Who knew Michonne could be so funny? “Claimed” proves that the intense sadness and suspense of the end of the world can also have its fair share of levity. Michonne, who recently reconnected with Carl and Rick, has lifted a huge weight off her shoulders after letting go of the pain and guilt she was carrying about her deceased toddler son, Andre. As a result she’s become the sort of person who stuffs cheese wiz in her face in one scene and is able to talk about her past in the next. If only the show could solely be about the adventures of Michonne and the Grimes boys.

The chemistry between these three characters is incredible. Rick and Carl are arguably the heart of the show. They both have the strongest survival instincts, mixed with a familial bond that makes them much more compelling than characters that are adrift. The growing friendship between Michonne and Carl is fascinating. The show could have easily had Carl be a stand in for her lost child, but really she treats him as if he were a best friend. And as Rick points out, a friend is exact what Carl, and the rest of them, really need.

For the most part, the episode tells three different stories. The first, and most emotional, was Michonne and Carl’s quest to find food. Michonne allows herself to open up and tell Carl about her son. In a way, she’s letting him know that she understands the pain he feels over the loss of Judith. She’s also proving to him that he matters to her, which is the most important thing to a boy who just about gave up in the last episode.

Meanwhile, a badly hurt and exhausted Rick sticks around the house that they found in the premiere. He lies in bed reading Jack London, waiting for his companions to come back. That’s when a bunch of faceless, gun totting strangers break into the house. Rick hides from them under the bed in a slow, suspenseful scene that this show does so well. These strangers are the type of guys that will kill each other over the right to lie in a big bed. Normally, I’d think that the storyline was pointless since Rick escapes unscathed and unnoticed. However, right before Rick escapes, we get a peek at one of the strangers and he’s played by Jeff Kober. There’s no way they used him for a short scene. He and his group will certainly be back.

Once Michonne, Rick, and Carl reunite, they head down the same railroad path that Carol’s group did last week.  They now have the Sanctuary as a destination in mind and will likely meet up with Judith in a few weeks. Will Michonne be relieved that the baby is still alive or sort of disappointed that her comrades don’t relate with her quite as much? Will Crazy Lizzie end up doing something drastic to that baby before they get there? And just how evil will these Sanctuary people end up being? I’m excited for the potential.

On the other side of things, Glenn is angsty about being separated from Maggie. Sgt. Abraham Ford and his two companions, Rosita and “Doctor” Eugene have been driving him further and further away from her. I know these three are characters from the comic, but I’m not familiar with them. All I know is that there’s no chance that the guy with a mullet is actually a doctor. No way. There may be a doctor somewhere in the world with a mullet, but Mullet Doctor is not going to be the guy with the secret to what happened and why in the apocalypse. Ford clearly believes the “doctor” is the key to saving to world and is therefore risking his life to head to D.C.

Ford also apparently has an obsession with “good” people, as he reveals as he tells Tara he thinks she’s good for sticking around with a moody Glenn. He’s an interesting character and not the villain I thought he’d be at first. But the show is definitely setting him up for a world of disappointment. Since Ford is played by Southland’s amazing Michael Cudlitz, I’m excited for his potential. Any character who says “Oh honey, look at you. You’re a damn mess.” is definitely going to be a fun character.

I’m NOT excited for the next episode, which looks to be Beth-centric. More Grimes boys and Michonne, less whining about hope please.

Other Musings:

  • Carl has a vendetta against soy milk.
  • Rick is more scared in this episode than in any other episode. A weaker Rick is very interesting.
  • Michonne comes across an entire dead family in a room. It looks like a parent killed all their children, before shooting himself in the head.
  •  Carl about Judith: “Maybe her and Andre are together somewhere.”
  • Every new group calls the walkers something different. Abraham calls them dead alive pricks.
  • “Trust me. I’m smarter than you.” I don’t believe that at all, Doctor Mullet.