This week’s outing for The Walking Dead begins as a mixed bag. There’s some brilliant character development but there’s starting to become a sense of same old, same old when it comes to the walker threat. Luckily, things get shaken up here.
The main focus of our attentions this time out are the two separate groups of Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Tara (Alanna Masterson), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and newcomer Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz). In fact, this episode can basically be broken down into three arcs, as Rick is left housed up to take some downtime whilst Michonne and Carl go hunting for supplies.
Having a much-deserved doze, Rick is awoken by the sound of intruders in the abode that he has come to temporarily know as home. Seeking solace under his bed, we get an edgy, tense and extreme game of hide and seek as Rick does his best to stay unnoticed by what becomes clear is not a very nice bunch of survivors. Elsewhere, we get to see further insight into the story of Michonne.
Revealing to Carl that she had a son, Michonne is now at a place where she feels truly comfortable with her new family to the extent that she can share her backstory with them. Ever since Season 4 returned, we’ve been getting little nuggets of information about Michonne’s story and the tease of some potentially heinous acts that she had to carry out in order to do what she deemed was best. Here that continues, and it’s also nice to see the dynamic that is evolving between her and young Carl.
To flip things across to newcomer Ford, we’re told that his M.O. is to get to Washington where he can save the world. Accompanying the moustachioed Ford we find Rosita (Christina Serratos) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt). Whereas Rosita has very little to do here, bar stand around and look as equally stunning as she does badass, it’s with Eugene that so much hinges, for it’s claimed that he knows exactly what has caused the outbreak that has turned the world to shit. How that develops, we’ll have to play wait and see, although comic book fans might have an idea of where this could be expected to go.
Maybe it’s just me, but the character of Rick and the increasingly-bland walker threat has started to wear thin by this point, so the character development of Michonne and the introduction of Ford et al feels like a breath of fresh air for the show. It’s with the human elements that Claimed delivers some great moments of TV that audiences have been crying out for. Hearing Rick snarl “Carrrrrrrrrrrrrl” and having small groups of walkers that are just fodder was becoming tiresome, so it’s great to see The Walking Dead do what it does best: tell a story that focuses on the very human characters and their varying objectives in this desolate world.
It’s a welcome change of pace to come across a group, Ford, Eugene and Rosita, who have a very solid, definitive mission that they’re on, rather than meandering from house to house, from camp to prison. And as Claimed progresses, Rick also gets a well-needed kick up the arse and his actions starts to resemble the leader that was such a prominent figure of earlier episodes. With the introduction of Ford, Eugene and Rosita, the development of Michonne, and a revamped Rick, things are looking food for The Walking Dead.
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