The Walking Dead season 4 episode 11 review: Claimed

Review Ron Hogan 24 Feb 2014 - 07:00

The Walking Dead introduces some new faces in this week's tense episode. Here's Ron's review...

This review contains spoilers.

4.11 Claimed

There's a pattern to the behaviour that Rick Grimes has established. Once he gets to a nice, relatively safe location, he doesn't like to stray too far from that locale. He'll go on supply runs and stuff, but Rick is apparently the homebody in The Walking Dead's universe, which explains why he's decided to hang around at their borrowed house for another day or two, to get his strength back and make a plan on what to do next. It's a good idea in theory, especially since Carl and Michonne can go find food while Rick curls up with a good book, but it's a bad idea in the television world, because there's no such thing as a safe place.

This seems to be a recurring theme in The Walking Dead. Camp one minute, charnal house the next. Hershel's farm was a haven of peace and quiet until it was a killing field. The CDC? Blew itself up, of course, and the people within it. The prison and Woodbury were both safe places, until one found out about the other. Given Rick's track record, this house can't stay safe for too long, and it happens to be discovered by a team of bandits while Rick is all by himself—unarmed, no less.

One of the things I can say for director Seith Mann is that he can really create visual tension. The A plot, featuring Rick hiding under the bed while raiders rummage through his borrowed house, was flawlessly executed suspense. If you replace the three dumb raiders with Michael Myers, and if you replace Rick with Jamie Lee Curtis, you'd have a great mini-sequel to Halloween just on the basis of Rick's skulking and slinking through the house, narrowly avoiding the guys who probably want to kill him. The fact that every time someone starts snoring in the bed over top of Rick, someone comes to interrupt him before he can sneak away is pretty funny, and Rick's facial expression every time someone lays down in the bed on top of where he's hiding is stellar salesmanship. It's a credit to Andrew Lincoln that he's able to look so scared without it ending up comedic.

However, the official introduction of new characters Abraham (Michael Cudlitz gets a future fan favourite, if only because he's funny), Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) isn't handled quite as well. I like Abraham okay, and Rosita is also there, but Eugene is just... he doesn't seem to work quite as well. I get that there's obviously something going on with him, considering the fact that A) he has a mullet and B) he doesn't seem to know how to handle a gun, but the whole scene in which Eugene destroys their only mode of transportation with a machine gun by mistake just doesn't play right to me.

I don't think a vehicle like that could be taken out so easily by a fairly low-powered automatic weapon (and Abraham's story further casts doubt on the whole event). An M35 or similar medium duty truck should be able to withstand small arms fire unless you hit it in exactly the right places, which maybe Eugene did by mistake. I guess I should just suspend disbelief on that one, but Eugene feels very wrong to me, which may be a credit to McDermitt's acting skills. Eugene feels like a character hiding something, and his line about heading to Washington, D.C., rings completely false, in a deliberate way (unlike the truck, which is either deliberate sabotage or just a TV trope).

Why one little scene bothers me so much I don't know, because other than that, it's a really solid episode from the collective pen of Nichole Beattie and Seth Hoffman. Michonne's slow warm-up continues (and Danai Gurira's expression upon discovering the dead inhabitants of the house she was raiding with Carl was top notch) and the show even finds a way to make Carl a little more tolerable by giving him some emotional warm-up time, even if it does foreshadow Rick's impending troubles too strongly when he gives his gun to Carl. Carl should already have a gun of some sort (he did just last week), and Rick shouldn't voluntarily remove his firearm in a world where he's already had to shoot several armed, belligerent forces.

Rick's not the best decision maker in the show's history, that's for sure. Second only to perhaps Abraham for leaving assault weapons where Eugene can get his hands on them. Still, things seem to be moving forward (and in the general direction of Terminus, no less) while Glenn and his new buddies the GI Joes are also on the move. I'd rather the show leave a location too soon than stick around too long, so losing the house and hopping off the truck to DC seem like wise choices.

Next week, I look forward to checking in with Daryl, Tyreese and his new white family, and the rest of the gang.

Read Ron's review of the previous episode, Inmates, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan enjoys The Walking Dead's house porn so he can figure out how not to remodel his old house to defend it more easily against zombie attacks. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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Disqus - noscript

Not reading a word til after I watch it tonight.

Holy Shazbot! (Please excuse the Orkian expletive). But three very good episodes of Walking Dead in a row?!! So far this season the writing has been better, the tension palpable, the acting great (especially from Riggs) and they seem to have struck the right balance between thoughtful character drama, action and zombie gore. Abraham is a breath of fresh air, too - and he makes jokes!
I do like this show, don't get me wrong, but this is the first time I've wanted to just binge the rest of a season of WD all in one go.
Really looking forward to next week!

"I don't think a vehicle like that could be taken out so easily by a fairly low-powered automatic weapon"

For starters, the rifle used is not a "low powered" weapon. It's shooting a chunk of lead around 3,000 feet per second. The M35 truck is not an armored vehicle. This is why insurgents go after them, because they are one of the weakest targets in a military.

Watching the episode, several rounds clearly impacted on the fuel tank causing it to leak. Those trucks are diesel fueled so they're unlikely to catch fire from that. 7-8 holes in a tank like that in a post-apocalyptic world is not an easy fix in the middle of nowhere.

Very easily believable.

-Retired soldier

Don't comment either?

Take your own advice?

My comment is actually a statement. It's an opinion. It's something. Yours is just "I haven't read the article.... bye."

Not even "I haven't seen the episode but cannot wait until tonight when I can see it! So excited!" Just "I have nothing to say." It seems odd to make an active choice to contribute nothing.

I don't assume anybody cares what I have to say anyway, I figure they'll ignore me, the guy who comments early in the morning just so DoG won't divert me to their US site in which he can't see the comments section...

So thanks for NOT ignoring me and FOR the helpful advice which I will no doubt guard in my heart.

So you commented for a reason? I'm not sure I understand how it works. You have to comment at a certain time to avoid being diverted to the US version of the site when you come back later?

Pretty much, later in the morning, iit sends me straight to the US site. Nobody comments there, it's boring. UK Is fun! So when I wake up, I comment, so that later once I've gotten the kids ready for school and I've worked out and eaten 3 breakfasts, I can go back and see what's up. If I miss something and don't want it spoiled, bookmarking it won't work, sends me to US. So I ramble some incoherent 5 am nonsense and either people comment, ignore, like, dislike, or whatever combination thereof, my comment. Maybe nextxtime I can include a stock market update, sorry

Just a little thing, but I thought the defaced painting was a very original and unexpected way of cranking up the tension, and Danai played the whole scene perfectly.

Carl wasted all his bullets last week hence he has no weapon. This was the most intense episode for ages

To be fair to him, he's excited for the show. He obviously cares about the product (look at his username), and he posts on a hell of a lot of articles and not just TWD. He wasn't trying to offend anyone and wasn't posting spoilers or anything like that - just showing his excitement.

I actually like seeing what he has to say - he almost always has something relevant to say and engages in conversation about it rather than just posting a thought and disregarding everyone else's opinion. The point of talk backs like this is for people to share enthusiasm as well as critique the subject, where as I don't think the point is to jump straight on an active member of the communities back for no good reason. If he makes a point you don't agree with feel free to debates, but don't just sling mud without contributing anything to the discussion yourself - your entire contribution to the thread has included not a single reference to this article or The Walking Dead.

To what extent are we allowed to discuss the comics in here? I wouldn't want to spoil anything in regards to Abraham, Eugene and Rosita as I'm pretty sure their short to mid term arcs will play out the same way. However, the Terminus thing isn't in the comics - at least not by that name. Are we allowed to speculate based on comic story lines? It's not like Game of Thrones where most plots will still take place, it's deviated a lot at points, but been pretty rigid at others, while swapping characters and settings at other points.

Any chance of a separate article to comment on for fans of the books? Could have the same article rolling each week, just linked back to at the end of each of Ron's reviews? Might work for other adaptations (like Game of Thrones, not that I'd use that one as I haven't read the books!). Gives a forum for us to discuss without fear of spoiling for others?

Fair enough. I hate it when I'm redirected to UK sites when I want the US version, but I've never seen the comments system be used as a way around it, so I hope you understand my reaction to what seemed like a bafflingly unnecessary comment. I do not know if anything can be done to change the re-direction, but maybe if your initial comment were to explain your situation in a pretty simple way then maybe someone will look into fixing the problem (again, this is possibly impossible).

I didn't look at his post history to see his previous posts and I think that even if I did, I would have assumed that he's so used to being a part of discussion on the site that he wanted to be a part of it even when he had nothing to say. Obviously, we have found out that is not the case.

"I actually like seeing what he has to say" I probably would as well, not sure why you're bringing that up. My comment wasn't an attack on his overall commenting history, just a query regarding the one in this article.

"If he makes a point you don't agree with feel free to debates, but don't just sling mud without contributing anything to the discussion yourself"

I wouldn't have "slung mud" at anyone for expressing an opinion I disagreed with, or anything like that. I was just baffled by a comment that expressed nothing. I also don't agree that I slung mud and I believe you may have taken my comments to be read with more hostility than I intended.

I guess I found his comment more interesting than the episode itself. If you would like my opinion on it, the Michonne/Carl opening scenes were pretty forced, but it was nice to have her open up to Carl later. Rick in the house was some great tense stuff. I agree with the review regarding Eugene. It's early days yet, but the few lines he had weren't my favourites.

Just me who found the new characters the most cringeworthy additions to the series ever? They were so incredibly cheesy. Like something out of a comic book...oh.

Ha, obviously i'm aware they all are, but at least the characters from the comics were made kinda real and were never too over the top. These new ones are just incredibly cliched. Really irritated me.

Just me who found the new characters the most cringeworthy additions to the series ever? They were so incredibly cheesy. Like something out of a comic book...oh.

Ha, obviously i'm aware they all are, but at least the other characters were taken from the comics and made kinda real and were never too over the top. These new ones are just incredibly cliched. Really irritated me.

The mullet guy shot the truck on purpose. That's why your confused by the scene. It is so obvious, especially the way it keeps camera on him.

He even says to the other guy that he's smarter than him, but for this reason also. There is certainly something going on with him, but not what you may think.

What irritated me the most was the girl questioning the 'hero' guy's motives in terms of him 'being good' and 'saving the world'. He is obviously a set up character, put in the show so we can have an example of 'wanna be hero' type who may or may not be a bad guy (ie The Cube).

Then the girl attacks him for his very purpose on the show. Then she is all smug and thinks she's better, when her character is even more cringe worthy. This was really contrived and annoying. Don't put in one dimensional/one purpose characters then attack them for the reason of their very existence in the show. LOL.

Just as a note, trying to avoid spoilers, but I can tell you you're right about feeling there's something wrong with Eugene's scene, but it's the way it's supposed to be played out. If anything my only qualm about these three characters is that they feel very comic-bookie still, I hope eventually they'll round them up a bit more.

Rick gave Carl his gun because in Episode 9 Carl spent all his remaining bullets when he went scavenging, so this wasn't a stupid decision.

perhaps using no-script might stop it redirecting you to the us site

Without getting too deep into comic spoilers here; given who played one of the Raiders (Jeff Kober - SoA etc) are we to assume that this is foreshadowing to the next big bad? I find it unlikely he was brought in for such a small role - character actor or not. There's a history of this as the group encountered in S2 were clearly Governor affiliates.

Fair enough - a short 3 word comment regarding someone else's input to a thread did come across as aggressive, pedantic and similarly uncalled for. Apologies it was taken as hostile, but that's the drawback of forums and talk backs - no tone of voice!

Now, enough of all that - let's discuss the episode. I don't think the Carl/Michonne bit was overly forced. Instead to me it came across as forced because that's what both characters arcs demand. Michonne is really trying to integrate with the core group - specifically Carl and Rick, while Carl is still coming to terms with Judith's 'death' and doesn't have anyone his own age for miles (other than psycho girl). Of course it's forced - it's an awkward situation being driven by a woman who hallucinates regularly.

Eugene hasn't carried over well for me, he doesn't have a presence that would convince me that he holds the key to humanities redemption, he strikes me as a fat kid with a mullet that isn't intelligent enough to walk over to his friends instead of pick up a rifle and shoot aimlessly.

Fear the hunters?

Talking about suspending disbelief, why was the guy that Rick killed in the bathroom just sat on the toilet with his pants up? Haha

Either that or an antagonist that makes the Governor look tame in comparison.

The bouncing ball guy (presumably the Alpha) was an actor that I recognised but cannot name right now. So I don't think that is the last time we will see them, and there could well be a FTH arc coming up (although we won't get the outstanding "Tainted Meat" line, since that character is already dead).

My money is on Tyrees taking that honour...

How do you do it? I don't know what no script is

Fair enough. Next time I'll at least chisel the crust out of my eyes before commenting.

The actor is Jeff Kober - he's in loads of things so there's no way that's the last we've seen from him.

good catch. I've just looked him up on IMDB and he has been in loads of stuff I have seen: he was in Star Trek Enterprise and Voyager, he played magic dealer Rack in Buffy, he was one of the prominent convicts in the excellent Supernatural episode "Folsom Prison Blues" and he was the helpful mechanic who freed Kate from her manacles in a final season episode of Lost. And his Walking Dead character has a name: Harley. So no I really don't think that is the last we will see of him. (although lets not forget that Sam Witwer only ended up as a Lurker in a tank in episode 2).

Eugene shot the truck on purpose because he is lying about the cure. If they get to Washington, everyone will know. So it's to his benefit to follow Glenn.

I'm sure there's a forum for that somewhere. Also, the show has deviated heavily from the comics to a point where it's almost impossible to spoil the show with scenes from the books. I spoiled Eugene above, but I'm pretty sure he won't be the exact same character. For example, I speculate he will be killed instead of... well, we'll see. ;)

I'm sure there's a forum somewhere, but I like Den of Geek and want to talk about it here!

Granted, it's deviated a lot at points but other bits are really similar. The prison. Hershel's death (although it was someone else's). Eugene is exact so far, so I'm not going to go there. Same as little psycho girl is probably taking another arc from the comics, of a child known in the prison days that's not in the show- don't want to give too much away to others.

You really shouldn't have posted that spoiler above, though. It's obvious that's where it's going so you didn't have to spoil it. It's not fair on others. Can you go and edit it to delete it??

HAHAHA my exact reaction! He's boots were off though, so maybe he was cleaning them or something, but it was really funny. The toilet lid was down too, so I assume he was just using it as a chair... weird.

I don't know her name, but she really annoys me, maybe she's a big part in the comics, so I think it's the actress that grates me. Hopefully she'll soon go the way all of the other females go in this series.

I was waiting for Rick to screw up, since he's become like a child lately. He didn't listen to me when I shouted "Kill the Governor, take out your gun and shoot him", but at least he listened to me when I shouted "Don't be a hero, run to Mischonne and get the heck out of there!"

I thought the episode before was tripe. this one was actually really good. I still don't know why I hang around though, it's so incredibly bi-polar in quality. Actually more like 15% good...

The group from the bar in S2 seemed too disorganised to be part of the Governor's crew to me. Also, I've been under the impression that Hershal's farm was quite a long way from the prison/Woodbury, based on the fact that they were on the road for months before they stumbled across it.

You guys... Are smarter than me. Suddenly I like TV Eugene more.

I like him right now. Currently, in the comics, he makes me wanna slap em.

She's not in the comics, it's just get. But she is in the rise of the governor novel, so take it from me, they toned her down a lot. I'll explain if you don't mind the spoiler, otherwise, well, just read it.

I just say ***SPOILER ALERT FOR SHOW OR COMIC*** and if they read on, then they must not care for whatever reason.

I don't trust Eugene. Not sure I trust anyone with a mullet.

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