The Walking Dead: Claimed

Back by popular demand, Ms. Hillary Bauer will once again be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. So hold on to your butts folks, there are walkers abound!

Here’s Review #11:

I’m always a little torn about the revolving door of characters on The Walking Dead.  On the one hand, it makes sense that people would come in and out of your life pretty regularly in the post-apocalypse.  But on the downside, damn, there are a lot of names to remember.  This week, we named ginger G.I. Joe and the American Heroes that popped up last week and ran into a gang of thugs who may or may not have a continuing role in the series.  Mostly, my take away from this episode was just that Michonne is adorable and I want more of her always (even if it means dealing with extra Rick).

The episode starts with a less than subtle shot of a street sign for “Crook Road.”  Alright writers, settle down with the street sign hints you’ve been dropping the last few weeks.  Tara, who is with the army team, obviously has some sort of plan because she sneakily takes down the name of the street in giant letters on her palm in permanent marker.  Just then the truck stops and ginger army man takes out three walkers with a little too much enthusiasm for Tara’s liking.  Although, to his credit, at least someone remembered that shooting walkers is supposed to be a last resort.  He enlists Tara’s help salvaging some cars and says that they have a long trip ahead of them.  This guy makes my skin crawl.  I feel like he’s one of the people who perpetuate the idea that gingers don’t have souls.

Back at Camp Rick, Michonne has cleaned herself up and comes to breakfast with Carl wearing a very sensible oversized button-up.  She pours her cereal longing out loud for some soy milk, which makes me and Carl chuckle.  I love what they do this entire episode as far as building an image of who Michonne was before Zombieland hit with subtle clues like this.  Carl is not impressed though goes on a rant about dairy alternatives before he mentions Judith’s formula and accidentally makes himself sad.

Carl runs off, but Rick still thanks Michonne for cracking Carl’s exterior even for a second.  Michonne asks what the endgame is for them playing house, but Rick gives a wishy-washy answer and tells her to hang tight for now.  Michonne accepts Rick’s response and says that she and Carl should go out on a supply run.  Rick wants to tag along but Michonne is like, “lol, you were pretty much dead yesterday” and tells him to stay behind and rest up.  And then the clouds part and angels begin to sing because Rick actually listens to her.  It’s so nice to have someone around who Rick considers an equal.  Carl is even less obnoxious when he’s talking to Michonne.  She’s like the antidote for Grimes.

Rick sends a cranky Carl and Michonne (who has picked up a delightful vest) on their way before going upstairs for a little R&R.  Rick finally takes off the rag of a shirt that he’s been holding onto for dear life and apparently decides that a plain white t-shirt is the most practical thing he could find in the whole house.  That’ll stay clean forever!  He lays down with a book and the loudest watch in creation to take a seriously needed nap.

Out in the neighborhood, the supply run seems to taking in a pretty serious haul.  Did the people who lived in this town not know that they should bring their non-perishables with them when the world ended?  Leave no can of pumpkin pie filing behind!  Michonne senses that Carl is in a pissy mood and tries to engage him with talk of candy bars and comic books.  This conversation is a sad throw back to earlier in the season when Carl seemed to be getting back to being a kid in the safety of the prison.  That’s pretty much donezo now.

Michonne asks Carl outright if he’s ok, which Carl unconvincingly evades by blaming his funky mood on being tired.  In a last ditch effort to make Carl crack a smile, Michonne busts out a can of crazy cheese and overfills her mouth before opening it wide for him to see.  It’s adorable how hard she’s trying, but honestly the mouth full of processed cheese product makes her 3% less attractive to me in general.

411 crazy cheese

I want to know what the script said that resulted in this.

Baffled that Carl wasn’t impressed by the cheese stunt, Michonne breaks out the big guns to get him talking and casually mentions her dead three year old son.  She says that her son thought that she was hilarious, which explains the cheese business, because it would have had a toddler in stitches.  Michonne’s truth bomb works because Carl’s interest is peaked and he starts spewing out questions.  Michonne sets the rules for a game where she’ll answer one question per room that they clear.  I’m having flashbacks to my own childhood right now, because this is exactly the kind of hokey game my own mom pulled with me when I was being a brat.

Back at the manor, Rick is just waking up when he hears men’s voices downstairs.  Since one of the men is screaming in pain, it’s a pretty fair assumption that these aren’t guys Rick wants to introduce himself to.  He grabs the telltale watch before doing a totally gratuitous, albeit impressive, barrel roll off the bed when he hears someone coming up the stairs.  Rick grabs a bottle of water (presumably so they won’t assume anyone is in the room and not because he was a little parched) and hides under the bed.  He can see a man in heavy duty boots with a heavy duty gun and is visibly shaking.  The anonymous man clomps around ominously before finally landing on the bed, which apparently has a terrible box spring because he almost crushes Rick when he plops down.

411 under bed

“This is cozy.  Guess I’ll stay here for the entire episode.”

Out on the supply run, Michonne and Carl start the question game with Carl already looking for loopholes.  He gets his way though and Michonne finally names her son: Andre Anthony.  She also reveals that Andre was an only child and that he did, in fact, die after the world ended.  Carl squeezes out some freebie information and Michonne tells him that she never told anyone about him, including Rick.  Michonne had been very flippant up to this point in the game, but her mood changes when she says that Andre wasn’t really a secret and then trails off.

It is interesting that she hasn’t brought Andre up until this point.  Her demeanor with Carl is completely different than it was even before the prison raid.  She’s relaxed and playful with him even more so than she is with other characters.  It seems like Michonne just didn’t see the point of bringing up her past until she thought it could do some good for someone else to hear about her son.  In this episode, revealing more about herself helps her connect with Carl in a very motherly way.

Then any kind of levity disappears when Michonne opens a freaky painting that had been leaning on a door.  The painting is of a woman, but it’s covered in blood and someone had crossed out her eyes and mouth.  Michonne slowly opens the door with her hand on her sword.  The music gets very dramatic, but it might just be for how effed up the floor plan of this house is.  There’s a bathroom that leads to a young child’s bedroom.  Who does that?  Every time this kid has company he just has to be like, “Don’t mind the toilet on your way in?”

Michonne keeps walking further in to an adjoining room (more stupid architecture).  Inside, she finds the corpses of four children and it looks like the woman from the painting.  It’s kind of hard to tell; she’s pretty decomposed and she shot herself in the face.  But they do both have side braids which is the TV clue for “same person.”  The painting was leaning on the outside of the door so whoever found the bodies had to have been alive and, judging from their alterations to the painting, was none too pleased with mommy dearest’s decision to annihilate the family.

The Psycho–esque tableau obviously strikes a nerve with Michonne who actually wipes a tear from her eye before rushing out of the room.  Carl find her and guesses from how shaken up Michonne looks that there’s a baby in the room she just came out of.  Michonne clutches the handle and blurts out the worst cover story she could have come up with: “It’s a dog.”  Michonne has many skills; evidently lying is not one of them.

Back with Rick, we get more exciting ankle acting from the unfriendlies.  I’m really not enjoying this plotline.  The drama is so manufactured and it goes on for-e-ver.  Right now we have to watch a squabble between two of the unfriendlies from the shin down over who gets to sleep in the big bed.  One of the men falls to the ground and sees Rick, but his comrade in arms chokes him and renders him unconscious before he can call “Boogieman.”  These guys could use some serious teambuilding exercises.

We switch back over to Glenn and Tara on the road with the American Heroes.  Glenn is just coming to and he is not pleased about being on an unplanned road trip in the middle of his search for Maggie.  He forces ginger G.I. Joe to pull the truck over and takes off down the street.  The American Heroes try to stop him and Tara by convincing Glenn that his wife is dead.  Jeez guy, your sales pitch needs work.  Turns out the American Heroes are on a mission from God to save the world.  Ginger G.I. Joe (whose real name is Sgt. Abraham Ford) explains that he and his lady friend, Rosita, are taking a nerd named Eugene to Washington D.C. because he knows why the zombies showed up in the first place.  I’m not crazy about the idea that the fate of humanity lies in the hands of that mullet.  It’s seriously heinous.

411 mullet

Apparently Eugene has a PhD, but not a mirror.

Glenn tells them “thanks, but no thanks” before losing his temper and starting a fist fight.  While the women try to tear them apart, Eugene is just milling around near the truck looking like a blob of a human being.  Walkers start to wander out of a corn field and I start to cry a little bit.  It’s important to note that I have kind of an irrational fear of corn fields.  They’re like nature made the ultimate hiding place for monsters.  Nothing good has ever come out of a corn field.  Except corn, I guess…

Eugene reacts to the situation about as well as I would have and starts spraying bullets into the crowd of walkers willy nilly.  The others run back and take out the walkers no problem, but the real damage is already done.  In his haphazard attempt at using an automatic weapon, Eugene hit the gas tank rendering it useless.  Abraham looks at the leak and says the only line I’ve enjoyed out of his mouth so far: “Son of a dick!”

Back to Rick.  Still under the bed.  Great.  He realizes though, that now he has to get out.  The unconscious unfriendly is now a ticking time bomb so Rick needs to make his movie before the gang banger wakes up and blows his hiding place.  Rick finds a new room to hide in, but is almost discovered by one of the thugs who is walking around bouncing a tennis ball over and over and over.  Ok, I am not a violent person, but I want to take that tennis ball and shove it down this man’s throat.  This is seriously the most obnoxious thing The Walking Dead has ever written into the show.

Rick tries to escape out the window, but for some reason, these second story windows are just for show and don’t open.  Alright whatever, let’s just go watch Rick sneak around the house poorly for a little while longer.  The unfriendlies are yelling predictably despicable things across the house about Michonne’s recently washed shirt and the fact that she’s probably coming back.  There’s actually a lot of discussion and high reasoning devoted to the friggin shirt.

Rick the spy continues to stomp around the house looking for a way out, when he closes himself in a bathroom to hide.  For reasons I cannot even begin to speculate (because there is no good reason), one of the thugs is in the bathroom sitting on the non-functioning toilet with his pants pulled up.  Is it that he couldn’t find a more suitable chair?  A struggle ensues but Rick gets a garret around the guy’s throat and chokes him out.  So we’re just accepting that the rest of the unfriendlies didn’t hear anything?  Ok.

Luckily, at least one window in the house works and Rick is able to get himself onto the roof and then down to the porch.  I swear, this sequence is actually the loudest Rick has ever been.  He ends up crouching next to the porch when that mothereffer with his mothereffing tennis ball shows up again.  Thank goodness we get to watch Rick hide just out of sight again while this charming specimen of a man spits on him.

Michonne and Carl are just getting back to the house when there’s a commotion in the house that makes tennis ball man rush inside.  Apparently Rick actually killed that guy in the bathroom because shots are fired inside and we can hear walker breathing.  Sweet mother of pearl, is this plotline over yet?  That was a long battle.  It’s hard to tell if the unfriendlies are just a one off plot device or not.  We didn’t actually see most of their faces, but they did go to the trouble of giving them names on IMDB, so we’ll see.

Back at the busted truck, Abraham is telling a charming story about a camel with C-4 shoved up his bum.  Apparently an exploding camel can’t wreck this truck, but a scientist with an adrenaline high and a rapid fire weapon can.  Shouldn’t Eugene have picked up some weapons training by now?  It seems like if he’s been traveling with two marksmen, it would have been worthwhile to ask for a lesson or two.

Glenn decides it’s time to hit the dusty trail so he and Tara turn in their weapons and take off.  Rosita is the first to make the very pragmatic decision to follow them which Eugene signs on for too.  I’m glad they’re tagging along.  Obviously Glenn was never going to abandon the idea of finding Maggie, but I want to see more of this plotline.  I can’t wait to hear Eugene’s pseudoscience!  As they walk along, Abraham is shooting off his mouth to Tara who doesn’t look particularly interested.  She rejects Abraham’s claim that he just wants to save the world because it’s the right thing to do.  I’m with you, Tara.  This guy is a sleaze ball and Rosita could do much better.

To wrap up the episode, we get a shot of Rick et al walking along the railroad tracks.  Seems like we’re doing a lot of that lately.  They come across a sign for the same sanctuary that Carol and her crew are headed to.  For real, do these guys have a post-apocalyptic version of Friend Finder?  These two groups were obviously going to be the next to meet up.  We get Lil’ Ass Kicker back to the boys and the awkwardness of Carol and Rick being reunited.

Looks like we’re heading back into the dark with more walkers and fewer feelings next episode.  See you then!

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

S04 E08: Too Far Gone

S04 E09: After

S04 E10: Inmates

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