the walking dead season 4 episode 11 claimed

In ‘Claimed’ we look at the three kinds of people created by the zombie apocalypse – those who give up, those who pillage and those who stand up for humanity. 

For now, it seems that Glenn and Tara have found people who want to stand up for humanity. Abraham and his companions, Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) are traveling to D.C. so that Dr. Porter can put an end to the walkers – because he knows the cause of the virus. Of course,  he doesn’t reveal the cause to Glenn or Tara, so we’re left in the dark.

What makes this band of characters so interesting, and so very different from people we’ve seen before, is that they aren’t immediately suspicious of others. They put humanity first, even above themselves. Abraham believes what it took Rick a long time to learn – there’s safety in numbers and they need each other to survive. New people are not a threat. They are an asset.

So, when Glenn bashes in the back window of the Abraham’s truck and tries to run away to look for Maggie, Abraham doesn’t let him go. He also doesn’t play coy either. He tells Glenn exactly where they are going and why. Eugene may keep secrets, but Abraham is completely open about his intentions.

Besides lacking Abraham’s openness, Dr. Porter also lacks Abraham’s skills with a gun and, in an attempt to kill walkers, Eugene shoots up the truck. This is a bit of a plot device because now they can’t get to D.C. until they find another method of transportation. Until then, they follow Glenn to search for Maggie.

michonne the walking dead claimed

Meanwhile, Michonne and Carl leave Rick and go on a supply run. Rick looks nearly restored this episode. It seems a bit like TV magic, but I’m not sure how much time has passed from last week’s events to now. In any case, he’s not well enough to go on a supply run, so he stays at the house alone. I’m not sure why anyone thought this was a good idea, because as an audience member, you know leaving an unwell person alone in the middle of the apocalypse spells trouble.

So when the pillagers showed up at the house while Rick was asleep, I rolled my eyes. Rick’s home invasion storyline had zero tension or sense of urgency for me. Although Andrew Lincoln did an excellent job communicating his character’s fear, there were simply no stakes involved.

As an audience, we know that Rick isn’t going to die. Rick is the anchor of the show. While the scenes served as a great parallel to Glenn’s encounter with Abraham, showing us that not everyone has good intentions, they fell flat and failed to be compelling.

However, Michonne and Carl’s story was compelling, enlightening and frightening. Say what you want about Chandler Riggs’ acting, he shines when he shares the screen with Danai Gurira. The actors’ chemistry is what sells their scenes and makes the small reveals about Michonne’s past seem natural and not like blatant exposition.

We learn that Michonne’s son’s name was Andre and that he was three when he died. We also learn that Carl is the only person she’s told about her son. This makes their relationship even more endearing. It’s not a foster mother/son relationship. It’s much more of a close aunt/nephew relationship, which isn’t something we often see on television.

the walking dead claimed carl

Unfortunately though, their time of bonding and hunting for supplies turns very dark. While scoping out rooms in an abandoned house, Michonne finds herself in a room meant for a small child – a child who would have been about the age of her son. She walks through the room and you can tell that Michonne is remembering her son and also wondering what happened to the children who lived in that house.

As she opens the next door, she finds out exactly what happened to them.

In a room painted bright pink with equally bright pink accessories (no doubt a soft metaphor for blood), the children are laid out together on a bed, clutching stuffed animals. They are victims of the apocalypse, but not in the way that you might think. Their entire family is in the room with them, victims of a murder-suicide. It may have been something the entire family discussed and decided to do together. This is what makes it so frightening.  You realize that these were not the only people to make such a horrible choice. They felt their options were to wait for the virus to overtake them in one way or another, or to take their death into their own hands and die as humans. They never imagined they could survive these dark times.

Again, this show forces us to ask ourselves what we would do in such a situation. Would we turn into marauders and give into our dark sides, would we give up on life or would we stay and fight for humanity?

Which would you do?

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.

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