together again. 7/10