AMC’s The Walking Dead Claimed TV Show Review. The Walking Dead: Season 4, Episode 11: ‘Claimed,’ took the time to build a better sense for the series’ landscape, on the macro level, while setting the foundation for new character dynamics, at the personal level. All the while, the underlying theme to the episode may have been the inherent dangers of lowering one’s guard, at any moment, for any reason, and the false sense of security that comes from thinking oneself in a position to lay claim to something entitled to or earned by you.
Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), laid claim to Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Tara (Alanna Masterson), at the end of last episode, as recruits for his overarching mission to Washington, D.C.. Along with paramour, Rosita (Christian Serratos), Ford had taken up the task of getting scientist Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) to the capital. There, Eugene’s supposed knowledge of the outbreak could mean salvation for all mankind. Glenn had more pressing concerns.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) found his claim to a safe resting place wrested away by a new breed of armed scavengers. Previously, the group had to contend with rival bands, but this was something new. There is strength in numbers, but that sometimes translates into a license to do harm. These men were clearly predatory – not just survivors, but reavers.
The laughter of life continued for Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira); but for every light moment, there was a figurative landmine to trip over. The pair, with strong encouragement from Rick (who had been denied reactivated status, by Michonne), teamed up for a supply run. Divergent experience had changed their interactive dynamic; but while Carl had dismissed the comforts of normalcy, Michonne was determined to start forging stronger bonds. A change of tact, with the casual mention of her son, and she succeeded in drawing Carl out – more so by making him work for the personal information she was willing to share. Her opening line, about not knowing her way around kids Carl’s age may have been a tactic in itself, as she seemed to bring him around quite handily. As fond as I have been of Michonne: silent and feral, this first attempt at domestication made for a character that was outright… disarming. As positive a team building exercise as their excursion had become, Carl and Michonne were blindly heading back to open jaws.
Rick, probably more than anyone else, since the prison, had taken a long breath of relief. Not only had the reunion with Michonne eased anxieties considerably, but Michonne had lifted the load, regarding both Carl’s safety, and his morale. With a functioning unit in place, their pit-stop was starting to seem more like a sanctuary. The kind of place in which a weary soul could, say, afford a recuperative deep sleep. Clearly, the Reavers had a similar view of the place. This may have been the second time Rick awoke, from a dead sleep, to a nightmare in progress. Unlike the series premiere, however, he recognized the situation for what it was; the Reavers then left at a disadvantage.
The Reavers, for their part, demonstrated that strength in numbers also breeds a false sense of security; creating environments where preoccupation over things like a decent bed, or a potential rape victim, facilitates gaps in that security. Rick benefited greatly from the element of surprise – catching one Reaver in as relaxed a moment as one can have. Whether the time bomb he left, within the Reaver ranks, constituted supreme foresight, or serendipity, it set off a panic at another relaxed moment; narrowly preventing the outcome both Rick and viewers had been dreading.
The clash of Glenn and Ford, over their respective priorities, facilitated a near over-running by Walkers. Ford may have been mindful that his lapse in temperament not only brought on the attack, but also contributed to the loss of their transport; the detour to find Maggie made easier for him as a price paid for carelessness.
Fans of the comic certainly have something of a leg-up, regarding the Ford Co., the mission, and their being on the lookout for “Ford tough” recruits. Unfamiliar viewers will more likely default to Tara’s position. Tara had found the apparent joy, Ford had taken in dispatching Walkers, somewhat disturbing. Rosita remained eye-candy, for now; but the source character does have something to offer. Eugene could be considered a representative of the thinking man in an action man’s world; dangerously dysfunctional as a warrior, but essential to any restorative future. I imagine Ford kept that in mind after Eugene made a remark about being smarter than the Sergeant (even after having committed a pretty bone-headed stunt). In order for Ford to maintain his absolute faith in their mission, he would have to share that belief.
With Glenn momentarily setting the pace for team Ford, in search of Maggie, and Rick’s party now literally on track to Sanctuary, the question becomes whether season four will culminate in a reunion and reset, for the old cast, or a demarcation point for a sea-change. Whether the Reaver threat will linger, at present, or snowball (one Reaver was a witness to Rick’s role in their house warming troubles) into the principal threat (Jeff Kober‘s presence, as the Reaver on the porch would be wasted on a one-shot appearance). Whether the Zombie Apocalypse will remain a matter of local theater, or enter a national (even international?) stage. Overall, there is now the question of whether the show is headed for restoration, or reinvention.