"The Walking Dead" never fails to remind us that the living can be just as dangerous as the undead, and that's because not everyone has the same reasons for survival. Some people are trying to find their family and friends, a place to call home. Some people are just trying to be as comfortable as possible while they're still alive. And now, at least one guy thinks he can actually save the human race from extinction.
Sunday's "Claimed" picks up with Tara riding along with that man, Sergeant Abraham Ford (it doesn't get more American than that), in his military truck. It's unclear where they are going but she's writing down every turn on her hands so they can find their way back. Her distrust of the Sgt. continues as they stop to put down some walkers and he happily smiles while bashing their heads in. According to him, he's "the luckiest guy in the world."
Back at Château De Rick, Michonne and Carl are eating cereal and water while Carl makes fun of her new flowy, white men's shirt. It's all fun and laughs as Carl jokes about how bad soy milk is, until he accidentally mentions baby Judith's formula. Ugh. They still don't know that she's alive and well with Carol and Tyreese.
Rick thanks Michonne for making Carl laugh, not knowing the awkwardness that just occurred. Michonne asks what the plan is, if where they are now is "home" or "just a stop along the way." Then Rick gets that far-away look in his eyes that he gets when he (like the audience) has no idea where this is going.
Rick is clearly still recovering from his injuries, both physical and emotional, and says they should stay there a while. Michonne wants him to rest while she and Carl go look for more food, so he goes to lie down for a nap. However, it's also a ploy for Michonne to share her her secret stash of E-Z Cheese or "Crazy Cheese" with Carl, and try to make him laugh by squeezing a bunch of it in her mouth hand pretending to be a walker.
That might be the first time we've seen a walker "impression" on the show, and although it only makes Carl laugh "on the inside," you have to admit it's nice to see Michonne providing some comic relief. At least, for a little while. As soon as they find a house to loot, Carl finds out what we've known for a few episodes now: Michonne had a 3-year-old son.
This new information gets Carl to stop fretting over Judith for the time being, but now he's asking a million questions. Michonne says she'll only answer one question at a time, in one room at a time, only after it's been searched for supplies. This goes on as they clear the house, which is actually much nicer than the current one they're squatting in. Michonne reveals that her son's name was Andre (quite similar to Andrea!), that he was her only child, that he died "after everything happened," and that Carl is the only person she's told about it, but it's not really a secret. But it is. But it isn't. Secrets are just another construct made irrelevant by the state of things.
Now, if all the talk about dead children weren't depressing enough, Michonne then makes a startling discovery in the house. No, it's not a horde of walkers. It's somehow worse. It's a woman's entire family lying dead in a little girl's room. It looks as though she executed them all and then killed herself. Again, we're reminded that not everyone has the same reasons for survival, or even any at all. Michonne closes the door before Carl can see the scene, and even though she tells him it was a dead dog, he knows what's behind the door.
But hey! What's going on with Rick? When they cut back to him sleeping in the upstairs bedroom back at the house, it sounds like someone left a TV on downstairs. But we know that's not possible. What IS possible, is that Michonne and Carl left the door open (great job, guys!) and now there are some rowdy, gun-toting looters inside the house. So Rick does what any grown adult would do and hides under the bed. Then, as if it were a messed up version of "Goldilocks And The Three Bears," one of the men comes into the bedroom to take a nap where Rick was just sleeping. He comes THIS close to seeing Rick, but doesn't look under the bed. He clearly didn't play hide and seek as a child.
Now, here's where it gets crazy. A second guy comes into the room and asks to sleep in the big bed so the first guy STRAIGHT UP STRANGLES HIM FOR ASKING. Like, these guys are not messing around. The second guy stares Rick in the face as he falls to the ground unconscious, which might be a problem later since he doesn't appear to be dead.
Back in the military truck, Glenn finally wakes up. Tara reassures him that they're okay, but he's understandably freaked out. He asks whether they passed the bus, knowing Maggie might have looked for him there. The problem is, they passed it 3 hours ago and everyone was already dead. Realizing how far he is from his wife, Glenn forces Captain Red Beard to stop the truck. He wants to leave, but the Sgt. won't let him because "The fate of the whole damn human race might depend on it."
Finally we learn what this patriotic crew's destination is: Washington D.C.. They aren't just survivors, they're on a mission. A "classified" mission to bring "Scientist" Dr. Eugene Porter, who claims to know the answer to the world's biggest problem, to meet the "Muckity Mucks" in Washington, with whom they claim to have been communicating over a satellite phone. And, to quote the Sgt., "This shit is time sensitive." Now, this is the first time we're hearing about the chance of a scientific or medical explanation for the walkers since Rick and the gang were back at the CDC, and that guy seemed a lot more reputable than Eugene (or, at least he didn't have a mullet) and couldn't save them. So, is this guy for real? And what's up with Rosita Espinosa, the mostly silent senorita who's accompanying them?
The Sgt. is as determined to save the world as Buzz Lightyear was before he learned he was a toy, but Glenn is even more determined to find Maggie. All it takes is the Sgt. telling him the he should give up looking because, "She's gone," for Glenn to punch him in the face. Now, remember, this guy hasn't exactly had the best luck with authority figures. But the Sgt. doesn't know this, and fights back. Before you know it, they're in a full-on brawl and not noticing the walkers coming out of the woods, heading straight for the scientist. Turns out, Dr. Billy Ray Cyrus isn't too handy with a gun and ends up disabling their vehicle has he sprays his automatic weapon at the walkers (and the truck's gas tank.)
On the other hand, when he stands with the Sgt. and Rosita, the three of them look like they came straight out of a badass video game:
Glenn is still determined to ditch this new crew despite their claims of knowing the solution to all of their problems. he wishes them luck and walks off with Tara, but Rosita starts to follow, too. "What the hell else are we gonna do?" is a pretty solid argument here. The Sgt. and scientist gather their gear and take off with them on foot, but the Sgt. never stops arguing that "saving the world" is more important than Glenn finding his wife. He does respect Glenn's determination and seems to dig Tara, but she gets all psychological on him, asking him why he really wants to save the world. Is it just because he's "a good person?" That seems like a foreign concept now.
Either way, they're not making it to Washington D.C. anytime soon. Back at the house, Rick finally gets an opportunity to escape from under the bed while the bed-loving maniac sleeps. He's basically Bruce Willis in "Die Hard" for a few minutes as he tries to sneak around the house unnoticed, eventually turning a trophy into a weapon like a real-life game of Clue:
Rick jumps into the bathroom and hey, what do you know! There's a guy in there sitting on the toilet (pants on, fortunately) whom Rick has to stab with the trophy and choke out before he can escape out the window. Somehow he does this without alerting the other looters, and is even able to flee from the side of the house just as Michonne and Carl are arriving home so he can get them out of there as well.
It's all very lucky, and as if escaping with their lives wasn't enough, they wind up on those same railroad tracks where we last saw Carol, Tyreese and the girls. Even better, they see the same sign for "Terminus," the supposed sanctuary for survivors. Does this mean that the next episode will see Rick and Carl reunited with baby Judith? There was certainly enough focus on children and death in this episode, hopefully enough for the rest of the season.
And, one final question: How does that scientist seriously have a mullet? Has he actually been giving himself that haircut even during the apocalypse? Because that is some serious commitment. That is all.