Rick can't catch a break. Glenn and Tara learn more about the mystery trio.
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Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The back half of season four’s focus on character development continues in this transition episode as the writers take their sweet time answering viewer questions. While I’m glad Michonne, Rick, and Carl are back on the road, or rather tracks, and we have been properly introduced to Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene, I don’t know if I can handle another pure character study episode. And that’s coming from someone who loves character-centric episodes! (Unlike many viewers, for the most part, I liked the Governor episodes.) Mysteries hinted at in early episodes are still mysteries. Plus, more mysteries keep piling up as the season progresses! When will I not be plagued by multitudes of questions? When?! This is what happens when you care too much about a TV show.

The Truck

“Claimed” opens on a street sign for Crook Road. Below, a trio of Walkers enamored with a deflated balloon tied to the sign are distracted by a passing truck on the adjacent street. In the truck bed, Tara writes down “Crook Rd” on the palm of her hand, as the back of her hand is already filled with road markers and directions including — BUS. The truck stops as cars block the rest of the street. The Walker trio approach the truck bed, and Tara readies her rifle. Before she fires, Abraham exits the driver seat, barking “Do not fire that weapon.” (Unlike Carl and Bob, Abraham refreshingly does not come from the School of Let’s Waste All Our Bullets For No Reason.) With a chuckle as jolly as his hair is red, he impales the zombies, using the butt of Tara’s rifle to finish them. In awe, Tara notes, “You smiled. You were smiling.” Taking a moment to answer, Abraham replies in a serious tone, “Well I’m the luckiest guy in the world. Why don’t you help me with these cars; we’ve got some miles to go.”

A go-getter who gladly includes desperate people into his group AND isn’t (visibly) plagued with existential angst? I think I’m going to like this guy.

Later, Glenn awakes from the truck bed, disoriented and confused. Tara explains that he passed out on the road, and the safety of the truck seemed better than the vulnerability of the side of the road. He asks about the bus, but they passed it three hours ago. The people at the bus “were all dead,” indicating that by the time they passed the bus, Maggie, Sasha, and Bob had already killed the bus Walkers. Glenn and Tara bang and yell until Abraham stops the truck. Without a second thought, Glenn grabs his pack and rifle and jumps off the truck, heading back towards the bus. Tara follows — as does the rest of the group. Abraham stops Glenn in his tracks. He formally introduces himself along with his companions: They are Sgt. Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and Dr. Eugene Porter. They’re on a mission to bring Eugene to Washington, DC as Eugene “knows exactly what caused this mess.” Eugene’s immediate answer to what that exactly is — “it’s classified.” Great. How I wish this were all true. I just remember the CDC fiasco all too well.

Abraham wants Glenn’s help on the mission, stating, “We need people — the more, the better.” Glenn declines the offer, heading back down the road. Tara accompanies him. Having written down the truck’s route, she can guide him back to the bus where Maggie might look for him. (He’s right, just not on the timing.)

However, Abraham is persistent, emphasizing that Maggie is gone. He states, “When the people we love kick — when they disappear, it doesn’t mean you gotta go out that way, too.” With those encouraging words, Glenn responds in kind, punching Abraham square in the jaw. Glenn walks off, asserting Maggie is alive, and he will find her. Sgt. Ford is not a man to let things go; he jumps Glenn’s back and pummels him to the ground. Abraham and Glenn’s kerfuffle attracts Walkers from the woods and cornfields. Eugene, in his scientific wisdom, randomly shoots a rifle, putting holes into the truck, and more importantly, the truck’s gas tank. Although they dispose of the Walker horde, they waste precious ammo (A major no-no in the School of Let’s Not Waste All Our Bullets For No Reason) and are out of a running vehicle. Son of a d—, Eugene!

NEXT: Suburban living, Zombiepocalypse-style

Abraham checks the truck, confirming that it’s out of commission. He asks Eugene how he could possibly take out the military vehicle when a camel filled with C4 couldn’t do the job for the same type of vehicle back in the war. (Wait, what? Abraham definitely has some stories to tell.) Eugene chalks it up to his “fully amped up state and ignorance of rapid firing weapons.” Wow. Who are these people? Eventually, Rosita, Eugene, and Abraham — in that order — decide to accompany Glenn and Tara on their mission to find Maggie. They’ll tag along until they can find another vehicle to take them to Washington DC.

While I like Abraham and don’t know enough about Rosita to form an opinion, I am already suspicious of Eugene. It’s his bland smile that worries me. It reminds me of the Tleilaxu from Dune who hide a formidable, sinister intellect behind a bland, boring face. Then again, how smart can a scientist with a mullet be? Or am I being hair-biased?

The House

Meanwhile, back in suburbia, it’s breakfast time at the Grimes-Whatever Is Michonne’s Last Name household. Michonne and Carl enjoy a hearty meal of dry cereal and water, but they are still in good spirits after reuniting. Michonne wishes for soy milk, which launches Carl into an animated story of trying and hating his lactose intolerant friend’s soy milk during lunch in the third grade. He seems happier than he’s been in awhile — until he stops short as he mentions Judith. (We know she’s alive, but Carl, Rick, and Michonne still assume she died back at the Prison.) One mention of her and Carl is back to being a young man of few words.

After breakfast, Rick thanks Michonne for cheering up Carl. Rick confesses that Carl needs her, as he “can’t be his father and his best friend.” Michonne is up for the task, having gone through a trial by fire — or Walkers — to realize she wants to be part of a family again. As she pointedly states, she is “done taking breaks.” This scene would have been more poignant if it weren’t for the dichotomy between Michonne in a newly found crisp, clean button-down shirt and Rick still in his rags from the Prison. He really never changes his shirt, does he?

Nonetheless, this group promises the start of something new (Sorry to use a High School Musical phrase) that I’m excited to see develop. They decide to stay at the house as they figure out their next move. Michonne and Carl leave to gather more supplies. Rick stays behind at Michonne’s insistence, and let’s face it, he needs the rest. He hands over his gun to Carl, ensuring Carl can waste all of their remaining bullets.

NEXT: Crazy Cheese commiseration

Michonne and Carl

Michonne and Carl do well on their haul, filling bags of various sizes with supplies. Carl remains shut down and aloof — not even the allure of Crazy Cheese brings him out of his shell. (Michonne’s face covered in Crazy Cheese will forever be one of my favorite Michonne moments.) She apologizes, stating that she’s not very good at making boys his age laugh, unlike toddlers. Then, in as nonchalant a manner as she can muster, she shares, “I had a three-year-old son, and he happened to find me extremely funny.”

Pretending that she didn’t just drop a major bombshell of a personal revelation on Carl, Michonne proceeds to search for supplies in a new house. Carl barrages her with questions, which she ignores. She then agrees to answer his questions under certain conditions: “One question at a time, one room at a time, and only after we’ve cleared it.”

In the next room, Michonne answers Carl’s next question, revealing that her son’s name was Andre Anthony. In the hallway, she shares that he was her only child, “a handful” just like Carl. As Carl questions Michonne, she takes in the artwork of the house, reminiscent of her past visit to an art gallery with Mike and Terry. These paintings, however, are images of simple cheer including brightly colored flowers, a cartoon-like dog, and rabbits with bright orange carrots.

Carl then asks her, “When did it happen?” Reining in her emotions, she answers truthfully but cryptically, “It happened after…everything happened.” (I hate to say it, but what happened to Andre?) Michonne opening up to Carl, being vulnerable and emotionally open with him, is not only a major step for her character but also a calculated move to encourage Carl to open up himself. Michonne was a mother. That was and still is part of her self-identity. Now, she has the opportunity to utilize those instincts once again.

Michonne uncovers another painting. Unlike the others, this painting is super dark. Michonne checks on the unexplored rooms to see if things got super dark at the house, too. Going through a child’s room, she finds the house’s original inhabitants dead together in another child’s room, this one sickly pink. Carl reunites with Michonne, just as she shuts the door to the pink room. He immediately jumps to the conclusion that there’s a dead baby inside, confirming Judith is ever-present in his mind. Carl offers, “Maybe her and Andre are together somewhere.” Michonne smiles and nods — not necessarily because she believes him but because he’s commiserating with her. Michonne and Carl will never have the relationship that Michonne and Andre or Lori and Carl would have had, but in such a cruel world, this is their acknowledgment of how lucky they are to have found one another.

NEXT: Rick rolls himself out of danger


Still bruised and battered from his encounter with the Governor, Rick changes his dressings and settles himself on the master bed with a paperback of Selected Short Stories by Jack London. He even changes into a clean(ish) white T-shirt! Ah, finally, Rick Grimes can enjoy some peace and quiet. Ha. Ha ha ha. As if.

Rick lies dead asleep on the bed, making hardly a dent into his book. Men’s voices can be heard from downstairs, and it isn’t from a TV in the living room. Rick finally awakes to the sound of a man’s cries of pain over which other men’s voices taunt and laugh. He instinctively reaches from his gun, remembering he gave it to Carl. One of the men makes his way upstairs to search the rooms. Rick grabs his book, watch, and water in a frenzy, ducking under the bed, V for Vendetta-style. A few tense moments pass. Luckily, the intruder doesn’t hear Rick’s shallow breaths or his ticking watch from under the bed. Unluckily, the intruder proceeds to take Rick’s place in bed and take a nap. Rick’s life is like one deadly Rickroll.

With Rick still trapped under the bed, another bed intruder moseys into the room, declaring that he wants to sleep in the master bedroom. He complains that the other rooms have “kid’s beds,” although the bed in the teen’s room looked mighty comfortable, especially for post-apocalyptic standards. “It’s claimed,” grunts Bed Intruder One. (Episode title, natch!) Bed Intruder Two doesn’t respond well to this, and they fight. One of the intruders falls to the ground and sees Rick, only to pass out at the strangling hands of the other intruder.

After waiting for Bed Intruder Two to fall asleep, Rick bobs and weaves from room to room, avoiding the intruders. He grabs a trophy from the teen’s room to finish off the unconscious Bed Intruder who saw him. Just as he is about to strike, another intruder heads upstairs to retrieve a weapon. Rick ducks into the bathroom, only to startle another intruder sitting on the toilet.

This all occurs as the intruders discover one of Michonne’s washed shirts. They then call dibs over who has his “turn” with her first. If it wasn’t clear before, it is now — these are not good people.

A quiet fight ensues as Rick chokes the Bathroom Intruder to death. Armed with scissors and the intruder’s gun, Rick escapes the bathroom through the window and onto the roof. Before he leaves, he opens the bathroom door, just enough to allow Bathroom Walker to wreak havoc amongst the other intruders. Rick jumps safely onto the conveniently porch below and makes his way towards the front of the house. Granted, it’s more than likely Rick would not have survived a fall to the ground, given his fragile health. He awaits by the front porch as he hears the bouncing of a ball. Ball Intruder sits on the porch, eating canned food, whistling, and spitting like the menacing creep he is. Just as Rick wills himself to kill Ball Intruder to ensure his and his family’s survival, the Ball Intruder and the others are distracted by the “dead alive prick” that pops up inside the house. Rick runs towards the approaching Carl and Michonne and urges them to run away, back to a life on the road.

Michonne, Rick, and Carl make it to the tracks, unwittingly following the footsteps of Daryl, Beth, Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie, Mika, and Judith. They arrive at a sign for Terminus with the same slogan, “Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive survive.” They decide to roll the dice and make their way towards Terminus, leaving behind a trail of Crazy Cheese and questions.

Walker of the week: Walkers roaming the woods are eerie enough, but Walkers emerging from cornfields definitely ups the creep factor another notch. What’s scarier — the Walkers of the corn or the Children of the Corn?

Questions to consider:

Since both groups are heading towards Terminus, Michonne, Rick, and Carl must eventually run into Tyreese, Carol, and the girls, right?

If Michonne, Rick, and Carl encountered a Terminus marker, does that mean Daryl and Beth will also find a marker? Would they head that way?

Does Eugene really know what caused the Zombiepocalypse? Even if he did, could he do anything to stop or cure the disease?

I have more questions, but I’m sure you have just as many to consider. There are so many questions, it’s almost overwhelming. Ponder the mysteries of life and The Walking Dead in the comments below.

Episode Recaps

The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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