Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Good and Bad: 'The Walking Dead' (2/23/14)


Season 4, Episode 11: Claimed

Plot: So now that we know where everybody is, it’s time to start giving them stuff to do. And boy do they get stuff. Michonne and Carl spend the episode wandering around town looking for food, but all they find is cheese in a can and backstory. We learn a little about Michonne’s life before Z-day, but sadly no mention of her ninja training with a goateed Liam Neeson.  
Also this week, Rick proves once again why he should never ever be allowed to go to sleep. This time, not only does he wake up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, but he wakes up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with a heavily armed gang of crazies taking over the first floor of the house he was napping in. A heavily armed gang of crazies that are more than willing to choke each other out for the right to sleep in what looks like the world’s least comfortable bed. After hiding under said bed like Kevin McAllister for a bit, Rick sneaks out, kills what we can only hope and assume was a gang member on that toilet and then saves Carl and Michonne from wandering right smack what seems to be a pretty bad situation.
Meanwhile, Glenn and Tara are headed to Washington, D.C. with Rectangle head, Danny McBride and Latina Sarah Conner. Well, they are until Glenn wakes up and decides to go find his wife. A large scuffle ensues, a herd of walkers descends on the scene and Danny McBride valiantly, heroically manages to completely destroy the group’s truck with a machine gun while killing almost no walkers. But before you start calling him “The Walking Dead”’s mulleted Gilligan, the man does seem to have a purpose. Rectangle head, who seems to prefer going by the less geometrically accurate name of Abraham, informs the gang that the reason they were headed to D.C. was because Danny McBride knows what started the zombie apocalypse and presumably how to stop it. Sure saving the world is important and all, but first Glenn needs to find his wife and because Ladies Love Cool Glenn, Tara and Latina Sara Conner follow suit, dragging their two male companions along for the ride.

Good: Road episode. This is why the show needs to stay on the road. Between Rick dealing with the crazy, bed and choke hold loving gang to Michonne gradually realizing something horrible had happened in the house her and Carl were poking around in, there were plenty of moments of genuine tension in this episode. You only get that kind of roving, random danger when characters aren’t dug in like ticks in some permanent hideout.

Good: Unlikely ladies’ man Glenn. Every now and then, it’s fun to think back to the days when Glenn was just some skinny little punk in a baseball cap. Now, he’s married to the hottest lady on the show, with two of the rest of the top five hottest ladies nipping at his heels. He’s come a long way since he was dangled into a well as walker bait.

Bad: Silly Michonne. Silly Michonne can be done well, remember her and that weird statue thing she insists in recuing from the dinner where Carl gets the picture of his family last season? The thing with the cheese in a can and her awkward soliloquy about soy milk weren’t great.

Bad: Learning about Michonne. Despite spending a lot of time talking about how we’re going to learn more about her, we actually don’t learn much beyond stuff we already could have guessed. Still, what we get is pretty good, but let’s stop dancing around here and actually tell us a thing or two about her already.

Good: Whatever the hell happened in that house. Michonne starts playing detective after she finds a painting of a walker in the house. Eventually, she finds a room with a bunch of really dead (not walkers) people, a few of whom are lying in a bed. From what I gather, it looks like a family that chose to die together, but it was kind of hard to tell. Did I mention everyone was really, really dead? Anyway, Michonne has a nice, subtle reaction to this, playing off her guilt over the fact that her kid is dead and she is not. What she lacks in concrete backstory, she makes up for in emotional development.

Bad/Good: There’s a cure! Maybe! I can’t decide on this one. In a show where all everyone ever cares about is their own rapidly expanding and contracting spheres of influence, it might be nice for a little big picture focus for a bit. Or it could just turn into a longer version of every zombie movie ever made.

Good: Abraham’s gang and humor. If the exchanges between Abraham and Danny McBride continue to be this hilarious, I may actually take the time to learn all of these new characters’ names.

Good: “Son of a dick!” Finally this show has its catchphrase. Put that on some lunchboxes.

Bad: Rick, Michonne and Carl are terminated. Not really, but they do find the sign for Terminus, the mysterious settlement thing from last week’s episode, meaning everyone is headed there. Well, expect for Glenn’s crew, but they’re looking for Maggie who is most likely heading there. Guess we should enjoy these road episodes while they last.

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