If you have yet to watch last Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead, titled "Claimed," DO NOT CONTINUE READING! I will reiterate certain moments that transpired in the episode. So for those who hate spoilers, you have been forewarned.
"Claimed" was nothing short of spectacular! Scott Gimple's formula for using each episode to focus on a specific group of survivors has worked extremely well so far in the back half of this season. This should come as no surprise, since he also wrote the episode "Clear" that aired back in season three. That was the one that featured the return of Morgan, but also focused especially on Michonne, Carl and Rick. That episode was met with rave reviews because we got to see specific characters evolve further, such as Rick relieving his mind a bit more, and Michonne proving that she belonged with the entire group. In "Claimed," the aforementioned trio were featured again, along with the newest trio from the comics, Sergeant Abraham Ford (because military ranks are still "all that" in a zombie apocalypse), Rosita Espinosa (who looks like a hooker), and Eugene Porter (who wants us all to know he is smarter than Ford).
There are a few interesting things that can be taken away from the episode. First of all, both Ford and Eugene seem intent on saving the world before all humans are eradicated. Eugene apparently knows all about why the apocalypse started in the first place, and so Ford wants to take him to Washington D.C. so that he can speak to government officials. Does anyone else besides me think that this is way too good to be true? Moreover, Ford and Glenn formed quite a rivalry at one point during "Claimed." Basically, Ford wanted to continue with that mission, while Glenn wanted to search for Maggie. He and Tara were about to leave Ford and his group, but Ford kept insisting that Glenn and Tara help him get to Washington. This conflict of interests led to Glenn sucker punching Ford, and then Ford taking him down and giving him a taste of his own medicine, so to speak.
Personally, I really liked watching Glenn and Ford go at each other the way they did. Glenn represented someone who feels like he needs to take a step back in order to continue surviving in the zombie apocalypse. In his mind, that step back manifests into actually finding Maggie, simply because without her, he may not have much reason to continue the on-going struggle. On the other hand, Ford represents someone who prefers to think logically and move ahead, while clearly understanding how to combat the rigors and torments that accompany an apocalypse. He needs to form larger alliances to continue surviving, whereas Glenn feels like he only needs Maggie. Ultimately, Glenn's decision was final, thanks in part to Ford's truck breaking down when they were all gunning down a herd of walkers. The result was that now Ford, Rosita and Eugene are accompanying Tara and Glenn in the search for Maggie. Is that a smart move to make? We shall see.
Furthermore, Carl and Michonne's bond has grown much stronger. As they were scavenging for food and other valuable supplies, Carl inquired about Michonne's past; specifically, about her child. We learned that she had only one child, a son by the name of Andre Anthony. Unfortunately, that is all we would learn about Michonne's back story by the time "Claimed" concluded. But, there is no doubt that her character development is becoming very interesting, as we have come to the realization that Michonne is much more than the tough, emotionless warrior we were introduced to in season three. Her ability to show emotion and sympathy for others is part of the reason why both Carl and Rick trust her. And, her ability to defend others is why they both need her. In turn, Michonne realized during the mid-season premiere that she cannot hope to survive by herself. The trio of Rick, Carl and Michonne is one to be reckoned with.
Speaking of Rick, how amazing was it to see him escape that group of strangers unscathed! They had invaded the home he, Carl and Michonne were residing in while Rick was asleep upstairs and the other two were out looking for valuables. Almost immediately, that group appeared very menacing, as we witnessed one murder another (Rick witnessed it up close from under a bed). Rick even had to stealth kill a man to prevent being exposed to the others. In the end, Rick managed to get out of that house and find his son and Michonne without being detected. If nothing else, Rick proved that he still has the tactics and expertise needed to survive. I think he might be ready to put his past issues aside and become a good leader again.
So with that said, what do you all think may happen next? In my opinion, I think that most of the scattered groups will probably meet up at that "sanctuary" that continues to be brought up in each episode that has aired thus far. Unfortunately for all the characters, that place may actually turn out be the very opposite of what a sanctuary should be, and will thus give everyone more dangerous obstacles to overcome. At this point, the group of Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie and Mika have seen a sign claiming that a sanctuary is available somewhere, and so they have sought out to look for it. At the end of "Claimed," Rick, Carl and Michonne also noticed a similar sign, and so they will be looking for it as well. Perhaps the other groups will encounter signs like these, and therefore they will go wherever the "sanctuary" is supposed to be located. It it highly unlikely that the makers of this show would introduce a place that is truly safe and peaceful. If that were the case, then all the characters would live happily ever after, and we 'TWD' viewers would get extremely disappointed because the show would come to an end. So, expect more blood and gore in this "sanctuary." Maybe, the introduction of a new nemesis, or group of villains, will take place there, in which case more major deaths will occur.
Also, Tyreese will find out specific information at some point in the near future about the murder of his former girlfriend, Karen. Despite Carol's confession to committing that heinous crime - along with her subsequent banishment by Rick - many fans think that she is actually covering for Lizzie, who could have slain Karen and David, at least in their minds. In spite of all the evidence against Lizzie , including how she seemed clearly capable of suffocating poor baby Judith, I still think that Carol did it. Call me ignorant or oblivious if you have to. But, my opinion will not budge until the facts are unveiled. Ultimately, what will matter more is not who killed Karen and David, but what Tyreese will do to whoever is truly guilty. If it is Lizzie, he may (I reiterate, MAY) refrain from punishing her in a severe manner. If it is Carol, oh boy! She could be gone for good. My question is: will anyone else be around to stop Tyreese from hurting Carol? Lizzie and Mika might try to defend Carol, but all Tyreese has to do is poke them to get passed them. Because of this, I believe that Rick will encounter Carol very soon. The two of them, along with Tyreese, need to have a serious and enlightening conversation, sans any weapons.
Lastly, I mentioned in my previous article that I do hold a bit of skepticism in regards to Eugene Porter . As I stated before, Ford claims that Eugene knows about the origins of the zombie apocalypse, and so he may be the key to saving humankind from further disaster. But, there is something about him that is gnawing at my soul. Maybe, it's that freaky mullet he's sporting. Or maybe, it's how quiet and reserved he appears to be. During "Claimed," Eugene probably spoke two or three lines in total. To be fair, not much more can be expected from him, since this is only the second episode he has appeared in so far. And besides, Ford can certainly do all the talking himself; he showed signs of true leadership when conversing with Glenn. Having said that, though, Eugene does not seem to be too engaged with what is going on around him. When Ford was trying to convince Glenn to stick with his group, only Rosita showed some interest by following them as Glenn and Tara were about to move on by themselves. Eugene, however, merely stayed close to the truck. Now, he could have been doing that to guard their items, while also keeping an eye on the other side of the road for potential incoming walkers. But from my point of view, Eugene just seemed too disengaged and uninterested for my liking. To me, he's the kind of character that likes to hold deep, dark secrets until he is forced to reveal them. My skepticism of him is part of the reason why Ford's mission to take Eugene to Washington D.C. to speak with government officials appears too good to be true. Eugene admitted to have shot at the truck by accident while trying to kill all the walkers, which was what caused it to break down. Would it be completely out of the question to theorize that he may have shot at the truck on purpose? Again, the whole deep, dark secret thing I mentioned before just seems to make more and more sense to me. But again, this is all conjecture based on my early assessment of Eugene Porter. I could very well be wrong, and there is no doubt that I will need to learn much more about him. Those of you who have read the comics may have a better understanding of who this character really is, and what he is like.
Finally, it is time for you all to sound off in the comments section below. First, share with me all your thoughts about "Claimed." Then, give me your bold predictions as to what may happen next in the show. I know that's really difficult to do. But, do it anyways!