The Walking Dead: S3 E12 “Clear”

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Tonights episode can easily be listed among the best of the entire series. That says a lot about the writing team of The Walking Dead considering only 3 of the main characters appear in this episode.

Rick, Michonne, and Carl embark on a trip to get more ammo that leads The Grimes boys back home. Along the way they leave a hitchhiker behind, twice and Rick tells Carl they’re only keeping Michonne around while they still have common interests. These little scenes are so important in the very beginning of the episode because what or should I say who Rick encounters on this journey reminds him of the person he was when all of this began. How different he is now.

As they approach their old home, there are signs that say “away with you”, “turn around and live” as well as a maze of booby traps… as they are surveying the scene, a masked attacker begins shooting at them. Rick tells Carl to stay in the car… we all know what happens when Carl is told to stay somewhere. Good thing Carl doesn’t listen well because he saves Rick and shoots the attacker. He’s wearing body armor so he’s not dead, but he is MORGAN! Finally, loyal viewers have been wondering whatever happened to Morgan after Season 1, after Rick stopped trying to walkie him, and we learn it all in this episode.

As the gun shot has knocked Morgan out, the trio carry him into his house where he has amassed quite an arsenal. Michonne and Carl get right to work collecting up guns and ammo, where Rick is concerned with waiting for Morgan to wake up. He feels a loyalty to him. He saved his life. Michonne is just excited Morgan has potato chis, “the mat at the door said Welcome”. AND BOOM Michonne finally gets a personality. She was on fire this episode!

As Rick decides to wait around for Morgan to wake up, Carl decides to go find a crib for Judith, Michonne goes along to help. Carl tries to give her the drop, unsuccessfully. Michonne refuses to leave him alone, she’s going to help. He leads her to a diner where they trick some walkers with a rat in order to retrieve a picture. The walkers notice them and the picture gets left inside. Carl insists on going back in there and Michonne gives him a long over due talking too. In not so many words, she basically reminds him that he’s a child and NO he is not going back into the god damn diner. He is to stay put and she will be right back. Amazingly, Michonne has managed to parent this kid better than his mother, father, or Uncie Shane! She returns in a Houdini like fashion with the picture and this hideous cat sculpture. “I just thought Judith should know what her mom looked like”, cue heart melting. Sometimes its easy to forget that Carl is still a child, particularly this season. He acts so adult like but then he has these moments that remind us he’s only a child. In this moment, Michonne realizes she can be needed and Carl realizes that they just might need her.

Morgan comes too in a crazed daze. He stabs Rick and keeps calling him a dead man, a face changer, all kinds of cray cray stuff is coming out of his mouth. Finally Rick gets him to recognize the man he saved a year ago and Morgan calms down. What comes next is by far the best piece of writing material to date on this show. Morgan begins to tell Rick how he failed his son. He couldn’t shoot his wife and when Duane was face to face with his mother, he couldn’t shoot her either. In a split second, while Duane is trying to get back to Morgan, his mother is on him and Morgan is helpless to save him. Lennie James gives such an outstanding performance as he talks through his grief with Rick, telling him that “your son is dead too”. He broke my heart when he told Rick that he tried to leave the town, he tired to reach him on the walkie talkie and when he did, Rick wasn’t there. Perhaps this was the wake up call Rick needed; looking at Morgan, he’s staring down his potential fate if he continues to behave the way he has been since Lori’s death. Listening to Morgan almost made you feel like, damn Rick’s had it easy and I think Rick sees it that way too. Morgan doesn’t accept Rick’s offer to return to the prison, mostly because he recognizes that the prison is something someone else wants and that’s why Rick is there trying to get more weapons and it’s most likely a death sentence.

As sad as I was that Morgan doesn’t go with them, I have a feeling we may see him again. There was no huge action sequences or bloody walker kills, but there was amazing character development and emotional angst. Carl stopping to apologize to Morgan was a great moment, because it showed that Carl still has remorse even though he says, “you know I had too”. Morgan in turn telling him to never be sorry is indicative of the adult Carl will most likely become. Carl lets Rick know that he thinks Michonne is one of them and Michonne suddenly becomes a friend and ally to Rick when she tells him, “I know you see things”. In the comic, Michonne and Rick are very close friends and so to watch them so estranged from one another is weird, but it is this moment in the comic when they realize that everyone here is a little crazy and they can be friends because of it. She tells him that she used to talk to her dead boyfriend. YAY! This scene is very powerful in the comic and its very powerful here. Rick can finally let go of the cray cray demons because he’s not the only one who has them. Morgan has them. Michonne has them. He is not alone.

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