‘The Walking Dead’: Abraham Ford Brings the Series Exactly What it Needs

Published 6 months ago by

Danai Gurira in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 11 The Walking Dead: Abraham Ford Brings the Series Exactly What it Needs

[This is a review of The Walking Dead season 4, episode 11. There will be SPOILERS.]

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During the first half of season 4, the story of The Walking Dead took a turn headlong into the kind of hopelessness that’s normally reserved for news outlets the day after the president gives the State of the Union address. A horrific flu epidemic was negating the relative security of the prison by turning those falling victim to the relentless virus into the exact reason the survivors were holed-up in a prison in the first place.

It was a despondent succession of episodes that not only felt like the equivalent of being locked in prison, but the situation also brought a normally buoyant old man to tears, resulting in what was perhaps the most somber and legitimately hopeless moment the series had ever seen. In short, the time Rick & Co. had spent at the prison felt like it was up long before the Governor and his cronies arrived to blow everything to hell.

But this is the second half of the season and already a great deal has changed. The prison is no more and what survivors there are have been scattered about, left to wonder whom else might have survived and if it’s worth the risk to go in search of them. This is the kind of situation The Walking Dead normally excels at; in fact, it’s the sort of scenario that the entire series was based on. And yet, there’s a unique distinction in ‘Claimed’ that makes all difference in the world: Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz).

It’s not just the addition of another survivor who was popularized by the comic book on which the series is based; it’s that the depiction of the character himself is the kind of representation the series has been in dire need of for quite some time. Early on, we see Tara (Alanna Masterson) and her mustachioed savior take on a small group of walkers with relative ease. Tara’s more or less new at being a proficient walker slayer, but Abraham seems to know what he’s doing – and what’s more, he actually cracks a smile while doing it. That’s right, someone on The Walking Dead cracked a smile without being a complete psycho. And when that smile was commented on, the individual in question didn’t drift into some somber diatribe of his or her time slaying the undead, or the untold horrors they’ve seen. Instead, Abraham responds by telling Tara he’s “the luckiest guy in the world.”

Josh McDermitt in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 11 The Walking Dead: Abraham Ford Brings the Series Exactly What it Needs

And with this mullet, I bring hope

Now we all know that, aside from his prodigious facial hair, Abraham is being facetious, but it doesn’t matter; he’s willing to make it seem like even he believes the words coming out of his mouth and the difference it makes for those around him (and those watching him) is simply enormous. What’s more, Abraham has with him a scientist by the name of Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) who is not only rockin’ the greatest mullet this side of Nicolas Cage in Con Air, he’s also believed to be holding the secret to the whole zombie apocalypse.

Whether or not Eugene and his outmoded yet geographically appropriate hairstyle are actually in possession of “classified” information that needs to be delivered to Washington, D.C. doesn’t really matter. In a situation such as this – a least from the standpoint of certain viewers – the veracity of the data Eugene supposedly possesses is secondary to the belief that he – and by association, those around him – serves some function beyond merely surviving. Abraham and Eugene possess hope, and it’s a difference maker. It’s the difference between Abraham’s forward-looking approach and Rick’s uncertainty whether the house he, Carl, and Michonne are holed-up in is “home, or just a stopping point.”

It’s a thin distinction, but it’s one where optimism and purpose trump the pursuit of simple survival. It may also be the most important addition to the series since the dead started walking.

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The Walking Dead continues next Sunday with ‘Still’ @9pm on AMC. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Good episode. One of the moments that lingered most for me was when we see a close up of Eugene when Abraham mentions the importance of getting to DC. This is just a crazy prediction, but I think Eugene may know what caused this, but the close-up shot of his face looked like one of doubt as if he knew no good would come of going to DC. Either way, Abraham is the character this show has needed for a while. And now everything points towards Terminus. I’m assuming we will the groups separated up until an episode or two before the finale.

    Last note: Really don’t understand how everyone hates of the development of this series. People keep claiming it’s getting worse and worse when I personally think it’s getting better. Especially when compared to Season Three or some of Season Two. I understand people not liking it, but this isn’t a series made from scratch. It has source material and will continue to thrive off this material and will continue to get better.

  2. Easily the best of the three episodes TWD has shown since it’s come back on the air for the latter half of the season. Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene just bring together a great new dynamic to the show. I’ve just recently gotten to Abraham’s introduction in the comics as well, and I have to say I like his depiction on the show a lot. I hope he stays around for a while. Rosita has the nice attitude going for her (and that outfit!). And Eugene just seems weird, but very vital.

    Aside from the new dynamic, I thought this episode was really tense too. Rick’s survival instincts in this one were top notch, and I found myself really on the edge of my seat during all of those scenes. And the Carl/Michonne relationship was nice too, especially getting more of Michonne’s backstory.

  3. The Eugene stuff was too obvious, Ive never read the comic, after the episode looked up Eugene on the wiki.
    Exactly what I thought.

    The rick stuff was great.
    I like Abraham.

    Eugene plot, dead on arrival, hope it doesnt become a thing, especially since Rick and Glenn have actually been to a government facility already.

  4. Dr.Eugene reminds me of a young Billy Ray Cyrus.

  5. I liked this episode, better than last week. The situation Rick was in, is intense. It showed a real danger to Rick and if it was walkers, the situation would be different. The relationship of Michoone and Carl is done nice, her opening up to him is something she needs to do from what happened in previous episodes.
    I have read the comics and I loved Abraham since he appeared, he’s a badass character. In the comics, he is Rick’s right hand man. Since Abraham didn’t meet Rick at first in the show, it’s going on a different direction. Daryl is pretty much Rick’s right hand man in this show and I wonder what role Abraham will be to Rick? And to those who have not read the comics
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    *SPOILERS* I do hope Abraham does not die in this show, in the comics he died ridiculously horrible, it just came out of nowhere.

  6. Jeff Kober showing up is never good……

    • Good catch, Jeff Kober has a notorious history of on screen villainy. Got a feeling he and his crew will soon be a plot point…

      • Could they possibly be affiliated with the Saviors?

  7. Can someone please explain why Rick and that guy were eyeing each other in that house as if they knew each other? The guy with the bandanna that saw Rick under the bed, that one. Was he a guy from the nursing home in Season 1 Episode 4 ‘Vatos’? That’s the most logical explanation I could think of…

    • I don’t think they knew eachother, he was eyeing him off because he saw him, once he saw him he tried to stay stop, so they could do whatever too him, they didn’t know each other, Rick was eyeing him off hoping he would die

    • The guy saw Rick and was in shock, he tried to warn his “buddy” that there is a guy under the bed. From what I can assume, Rick gives the “sucks to be you” look.

  8. I took it as more of a, “Oh snap, somebody else is here and I can’t say anything cause I’m being choked out” look, rather than a “hey I know you” look.

  9. There are still some fillers in this and the last episode … the main story is the story of Glenn and Tara joining with Abraham’s group. Also relevant: the story line of Tyrese and the girls joining with Carol … and then as well as Rick, Michonne and Carl heading for this sanctuary place.

    The story lines of Daryl and Beth as well as Maggie & the others (in the last episode) as well as the Rick, Michonne & Carl in the house/ searching supplies are just unnecessary fillers (or at least: much too long scenes) to have 2 episodes and not just one.
    I was really bored watching Daryl/Beth and Maggie scenes last episode, not so bored this time with Rick, Michonne and Carl … it’s getting better.

    — SPOILER comic book / tv SPOILER —-

    But the sanctuary hints on the rails are great. I guess and hope its a good change of the comic book story to reunite the group again and directly lead into the Hunters story arc. The Hunters, I guess, aren’t prowling around (like in the comic), but instead created the sanctuary as a trap.

    I’m not sure: But I think, Tyresse got bitten … right? … so I guess he could get the role, Dale had in the Hunters story arc of the comic book.

    Seems like a cool adaptation of the source material.

    The show is definitely getting better (after a really more than weak first half), but still some fillers are pretty obviously.

    • I hope the mystery men at the house are not related to Negan. Since I think it would be to early in the TV show for Negan … in my opinion The Hunters story arc is essential BEFORE the Negan story arc … because Rick and his group really handled them easy land seemed really bad ass … they even believed it themselves … and then a real bad ass appeared. Great twist.

      I hope, they are more likely to be some sort of TV adaptation of The Hunters. The sanctuary hints on the rails are possibly some sort of deliberate confusion for those, who know the comic books – since Negans headquarter called the Sancturary – but I hope it’s an adapation of The Hunters. Of course, I could be wrong and the whole Hunters story arc will be skipped on TV. No good idea, in my opinion …

  10. Great episode. I’m just curious as to how far will they take Eugene plot. Knowing the writers of the series, they (hopefully) won’t follow the comic book (like they didn’t in many other characters, it would be pointless really to copy-paste the comic book since so many people read it)!

  11. frobin I doubt tyreese was bitten because from the time his group departed the prison, to the moment they were reacquainted with carol, day and night had passed. he would’ve died from the fever and turned in that time. and yes slayer, jeff kober showing up doesn’t signal good news. it sounded as if they were dismembering a man, and for what? or two ” comrades ” trading blows for a temporary bed. this can go well, with the guy getting a visual on rick who in turned killed their guy.

    • Not sure about this, Estevan. You have to remind that plot time in TWD moves very slow and those scenes of different splinter groups happening simultaneously … so it just seems so much time gone, but in fact its not.

      I guess, the fall of the prison has happend not more than 3 days before: they all are on the run … at least one day and one night has passed (Rick slept all day, Glenn also passed out some time) … but more likely 2 days since the fall of the prison. Not more.
      So, Tyresse is strong and we’ve seen before (e.g. in season 1) that it can take some time till the fever comes and you die …

      … and Tyresse is on top of my “who’s dying next” list, because he’s very similar to the character of Abraham … therefore needles in the dramaturgy of the group. I doubt he will become such a close friend to Rick like the comic book Tyresse.

      • I agree that Tyreese is one of the more likely candidates to die next. However, not before he finds out about Carol burning the bodies. I don’t think they’d have those two meet up together for there to not be a payoff. Show Tyreese has definitely been much different than comic book Tyreese though, so it’s hard to say right now where his character is going or when he’ll die in the show. I predict Lizzy to be involved in his death somehow.

      • going off of what they’ve done on the show, it wouldn’t take that long for someone to die after getting bit, or in the case of jim, he died it seemed within twelve hours maybe. with tyreese, he’s been not only shown to be upright through the afternoon of the prison attack, but through the evening with the girls before the herd approached due to Judith’s cries, and through the day, up to where they meet carol.

        even if he were to die a few yards past that terminus sign, he hasn’t even displayed signs of the fever. I think the cut was used to link it to the carriage, just for consistency as he was the one to save Judith and the blood would need to be explained.

        as for death predictions, I think he’d be too easy at this point. I think they might go for a bigger or more evolved character.

  12. i still find this show very entertaining, but it is not nearly as deep and smart as the first two seasons with Darabont.

    • Fully agree here!

  13. Is it just me or is the dialog turning into steaming piles of poo. The carl/michonne relationship…ugh, so horrible watching that exchange. A crazy cheese joke? c’mon man…horrible.

  14. I have a feeling that these guys that Rick ran into in this episode are part of the same group that Randell belonged to from season 2.
    What i didn’t like about the Eugene story line is that the he seams like a complete moron, after all this time he can’t shoot a rifle or kill a “living Dead”! WTH is up with that.
    All in all i loved the episode.

  15. After 3 1/2 seasons of zombie killing, heads being cut off, eyes stabbed and gore every other scene I’ve stomached it all, never looking away until…
    Michonne eating the “crazy cheese”.
    Dear Lord that was the most disgusting moment of the entire series. :)

    Even though I thought the “it’s classified” line was a bit corny and I know talking about a cure or cause goes against everything the comic is about for the TV series a storyline involving something like this is necessary. I’m not saying that it needs to be the sole focus or that we needs answers right away but for the plot to feel like it’s moving forward it’s the smart way to go.

    • Agree about the crazy cheese. when she wiped it away was the worst. not even the zombie apocalypse could make me eat crazy cheese

  16. Weakest episode of season. Too bad the poor bastard Rick killed in the bathroom didn’t come back a zombie with it’s pants down around the ankles.

    • I found it comical the poor bastard Rick killed was sitting on the crapper with his pants up and toilet seat down. Rosita Espinosa made the episode worthwhile, nice eye-candy in a lukewarm episode.

      • don’t miss Christian Serratos’s NSFW PETA ad.

  17. is it me or are people getting more and more difficult to please with this show? holy crap. everyone in a race to get to something instead of just enjoying this show like we do the comic. This show has gotten better and better since the very slow paced season 2. just relax people and enjoy the ride!!

    • I personally don’t know one single person who thinks the show got better and better after season 2. Everybody sees the show going down, but still being ok (and better than many other shows). In my opinion or from my perspective the talking about the show online is similar. But everybody is watching the show, hoping its getting better again.

      First season was the best. Season 2 was really slow, but also really good. It was meant to be slow. It took time to form the group and develop characters. Season 3 was good in the first half, but then the season totally failed to move on and speed up again. Because of this epic fail and stretching of the governor/prison story arc till the midseason final of season 4, we’ve seen the weakest season half ever. Now at least the story moves on, still a bit slow and with unnecessary fillers in my opinion … but its getting better.
      Well, on the other side … as I said … that’s exactly what obviously everybody is hoping for this show (obviously one reason why the ratings are still up).

      • The only thing I disagree with you on is that the first 1/2 of season 3 was good. season 1 and 2 great. season 3 was terrible. the first 1/2 of season 4 had me looking forward to the next episode again (except after the 2 with the governor preceding the midseason finale) the 3 episodes of the 2nd 1/2 of season 4 are terrible in my opinion. the sycophants here find nothing wrong with a single episode for the most part. CARL needs to die soon. torso bite, not an extremity giving anyone hope that a limb can be removed.

        • Season 3 had some really great episodes and started really good. But then the show runners soon failed to speed up and made some bad decisions: first, not ending season 3 with the fall of the prison and the dead of the Governor (and rather stretch the plot till midseason final of S4 with endless fillers); second, killing Andrea (fixed just by introducing another strong female character who matches with Rick and is not Michonne).

          Despite I really respect your animosity for Carl ;-) … I have to state: you have to face that this show is about Rick AND Carl … ALL other characters are more or less (most of all: less – Michonne!) sidekicks! They can and will die sooner or later. Rick AND Carl are the main characters of the show. Not even the dumbest show runner would change the comic book source so fundamentally … every other character is replaceable in terms of group dramaturgy, but not Rick and Carl. The show wouldn’t work or would be just another show (just a zombie show, not a father – son drama in inhospitable, apocalyptic environment).

          So … bad news … Carl will not die soon.

          • Unfortunately you are correct. On this site there is a list of 10 characters people wanted to see die and it said of Carl… “Caaaaaarrrl: Not that the AMC show has shied away from killing off major characters, but they’ve been slow on the trigger with this one. I know the show is based on a comic series and, hey, maybe Carl gets really interesting later on, but for now I’m done. In fact, I’ve been done for awhile. This kid is my Lori. He’s my Andrea. I cannot stand him. Anyone who says he’s getting better with age is lying to themselves. His reaction when Judith went missing was somewhere between an eye roll and full meltdown. My only thought when I saw that bloody car seat? They took the wrong Grimes kid” And these are my sentiments EXACTLY…particularly re: Lori and Andrea. I jumped off the couch and pumped my fist in jubilation when Andrea revealed the bite on her neck.

            I am more bothered by the characters unrealistic behavior, more so over the last couple of seasons. There was a gun in the room that Michonne kept Carl out of that the person used to blow their head off. GET THE GUN. May or may not have ammo left in it or somewhere else in the house but you may find ammo for that gun later and maybe next time Rick is taking a siesta with not even a baseball bat nearby he might have a GUN.

            • Not as many comments as there usually are after an episode…hmmmm. Maybe I am not the only one disappointed in the last 3…

            • I agree with many implausible scenes or scenes not good enough to let you forget some unrealistic things

            • The guns and cars are such an unrealistic thing in the TV show.
              Guns would soon be useless (lack of ammo) … therefore used very rarely. Not like on TV. Same for cars.

              • I think with the number of survivors as few as they are, and the amount of ammo out there, there would be ammunition available for a long time to come. They should also be able to find plenty of raw material and the tools needed to repack spent shells. I know quite a few myself who have what they need to do this. They use the guns way too much in situations where silent weapons would suffice (overtaking the prison for the first time…could have spread out and killed them all through the fence without a single shot) drawing attention to themselves and wasting ammo they will need later.

                The fact that only Michonne carries a sword bothers me, like you have to be some type of ninja to use it. Keep it sharp and swing it. Sever heads and worse case sever limbs rendering the walkers much less dangerous and easier to kill. Save the ammo for the humans.

                Cars yeah, gas would no longer be any good even if they did find it, among other things.

                Should be looking for more horses. They should be going on the offensive against walkers. Take out every one they come across. The episode in season one where they left Jim I think his name was, on the side of the road to die and turn and more than likely find and kill some other survivor, maybe a child, really bothered me. We will wait for you to die and then smash your skull.

                Wish I could say I liked season 3, other than the ep with Glenn fighting off the zombie tied to a chair, I cannot think of a single episode I liked. My hatred of the Governor character I am sure didn’t help. And I didn’t hate him in a good way the way I hated Shane. I miss Shane :)

                I am sure we could talk for hours about this show, probably agreeing on most of it!

                Still the best show out there IMO…

                • One of the best at least, yes … but not the best. Do you know Vikings on History Channel. GREAT. Even better than Game of Thrones, in my opinion. Or Justified … also amazing and so well written and produced.

                  I totally agree with you on the use of guns. In the comic book (spoiler alert!) it turns out that Ricks group’s got very lucky with guns and most of all ammo. Maybe with Abraham around they will use guns less often to kill walkers and more to handle more dangerous threats. And funny … you mentioned refilling the ammo shells … you’re sure, you didn’t read the comic book :)

  18. Abraham is the first who smiles while killing walkers?

    what about Rick when the group is taking the prision on Season 3?

    • Tara hadn’t seen it before. She wasn’t with the group back then.

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