The Walking Dead “Clear” Season 3 – Episode 12 – Reviewcap

“You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets” -Morgan

Congratulations readers! We’ve reached a milestone for The Walking Dead series. “Clear” ended up being a most memorable and delightful episode produced by this series to date in this girls opinion. It has filled in holes, remedied flaws, and broadcasted some of the better-acted scenes done by this cast. I applauded both writing and directing for bringing this episode to life in ways we had only imagined Walking Dead ever doing. So lets waste no time jumping into the recap.

The episode opens with a shortened cast already on the open road. A cardboard sign, reminiscent of the note they left for little Sophia back in season two, is shown saying: Erin, We tried for Stone Mountain –J. Michonne, Rick, and Carl are having the quietest car ride ever. They pass a big-orange-backpack man who is screaming and begging for them to pick him up. They don’t. We could argue here that Rick could totally use for manpower but I am willing to buy that Rick is extremely against any sort of new people since his run in with Tomas at the beginning of the season. This is why this little trip needs to go well: Rick needs to realize him and Michonne can be besties.

The gang hit an obstacle early, getting stuck in some mud on the side of the road only to be suddenly surrounded by a dozen walkers. This could have been tense scene but the lovely way Rick nonchalantly rolled down his window, instructed everyone to cover their ears as he prepares to shoot the walkers. Also a fun bit was Michonne shown observing a walkers bracelet, which awesomely says: Erin. I wonder if “J” knows.

We cut to the crew out of harms way and working on creating some traction to get their car out of the mud. Rick is imparting some wisdom about getting out of the mud to Carl while Carl flashes just how much of an alpha dog he is. He blames Michonne for them being stuck – Even Papa Rick shrugs off the mistake: “It could happen to anyone”. Carl can’t drop it though. Why would Rick let her come after her misadventures in Woodbury? Rick couldn’t just leave her at the prison with Merle while he is there. Aww papa Rick. Rick also proves he has been putting some logical thought into this: They have common interests. Common enemies. Common problems. Why not work on them together? Carl can’t object anymore because they are interrupted by big-orange-backpack man screaming again at them from the road. He begins running, begging, for them to help him. Rick just motions for Michonne to drive on. Cold but needed.


Somehow Rick and company have gone full circle because the ultimate destination of this little trip is going back to Rick’s hometown. First stop is his Sherriff’s station. Unfortunately all the guns and ammo are long gone. Rick isn’t out of hope though saying that he has more ideas on a few guns, but nothing like the arsenal that should have been there. Michonne admits they need the arsenal that should have been there. Rick is mildly annoyed, and Michonne makes odd moaning sounds but when he questions whether she has a problem or not she softens, hands him one bullet she found and says she doesn’t. Good move Michonne. You are finally acting correctly as well as showing character development. I am already blown away.

The next stop on the hometown-tour is the business district. While walking, the group notices odd graffiti covering the town: “Away with you” “Just listen” “Turn around and live” etc. The graffiti leads them to a crazy undead booby-trap part of the street. It looks so insane in fact it takes both the actors, and the audience some time to figure out what exactly we are looking at. Small animals are kept in cages surrounded by spears and other sharpened tools drawing walkers to literally impale themselves. Rick’s plan is to just move along, to keep looking for a few guns he personally knows about hidden around town. They only stop when a walker appears to be following them into the street of traps. They watch, at Ricks urging to observe her getting caught in some barbed wire – yet just as she gets stuck her head gets blown off. There is a masked sniper on the roof. He barks at them to drop all of their loot and run as he counts down to one. While he is counting Rick instructs Carl to run to the car. Michonne thinks she can actually scale the building and get to the sniper. They try it and shooting rings out.

Ricks under fire but when he gears himself up to look toward the roof again the sniper is missing. Awesomely Michonne pops up like giving the universal “what gives” sign. Girl, I’d be put off too if the man I scaled a building to catch was suddenly not there. The sniper is suddenly on the street now and him and Rick are trading fire though Rick seems to be losing. Carl, the alpha male of the show, totally didn’t run away like instructed though and saves his dad by shooting the sniper in the stomach. Rick is once again aghast at the balls his son has. Carl is fine though he knows this was something he “had” to do.

Rick figures out the sniper was wearing body armour and is therefore alive. Michonne comically asks if they care about that. Rick answers by taking the mask off the sniper revealing: MORGAN. The man he met in the first episode who showed him the new ways of the world. “Yes” Rick nearly whispered about caring about the man who had just tried to kill all of them.


Although Michonne complains that this whole thing is the exact opposite of a quick “in and out” job, Rick says he simply can’t leave Morgan out on the street. So they begin the arduous task of bringing him into his housing area, which is covered with traps: knifes under the welcome mat. Axes hung from ceilings. Trip wires. We find out why as we see Morgan’s bed is surrounded by more weaponry than was even in the weapons locker back at the police station. There are also even more crazy insane ramblings covering his walls.

Letting Morgan continue to lay unconscious in his bed, the rest of them inspect his belongings. Rick happens upon the old Walkie Talkie he had given Morgan back in the pilot, just as he catches “Duane Turned” spray painted on the wall. Duane being Morgan’s son, we can only imagine his state of mind. Rick seems to be facing the sad reality that everyone is losing everything, and he still has something that his friend Morgan doesn’t: Carl. He suddenly wants to take care of his friend. Rick wants to wait for Morgan to wake up. This baffles Michonne. She just wants to take some of his guns and go. Rick’s hilariously reaction is that Michonne thinks Morgan is crazy. Michonne knowing Ricks mental status argues that she doesn’t think he is crazy but dangerous: which is true. Rick puts his foot down though: They going to wait for him to wake up. He does tie him up for good measure though.


Morgan seems to have done a crude town drawing on one of his walls detailing all of movements of the walkers. Carl notices and hones in on his house, which is labelled as burnt out. Rick questions him and they discuss if this was the reason Carl wanted to come on the trip: to see their old house. Carl is quiet at first but insists he just wanted to come. The serious moment is hilariously interrupted by some obnoxiously crunching sounds. Michonne has started eating Morgan’s food. Rick questions her but she cracks that the mat at the door said welcome. Hah. I also want to point out that Michonne is watching Carl like a hawk as if she knows he is itching to do something reckless. Which he of course is.

Carl doesn’t ask but tells Rick that he is going on a run. Rick is rightfully uneasy but Carl makes some good points about checking out a baby store around the corner for a crib for Judith. Michonne continues this awesome trend of actually talking by pointing out that Carl is going to need help carrying the said crib – you know if that is actually what he is doing. Carl, being such a child (in a good acting way), insists that that is his plan. Michonne says she will help then. Rick thinks this plan is best so he can wait for his crazy bestie to wake up. I also want to point out Rick is harshly identifying with Morgan. He is seeing himself as Morgan and therefore needs to reach out to him.

Meanwhile Carl and Michonne are on their big day out. Carl points out a walker Michonne should take care of but while she goes to do it he takes off on her. Who else had a flash back to season two of him just like wondering around the woods alone throwing rocks at zombies? Carl you have grown up so much! Stop with the juvenile bullshit. What did he think Michonne would just take the hint and leave him be? Risk the wrath of papa Rick because Carl wants to be alone? Michonne continues following him and Carl keeps walking like he owns the place.

They reach his intended destination: a cutesy town diner that he and his family used to visit often. They check inside the windows and find everything looks quiet and still. Carl is about to open the door while Michonne pushes him away. There is a dazzling smash cut (OMG LOVE THIS DIRECTOR) to moments later as the couple walk away. Michonne questions as to why Carl actually thought she would let him go in there. Carl tells it like he sees it: It’s not her business. She doesn’t know him or his dad. They only have the same enemy and the same problems. This is something he sees as more important than all of that. This is something that he needs to do and she can’t stop him. I think his little speech actually moved Michonne because she playfully “pists” at him to let him know that she can in fact stop him but he can’t stop her from helping him. Hah!

The next sequence consists of Michonne and Carl intelligently solving the walkers in the diner problem. They send in two rats in cages on skateboards and watch the walkers crawl out of the darkness like cockroaches. While they dine, they make their hasty silent entrance. Carl stands atop the bar to reach a framed picture of his happy little family before the world ended. He is getting this for Judith, so she has some evidence of Laurie as well as the happy family she came from. It is actually very sweet and much less annoying than I thought it was going to be.


Their plan hits a few snags as a walker behind the bar almost gets Carl but Michonne saves him. Then when they are making their getaway one of the mice somehow got out of its cage and leads a charge of walkers at them. In the struggle to get away Carl drops the picture. Outside they are safe but Carl is already trying to get back into the building. Michonne smartens up, admits to not knowing him but begging him to wait there for her to get the picture for him. She leaves Carl and gets the picture back off screen. We stay watching Carl and I must admit I don’t think he actually thought Michonne would help him. I think Carl understands how the world is now and shouldn’t expect help from people but Michonne restores a bit of his faith in humanity and most importantly her. He is touched and admits that he just thought Judith should know what her mom looked like. I am also imaging he wants a visual of his mother that isn’t from when he shot her in the face. Michonne has another comedic moment as well admitting she went back from some kitschy plastic cat statue that she called gorgeous. Michonne your funny but I am questioning your taste in décor.


Back at the crazy house, Rick apologizes to Morgan’s sleeping form. Although the audience sees Morgan’s eyes open and his hand slide to a hidden knife under his bed. Rick isn’t watching him because he has just found a rifle he had initially given to Morgan back in season one. The silence is broken as a manic Morgan rushes him. They fight. Morgan doesn’t know Rick and tells him so. Morgan’s mental health is so washed away that he rambled about Rick not “clearing” and how he doesn’t know anyone anymore. Morgan stabbing Rick in the shoulder punctuates this. Aside: This whole “clearing” business is obviously how Morgan sees himself. He is responsible for clearing out the bodies and walkers taking over around him. Hence his map, traps, and mad ramblings through the town. To Morgan Rick can’t be anyone because there is only walkers, people who turn, and the dead. In Morgan’s mind he is the only person around, if he even thinks of himself.

Back to the struggle: Rick gets his gun out and calls Morgan a crazy son of a bitch. This is exactly what Morgan wants however as he begs him to kill him. Rick ties a still begging Morgan up so he can dress his stab wound and begins explaining to Morgan how they met. He finally shows him to walkie-talkie and reminds him that they had planned to find each other one day. Morgan can finally see him suddenly. He explains that he initially didn’t use the radio but when him and Duane were on the road (much like Rick and company) he listened for Rick everyday. However this seems to be the time that Rick stopped using or being able to use his walkie so Morgan only listened to static. Suddenly his anger at Rick’s absentness is present. Rick is sorry but tries to explain his situation. He was in charge of a group of people and they were on the move, far out of reach of the signal. He had to. He didn’t have a choice. He also mentions finding his wife (which should have the word miraculous in it). Morgan kicks the radio at him saying he wont need it anymore because he finally found Rick. Then we get to watch Morgan act up a storm, leaking his talent all over Rick making this scene so amazing. This whole monologue makes me have hope in the writing on this show. They discuss their wives. Laurie’s dead but she didn’t turn. Not like Morgan’s wife, who we remember from season 1. Morgan literally couldn’t shoot his wife’s undead body. She walked around town, and tried to get into their house every night. Morgan talks about how Rick tried to get him to end it but Morgan couldn’t do it. He even says he was “supposed” to do it but he “Let it go, like there wasn’t going to be a reckoning”. It turns out that one day when Morgan entered a cellar looking for food he left Duane outside for safety, when he came back up his undead wife was standing right in front of his son. Duane had his gun on her but, like Morgan, couldn’t do it so his mother just lunged at him. Morgan’s vision literally goes red and he finally puts his wife down. Just too damn late.

Rick thinks that it was sign that he and Morgan hadn’t killed one another that they should be working together. He doesn’t want to kill him. He wants Morgan to go back the prison with them. Morgan questions the safety of the prison, asking about Rick’s wife dying there. Then he insists Rick just take whatever with him and go without Morgan. Rick insists he could help Morgan heal – Everything Rick is saying here is almost as if he is saying it to himself. Morgan, seeing right through Rick’s bullshit, notes the crazy large amount of guns Rick is taking with him. Why do you need the guns Rick? Morgan knows now that no matter how “good” Rick has it there is always going to be someone who wants to take it. Rick, awesomely, responds with just saying “We’re gonna win”. I love the confidence here.

Morgan won’t go though. He literally can’t watch more people die whether it be from bites or bullets. He can’t loose on that level anymore. Rick thinks Morgan just can’t stand the idea that there is a chance at not being miserable anymore. Morgan thinks Rick isn’t listening to word he has said. He probably hasn’t. Morgan doesn’t know how therapeutic this conversation has been for Rick. This is everything Rick has needed said to him. Rick says as much: “We both started out at the same place. For you things went bad for me. But you’re not seeing things right. I don’t blame you for what you’ve lost, what you’ve been through, but you can come back from this. I know you can. This just can’t be it.” Rick seems to have reached himself with this speech but not Morgan. He stares oddly at nothing and talks about how he can’t because he is needed to “clear”. He thinks he literally only has that only thing to do from here until eternity. He actually says them not killing each other is a sign that he should keep clearing. He HAS to clear. Rick finally gets it, grabs his bag of guns, and walks away from his friend.

So Morgan goes immediately back to work “clearing” out the dead. Pulling walkers out of traps, and collecting bodies. Rick watches as Michonne and Carl make their way back to him carrying a crib, not mentioning their big day out. In return Rick doesn’t explain his new stab wound. Michonne takes the bag of guns as a favor earning a genuine thank you from Rick.

As they begin leaving Michonne observes Morgan and asks if he is okay. Rick solemnly says no. Carl, with his newfound faith as well as alpha nature, speaks up getting Morgan’s attention. Rick is about to stop him but Carl has none of it. He apologizes for having to shoot Morgan. Morgan tells him to never be sorry. I wish Morgan would go with them and not just for the acting chops.


While Rick and Carl load the car Rick privately asks how him and Michonne did. Carl says he thinks she is one of them. Ricks shocked reaction was priceless. Looks like Carl is calling all of the shots from here on out. Then Carl leaves and Michonne and Rick share a private telling moment while loading the car. Michonne lets him know that she knows that he sees things that aren’t there but when he heads hangs in shame she confides that she used to talk to her dead boyfriend. Her view of it is that it just “happens”. In a huge vote of confidence Rick asks if she will drive because he “sees things”. Hah! Michonne smiles and its real.

They drive back home now, passing Morgan preparing bodies to be buried. The quiet seems less tense and homier. They pass the same landmarks as when they drove there including big-orange-backpack man except now he is a pile of rotting flesh on the side of the road. They sweetly stop and just grab his backpack. Wasn’t this episode the best?



~ by ATOM on March 4, 2013.

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