A Collection of Caliginous Choppings

Tidbits of the Dead: “Inmates” & “Claimed”

thewalkingdeadseason4

Well, I missed posting up a timely review of last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Inmates,” so I will briefly touch on that before I delve into last night’s episode “Claimed.”

“Inmates,” in two words:

molotov_bullshit

OK, I’ll explain my disdain in more than two words.

Glenn’s use of a molotov cocktail on a previously destroyed automobile to lure away walkers in a direct line of sight from him, is an incredible leap of logic. It’s the part I took away “Inmates,” more than the awesome introduction of Abraham, Rosita, & Eugene, more than my annoyance of the bus full of red-shirts being conveniently slaughtered, more than Carol’s uneasy return to the show. Again, Glenn used a molotov cocktail to cause a distraction that lured a zombie to turn away from him and go towards a burning car. This is the sort of thing I expect in an Asylum zombie film, but not in America’s most beloved zombie television series!

Other than his usage of burning brandy, I wasn’t bothered by Glenn uniting with Tara to escape the ruin of the prison. Glenn raiding the prison cells for supplies and donning the riot gear was the smartest thing (outside of wearing zombie guts) he could have done to aid his escape. Of course, it is a bit of a stretch of belief to think that he didn’t just die (you know, from the flu superbug that got everyone else on the bus) while lying just out of reach of the walkers, but I digress.

“Inmates” started with Beth and Darryl escaping through the woods while Beth has a voice-over of words written in her diary. I’m actually less annoyed by Beth than other commentators. I’m glad that she has stuck around, even if her character shift (being the one to push Darryl to keep going) seems a bit forced since she was just suicidal 2 seasons ago. Still, I think she is a more interesting character than her sister Maggie, although I will admit that she’s probably more expendable. Hopefully this added screen importance will lead to her having an awesome death. Darryl in this episode doesn’t do much, besides tracking and kicking dirt on a fire.

As an aside, okay, I get that it is a necessity to build a fire. But, lets say you are in a zombie apocalypse situation. Nightfall comes. You’re in the woods. How do you best ensure your survival for the night? Sulking about next to the campfire, or perched up high in a tree and out of the reach of hungry hands? Hmm . . .

Elsewhere in the woods Tyreese has become primary caretaker of the children, Mika, Lizzie, and Baby Judith! Hooray, Shane’s baby is still alive. (Although we still have to sit through the Grimes’ grieving process.) Now, I’m not surprised that the baby wasn’t killed. Maybe if this show was on HBO, but I don’t think that AMC has the cajones to kill a baby, either on-screen or off. Although, it obviously doesn’t mind killing off the red-shirted children. Do you remember Young Mop Head and Hairband Girl?

prison-children

Neither Tyreese, nor Mika, nor the psychopathic Lizzie seem to be grieving for them. Perhaps Lizzie smothered them on their way out of the prison. Lizzie could very well be my new favorite character. She is certainly the most interesting, and you can’t fault her methods (quiet the baby!) for being ineffective. If you’ve read the comics then — SPOILER — I’d put her in the role of the murderous Ben/Billy twin. Only, instead of Carl putting her down, my money would be on Carol. Oh the conflict, oh the drama! — END COMICS SPOILER.

Fortunately for the unawares Grimes family, (and the at home viewers), Carol’s hand-of-God return into the story prevents the death of Baby Judith at the hands of Lizzie, as well as Lizzie & Mika’s death at the hands of walkers. There was tense moment as Carol assesses Tyreese who doesn’t actually know of the hideous act of mercy that she had committed. Not that it should really matter at this point. Did Tyreese’s girlfriend even have a name? If not, she wouldn’t have made it this far anyway.

The other group of stragglers is Maggie, Bob, and Sasha, in this episode representing EMOTION, ACCEPTANCE, & RATIONALITY. Maggie is driven to find Glenn, Bob the Alcoholic Combat Medic shot through the shoulder is cool with dying on a nice rock near the water, and Sasha is the only person who seems to still have her head on her shoulders and tries to regroup and rest up. Emotion wins out and they hunt down the bus, where Maggie kills a bunch of walkers that aren’t her husband. There was a bit of iffy acting as she killed the last zombie on the bus (whose face we don’t see). She seems to convey a range of emotions from happy to despondent, but none of them give a firm indication that she didn’t just off Glenn. Until after the commercial break . . .

At the end of the episode Glenn passes out and Tara is saved by a very badass-looking Sergeant Abraham Ford, his hotpants wearing Latina girlfriend (okay, well, just really like fuckbuddy in the comics) Rosita Espinosa, and the mulleted ‘Dr.’ Eugene Porter. It’s nice to have some fresh faces in the show who have names and who will actually do something!

That’s probably enough about “Inmates,” but before I go on, I want to bitch about red-shirts some more.

Darryl finds some footprints, to which Beth says, “Could be Luke’s, or Molly’s. Whoever they are it means they’re alive.” Darryl responds by saying it means they were alive four or five hours previously (classic Darryl). Now, as an astute viewer, I searched back in my memory to a Luke or a Molly. Couldn’t picture anyone. It took me a bit of Wikipedia sleuthing to deduce that Luke and Molly are Young Mop Head and Hairband Girl. Now, I’m a fan of this show. But I sure as hell don’t think that I should have to look up a character name in order to figure out who is being talked about. Beth could easily have dropped the names Lizzie or Mika, but by mentioning the other two she pulled me out of the narrative. Especially when neither Luke nor Molly actually show up! Maybe they are dead, but then again, we didn’t see them die onscreen, and following Walking Dead logic that means they could still be alive. Tyreese or the other two girls never indicate that they were separated from the others. They never mention that Luke & Molly got eaten either. They are just gone.

small-boot

Goodbye Luke and/or Molly.

Here is the other thing that I want to mention. There is a walker that attacks and is killed by Beth. He is obviously fresh, although neither Beth, nor Darryl seem to know this recently deceased individual. This show isn’t smart enough to do a metacommentary about its shitty use of red-shirts, although I admit that I had to stop and consider for a moment. Who is he?

the unknown walker

Later on, in a moment that happened before he turned, Tyreese, Carol & the kids stumble upon this hapless bitten individual. Turns out he was from a separate group, trying to go up the railroad tracks to the safety of ‘The Sanctuary.” Well, he doesn’t call it that, but for the sake of a better term, I will. This guy is someone completely new. Yet, because of how all of the other new characters have been mishandled, I have no idea who the fuck he is! In fact, because of the poorly fleshed out background characters, and the fact that Beth & Darryl are following them, I thought they were just unnamed prison people. But no . . .

All these nameless folks though, they were good people.

nameless-prison-dead

Which brings us to this week’s episode, “Claimed,” which focuses on the groups of Rick, Carl, & Michonne, and Glenn, Tara, Abraham, Rosita, & Eugene. But, actually, fuck it . . . I’ll just write up my thoughts on that episode tomorrow since it’s late and my other recap ran long. Stay frosty folks!

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5 responses

  1. Great review. Funny, I still can’t get my head around kids sporting guns during an apocalypse. I guess I’m old-fashioned!

    25 February 2014 at 6:59 pm

    • Survival, pure and simple. The line between child and adult gets blurred in times of war or crisis. It’s sad that they lose their innocence so quickly, but it’s really only the adults who comprehend that fact.

      3 March 2014 at 2:38 pm

  2. Thought the exact same thing about the fire. I mean, how cold could it even be in Georgia in summer… autumn… whatever season it is now in this topsy-turvy Game-of-Thrones-esque world? (Remember how in season 3 it was “spring” and by the end of the season, which lasted a few weeks tops, it was very visibly autumn?)

    This episode irritated me but the one after it, which you didn’t recap yet, I thought was actually really good and revitalised my flagging interest in the series. They have always been brilliant at creating these little self-contained episodes, and terrible at the season-long arcs. It almost makes me wish that every season had an entirely new cast of characters in a different part of the US.

    4 March 2014 at 7:31 am

    • I think it is still summer time. It is a shame that they completely skipped over the previous winter because I’d like to see how the zombies (and people) react to the cold and snow. In a way it should make dealing with walkers easier since they may slow down, freeze, and ‘hibernate’ in colder weather. It’s probably cost prohibitive though.

      Sorry for not being on the ball with my updates, but watching True Detective has really damped my love of The Walking Dead. I still watch WD first, but TD is obviously a much better show. Anyway, I haven’t written up a review of “Claimed,” but I did for the last episode, “Still,” that in my opinion has the best acting of the season thus far.

      I think that a miniseries of changing locations in throughout the country (or world) would be an awesome way to take in the zombie apocalypse. But that’s not true to the small-scope of Kirkman’s source material. It would have worked for something like World War Z, but Brad Pitt had to go and fuck that up. According to rumors, AMC is going to start another zombie show. Ideally it’ll be about the initial outbreak, but if they go the route of rotating characters then that should alleviate some of the staleness, and really heighten the will-they-or-won’t-they-kill-of-this-main-character aspect of the show.

      Thanks for reading Mitch. If End Times ever gets picked up as a TV series I’d love to pitch some ideas to you.

      4 March 2014 at 12:20 pm

  3. Haha. A man can dream. Unfortunately (beyond that being a pipe dream) America is more or less the only country that makes good TV these days. Britain basically just has Black Mirror (though I really must watch Charlie Brooker’s zombie show) and Australia has… fuck, I don’t know. The original Wilfred maybe? Rake is OK? And both of those or black comedies, I can’t name one good Australian drama. We’re just not really a visual arts country.

    9 March 2014 at 8:40 am

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