Season 3, Episode 12 “Clear”
[photos: Gene Page/AMC]
DUSTIN: So I was watching The Bible before this, so I don’t have any predictions tonight.
Yes really, I was watching The Bible on The History Channel and I didn’t have time to think about it before the show started, I’m actually writing this intro after the show is over.
Don’t you think you’re breaking the fourth wall a little?
Quiet you; you’re not even really here.
Stop giving away all our secrets!
Fine. Yes, it’s true, Mr. Adair and I are working separately on this week’s The Walking Dead. I was on a film shoot in a freezing warehouse when it aired, and am watching it after the fact, while Dustin got to sit in his warm, warm apartment, enjoying the comforts of home, safe from the elements…
You were having a great time and you know it.
I was. It was very cool. Anyway. Ladies and Gents, what follows is our review/recap/rant-o-rama of this week’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Mr. Smith is away performing in a play, and will return when the run is over. As always, be aware that these things are quite SPOILER-y and full of much that is in questionable taste. We make no apologies.
On to the recap!!
So people are leaving signs for their friends and family, letting them know where they are going. We start by learning that Erin’s family has moved on. Rick, Michonne, and Carl pass the sign on the most awkward road trip ever.
It’s good to see that there are other people out there, or were anyway. Actually, we’ve seen a lot of those lately, with the family a couple of episodes back and hey, what’s this?
They pass a guy on the road. He has a big orange backpack and he is super excited about seeing a car. He is less excited when the Team Zombie away team passes him by without a single look in his direction. As the car passes, he falls to his knees and cries. Poor little idiot.
Carl at least has the good sense to look a little bad about it.
OK. That was a little cold.
The car arrives at a mess on the road. Michonne, who is driving, takes the 2013 Whatever off-road to avoid it, but unfortunately, it gets stuck in the mud. Everyone gets that, ‘oh crap’ look on their faces, just before a group of walkers arrive to knock on the windows and beg for change. One of them is the Erin, that the sign at the beginning of the episode was for. Are we supposed to be sad about this stuff at this point?
You know, I think they want us to be. But without more context, it’s hard. It’s hard to care about our leads sometimes, let alone some extra.
Rick shoots the walkers through the window and then we cut to what is obviously the end of the fight, where the whole Away Team is fine, and all the walkers are dead.
Rick rummages through the suitcases of the cars looking for supplies to get the car unstuck. Michonne jumps in the driver’s seat and Rick tries to teach Carl about how to get a car unstuck from the mud, but all Carl wants to talk about is why Michonne was invited on this father-son trip.
Carl is not a fan of Michonne’s apparently. Rick tells him that right now Michonne is convenient, but as soon as they don’t need her anymore, she is out of there. Of course, she is in the car and can hear all this.
Oh, look, it’s that guy with the backpack. He yells for their help, but since the car is now unstuck, they leave him behind again.
Heh. I kind of love that. I hope we see this guy again.
As much noise as he’s making? I would suspect not. And wow. I mean, we know they’ve all gotten harder than the early days, but you know they know they’re leaving that guy to die.
They arrive at a little town and decide to do some exploring. No guns at the sheriff’s office. Michonne’s top is hella cute, btw.
Oh, so they’re back in The Grimes’ home town! It’s only a couple of miles away by car? Really?
Okay. I know you’re making that face. You might as well get it out of your system.
OK, now come on, this is just stupid. Rick’s home town is this close? Seriously? This close? After all this time, it’s just a short car ride away? It’s clearly not a long car ride, or else Carl would have asked why Michonne is there earlier, and it was easy to get back to… of course Rick would know how to get home on the road, but it begs a couple of really big questions, like how the hell was the prison anything remotely resembling a surprise? RICK IS A COP. COPS KNOW WHERE THE LOCAL PRISONS ARE. Hell, there’s a prison 45 minutes from here that I know about, and I’m a filmmaker. Somebody please make a map of where Team Zombie has been, because it looks like we’ve spent three seasons going down the block, for crying out loud. And yet we can have the world’s largest woods, next to the Green farm, and Woodbury is within walking distance, if Tyreese and Co. are any indication, and of course I get the realities of making these things close-ish for storytelling purposes, but this is just stupid. And what’s maddening is that I’m liking this episode, and now I’m angry with it.
Grrrr. Proceed sir.
Rick wants to scavenge for more guns but Michonne thinks it’s a bad idea but she keeps it to herself for now.
Carl watches, uneasy.
I think this like the longest series of words I’ve heard her speak to Rick ever. It might be the first time I’ve heard her say his name. Huh.
They decide to take a walk around town, and the first thing they find is a pile of burned walker bodies.
Hrm… they find a bunch of really weird signs and a kind of… art installation… thing in the center of town?
There are chickens and skateboards? It’s all very Bordertown.
It’s all very homemade alarm system. And the “Get Out” signs are a nice touch. Although it would be fun to see Zombie Tina Turner. Oh wait, that’s Bartertown. Whatever.
Michonne is uneasy, but Rick wants to keep going, there are being trailed by a walker, and Michonne wants to go end it, but before she can, a dude on the roof shoots it first.
Michonne goes after the guy as he shoots at Rick and Carl. About the time she arrives on the roof, the guy has descended and is on the street, shooting at Rick. Rick is trapped behind a barrel when Carl steps out from behind a pole and shoots the attacker in the gut.
Rick is a little pissed, he had apparently told Carl to go back to the car, but I didn’t hear it, so I kind of doubt Carl did either.
Nope nothing wrong with that kid.
Technical note? The editing and the cinematography on this episode are really good.
And Rick does mutter a lot. And Carl isn’t known for his listening skills.
Rick tells him that he didn’t have to shoot the guy and Carl says yeah, he did.
They go to the guy and realize that he is wearing body armor and is not dead from being shot by a prepubescent. They take the guy’s helmet off and it’s That Guy… from the first episode… I do not recall his name.
Morgan. It’s Morgan. Hello Morgan, it’s been a while. I’m thinking things have not been going well for you.
So now Rick is all looking around for booby traps. Michonne wants to bug the @#$% out. But Rick is not done messing around. Rick remembers that there is a son somewhere in the place, and decides that they need to take That Guy back into a building so he’s not… you know… eaten by corpses.
Michonne is having a conversation! With a person! It’s a miracle!
I hope the guy from the road catches up soon.
He’s zombie chow by now.
Michonne and Rick carry That Guy into the building and there are of course booby traps in there. There is a bloody axe and all sorts of other crazy stuff.
Yeeeaaahhhhhh… it’s not going well for Morgan.
Oh, and all the guns from the sheriff’s station. Plus some. They put That Guy on a cot and Michonne starts taking the weapons. She does not waste time, this one. Rick is reading the writing on the wall (literally) and is all weirded out.
OK, if you go into any place where the person has given up on paper, and turned to the walls… this is not a well person.
I think Rick is gonna wanna take That Guy back to the prison with us.
Rick starts taking stuff then finds the walkie-talkie that he left with That Guy, he’s all emotional about it. You knew That Guy for one day Rick, let it go.
You know, this stupid everything’s-so-close-it’s-unbelievable thing? It finally explains why Rick thought Morgan could hear him at all on a freaking walkie-talkie. OK, I know, I know, it’s a radio, but still.
Rick decides they are going to wait for That Guy to wake up. Michonne does not like this plan. She thinks That Guy is dangerous. She tries to tell Rick they should get what they came for and get out, but duh, Rick is having none of it.
Given the choice between putting safe distance between himself and having a good dramatic moment, Rick will choose the dramatic moment every time.
Morgan did save his life. Kinda surprised that Rick still cares about that at this point, but it’s good that he does.
He uses zip ties to tie That Guy’s hands and feet and Carl goes to do a little exploring. He finds a map of the town drawn on a wall. It’s pretty in-depth and shows where all the hot zones and all the cleared areas are.
It is probably important to note that ‘Rick’s House’ is marked on the map first with ‘Overrun’ then with ‘Burned out’ Carl’s face visibly falls. Rick arrives and Carl looks at the map with him. Carl says “It’s all gone” and I weep for his lost childhood.
Rick asks Carl if this is why he wanted to go on this trip, to see the old house, and I suck up my tears and yell at my TV that RICK volunteered Carl for this excursion, not the other way around. If The Walking Dead really wants to hide their plot holes, they shouldn’t show the previous week’s episode before the newest one.
Hiding the plot holes? Heh. Ha ha. Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Heh. Seriously though, I just checked. Rick said nothing about going home at the end of last week’s episode, and he did make the decision to take Carl, and one has to assume that somewhere along the way, he told Carl where they were going. Or else we would have had more of reaction out of Carl when they got there.
Anyway, Michonne snacks on some of That Guy’s food and Rick is a jerk to her about it.
She’s right though, the mat did say “welcome”.
Carl says he is going on a run to get stuff for Lil Asskicker. A crib and maybe some other baby stuff at a little baby shop that his mom’s friend used to run. Michonne points out that there is no way he would be able to carry a crib back by himself and volunteers to go with him. BONDING MOMENT!! And it will give That Guy and Rick a chance to reenact Waiting for Godot or whatever after he wakes up.
I really love her top, you guys.
Out on the streets, there are all sorts of walkers in the traps. Carl tells Michonne that she doesn’t have to come and he is all sassy to her. He even uses a super skinny walker to distract her.
When she goes to kill it, Carl leaves her behind like a little jerk. But Michonne wasn’t born yesterday. And she catches up to him easily. He says this is his mission and she doesn’t have to come. Then he walks right past the baby place. He says he wants to get Lil Asskicker something else. Michonne follows at a respectful distance.
I’m really liking this new Michonne. Can we keep her? Because I’m greatly afraid she’s going to go back to monosyllables next episode.
Back in Camp Crazy, That Guy (Morgan) is still out. Rick looks like he would like to monologue at him like its season 1. That Guy (Morgan) wakes up and goes for a knife .
Rick is all sadface and picks up a rifle. There is a noise and, UGH, FINALLY!! THEY SAY HIS NAME!! That Guy is Morgan!! Way to bury it for those of us who can barely remember our friends’ names, let alone the names of characters that appeared on ONE episode of a TV show 3 years ago.
Oh, hey! Is it Morgan? Hi Morgan! Ahem. I knew who it was. But then I do periodically have to remind you who I am, so…
So anyway, Morgan uses the distraction to cut himself free and attack Rick, he even stabs him in the arm. Rick tries to get through to him but Morgan is Coo Coo for Coco Puffs. Finally Rick regains the upper hand and pulls a gun on Morgan, who then begs him for death. It’s a thing I guess.
Hey, it’s that same walker lady, that Morgan shot earlier, she’s totally fine now, you guys and she wants to eat a rat.
Rick tries to remind Morgan who they are, but I don’t know if Morgan is getting it. It takes a while but Rick starts to get through to him.
Rick and Morgan have a few moments where they argue about the walkie-talkie. Morgan says Rick never called, but of course we know that Rick used every opportunity to monologue into the walkie-talkies that he could. I personally think Rick forgot that he had to take his finger off the receiver button.
It’s a radio. It’s got a range limit. Not that anything is far away apparently.
Morgan is a little pissed that Rick found his wife and kid. Morgan asks if Lori turned into a walker and Rick says that she died. And Morgan talks about how he should have shot his wife back in the day. Oh, the memories, back when we didn’t know how bad, or good this show would be.
Morgan remembers how he was supposed to kill his wife and how he didn’t do it. He tells Rick that Dwayne was eaten by his mother. It’s all very sad. Monologue like it’s Season 1, Morgan, you deserve it.
So I guess that’s where Dwayne went. And Morgan’s sanity.
Then Morgan asks if Carl is dead. Rick says no, and Morgan says that eventually, he will be. Morgan says that all the good and bad people will pass away, and all that will be left are the weak like him.
If all the monologues were this good, we wouldn’t have such hate for them. Who wrote this episode? Very nice work, Lennie James.
So Carl and Michonne have arrived at… a Sizzler? Carl looks inside and sees a walker, he is about to go in when Michonne stops him. He gets all pissed off and tells her that she is not really a member of Team Zombie. She’s only convenient.
Good Lord, it’s another miracle! I think that’s the longest speech Carl has had all season too. And it’s nice to see him have some emotions, of some kind.
Michonne, to her credit, does not slap the ever-loving snot out of the kid, but instead tells him that he might not think he needs her, but she is there to help, and he should let her. Finally he relents and she says they will go in her way.
She uses some of the rats in cages and skateboards to distract the walkers in the Sizzler and they quickly head in the opposite direction, around the bar.
Carl climbs onto the bar and starts to pull down a picture. A walker that was hiding behind the bar grabs his ankle, but Michonne is there for back up and stabs him through the head… the walker, not Carl.
Now that would be a twist. Wow, there’s a lot of walkers in this building. Surely they would have gone outside by now…
They make a run for it and Carl drops the picture. Because, of course he does. Michonne and Carl make it out of the Sizzler, but of course Carl wants to go back in immediately. Michonne tells him that he has to trust her.
She tells him to stay at the door and she disappears around the back. It takes her about 30 seconds to get back in there and get the picture without him. It’s a picture of him, Lori and Rick in better days. He tells her that he wanted Lil Asskicker to be able to know what her mother looked like.
Oh my God! Carl smiled. And his face didn’t break!
It’s a touching moment, then Michonne makes a joke about a rainbow-colored wooden cat. It’s sort of stupid; but I love it.
Michonne smiled! And the world didn’t end! Miracles! Miracles for everyone!
Rick invites Morgan to come back and join Team Zombie. Rick tells Morgan about the prison and Morgan poo poos the idea. Morgan calls Rick out on the guns they are taking, and Morgan is not about to join the fight. Maybe Morgan isn’t so crazy.
Maybe Rick will listen to another crazy person. Well, no, he won’t, but it’s nice to think so. But here’s the thing. If Morgan really wanted to die, he’s got all the guns there are, so pulling that off would be easy. Obviously he doesn’t, and that makes it worse for him, because even though he’s lost everything, he really wants to live. And listening to Rick… well, he may be right.
They yell at each other. And there are sad faces.
They only knew each other for a day. One day.
Rick is trying to get Morgan to come back and there is sad monologuing.
You know, Rick your home town is not looking too bad, Morgan has already done a ton of the work. Why not bring Team Zombie back there? Too easy? Yeah. That’s what I thought.
What? And miss out on the whole Woodbury/prison war? Perish the thought! Although… if we were looking at things in a purely rational sense, and not in a clearly story-driven sense, yeah. Moving back? Leaving the prison for the Governor to find empty? Makes sense to me. Not going to happen, but still.
Seriously, let’s move back home; it looks fine.
So Morgan goes about clearing the dead people from his traps. And Carl and Michonne come back with a crib. But not a boxed one.
Carl calls to Morgan and tells him he had to shoot him and he’s sorry. Morgan tells him to never be sorry. I hope that guy from the road shows back up again soon.
They pack up and Rick asks Carl if Michonne was useful Carl tells him that Michonne should be considered a part of Team Zombie. Rick is all incredulous.
Michonne arrives and there is awkwardness. Michonne tells Rick that she knows he sees stuff. Then she tells him that she sometimes talked to her boyfriend. He tells her to drive. Because he sees things. Aw bonding.
RICK MADE A FUNNY. Dear God in Heaven, who wrote this episode, because I am loving this.
As they leave town, they see Morgan burning bodies.
Man, that Morgan can move. Considering they left first, in a car, and he still beat them to one of the first things they saw in town.
Clearly Morgan knows how close things really are together.
When they get back to the mess in the road and we see that the guy they ignored was eaten.
Shocked. Shocked I am.
So they steal his backpack.
Team Zombie is so gangster, you guys.
OK, aside from the whole distance nonsense, this was a really good episode. We go back home, we get Morgan and Lennie James’ excellent performance, Michonne and Carl being human, and Rick facing pain and loss not so different from his own. And who wrote it? And directed it? Scott Gimple, who is going to be the new showrunner, so Scott? More of this please. Especially more of the dialogue you gave Michonne. It’s nice to see Danai Gurira get to do more than scowl. And you know what? I didn’t miss the Woodbury folks at all… which tells me that I’m wanting that whole storyline over soon.
So that’s it folks! Tune in next week, when we have the Governor be horrible, and Team Zombie be horrible right back. Or maybe not. Maybe this episode is a sign of things to come. Probably not, but hey, a boy can dream. We’ll see you next…
It’s been a while since you’ve done a lesson. Surely this episode has a lesson for the kids at home.
No predictions, and you want a lesson of the week.
I was watching The Bible.
Fine. And you’re right, there is a lesson for this week. You can’t go home again. Really. It’s burned down.
Truth. See you next week!