UPDATE: Here's a play-by-play recap of Episode 11. It's a tense one...
What’s next? The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 9 focused on the Grimes guys and Michonne (Danai Gurira), and the February 16 Episode 10 checked in with the other Team Prison peeps. What about tonight's Sunday, February 23, Episode 11, “Claimed”?
Here’s the official AMC synopsis: “A number of immediate threats plague Rick; group members deal with their past.”
So we know Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne are coming back but will they connect with others or stay on their own? The first promo also showed Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and the three new characters who showed up at the end of Episode 10: Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos), and Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt).
Do Michonne and the Grimes guys even join up with Glenn and the others or do they keep the storylines separate? So far AMC has shown two sneak peeks and they are both relatively quiet videos set in the Grimes home. But in the promo, it looks like Rick and company do see some action. It also sounds like Abraham wants Glenn and Tara to join his own little mini group. "We need people — the more, the better. We need each other, partner." Does he try to convince Glenn that Maggie is dead, and he shouldn't die too?
In the books, Abraham, Rosita and Eugene come across the Team Prison group on the way to Washington, D.C. because Eugene says he's a scientist with answers on how the walker outbreak started. Rick and his group decide to join the D.C. party. On TV, Robert Kirkman said the trio would arrive with a "mission" that would change the direction of the show. On that note, the March 2 Episode 12, “Still,” has this synopsis: "An enlightening mission springs from a request from one of the group members." That could mesh with the Eugene is a scientist, let’s hit the road for D.C. storyline from the books.
After Episode 10, Michael Cudlitz told The Hollywood Reporter more about the mission, and it sounds very similar to the one in the comics. "Eugene is the package -- he's the mission and he has to be protected. I've trained them all to whatever ability they have to be trained to. And Abraham is in a romantic, sexual relationship with Rosita; she's his partner -- Eugene, not so much! (Laughs.)"
He also said we'd get more details right away in Episode 11.
"By the next episode, you'll get all the answers to where they're going and why," Michael said. "You know they're headed for Washington but the audience will learn all that in the next episode as to where they're going, why they think they're going there, what information Eugene has and that Abraham and Rosita believe him. There is no subtlety in it. It's this wonderful expositional moment that's literally ripped out of the comics where you meet these people, learn who they are as individuals and what they need from anyone else -- and you better f---ing be on board, because you don't have a choice!"
Kirkman previously talked to Entertainment Weekly about how the TV versions of Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita would change the story. “I think the main thing to look at is that these are some very interesting and dynamic and explosive characters that will be breathing some new life into the show, which is something that all of our new characters do. They’re going to be pushing things in new directions. So they will definitely be an X factor that changes the dynamic of the show quite a bit. There’s cool things ahead with them.”
Based on the promo and two sneak peeks, it looks like Michonne and Carl go out on a supply run and Rick agrees to stay in the house, since he was just unconscious the day before. However, while Michonne and Carl are away, it looks like someone comes into the Team Richonne home. During the promo, we see Rick hiding under the bed while a human with a gun walks in the house. What's up with that?
Perhaps this is connected to something a fan shared over the summer, from the print version of SFX, when they were filming these scenes. The article was said to be from the set of Episode 12, but the description sounds like this Ep 11 scene. As a fan summarized, the "scene is Michonne and Carl foraging for food. They appear relaxed and the crew say it is a big bonding between the two. [...] Later that day (the 5th in the episode's eight day schedule) they watch Lincoln perform a scene in which Rick has made himself at home in an abandoned house. Asleep in a bedroom. Sleep is interrupted when strangers arrive. Lincoln hides beneath a bed as an unknown man falls asleep in it. Rick hears several voices and a conversation that convinces him that these strangers aren't to be trusted. He crawls out from under the bed (sweaty, bearded, hair a matted mess) grabs a trophy ready to club someone with it. He makes his way through the other rooms in the house, pausing to hide, peering in doorways. It is a tense variation of cat and mouse. Are these men intruders or is Rick?"
Home is never safe for long! But is one of the men Tony, the guy played by actor Davi Jay, who is credited in several upcoming episodes?
Another sneak peek shows Michonne possibly coming across a walker (or something else?) behind a door, presumably while out on the supply run. Speaking of Michonne, we'll hear more about her sad past in this episode, too. On February 20, E! News shared more scoop from the episode, saying Michonne and Carl would embark on another excellent adventure while Rick tried to regain his strength at the house. "But, like all supply runs in the AMC hit's history, this one is going to be filled with danger and pop-up surprises from undead flesh-hungry walkers. Can't these characters even catch a break?! Similar to the midseason premiere, fans are also going to get a deeper peek into Michonne's backstory, but we've got to warn you, it's not a happy one."
The promo also shows Rick, Michonne and Carl walking train tracks. Maybe that is toward the end of the episode, once Rick realizes home isn't so safe. We see them appear to look at something closely — what if it's the sanctuary/Terminus sign that Tyreese, Carol and the girls saw on Episode 10? Do you think they could end up following the tracks to the same place?
At this point, we still have a lot of questions about “Claimed,” but we're guessing the title refers to Rick's home being claimed by others. Do you have any further theories? If you think it might help to look further ahead, read some details on Episode 12, "Still," and the titles and official(ly vague) synopses for the rest of the season.
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.